Phil Mitchell goes from the Arches to the Arena and St Albans Christmas lights switch-on

PUBLISHED: 13:13 12 November 2014 | UPDATED: 13:13 12 November 2014

St Albans panto stars, including Phil Mitchell

St Albans panto stars, including Phil Mitchell

Archant

EastEnders actor Steve McFadden will turn on the St Albans Christmas lights alongside fellow pantomime stars this weekend.

The celebrity – famous for his loveable rogue role as Arches garage owner Phil Mitchell in the BBC soap - will appear in the city centre on Sunday, to promote upcoming Jack and the Beanstalk.

St Albans’ favourite funnyman Bob Golding, who plays Dame Trott, is due to don a dress for the first time, returning to the Alban Arena for the fourth year.

Cast members ‘Princess’ Jemma Carlisle and CBeebies’ Rebecca Keatley (Fairy Sugarsnap) from television show Let’s Play will also be there.

The district council has organised live music and entertainment for the afternoon of events, which starts at noon and includes two stages (one in St Peter’s Street and an acoustic stage in Market Place).

Performances will be provided by Excel Performing Arts, St Albans Rock Choir, Our Friends Electric and singer Ricky Lopez.

And St Albans Mayor Cllr Geoff Harrison is set to help mark the illuminating of the town centre for the festive season.

He said: “Come down to St Peter’s Street and join in the fun at the spectacular switch on.

“There will be a packed programme of entertainment for the family to enjoy before the panto stars join me on stage to turn on the lights.”

Food and gift stalls, seasonal refreshments, a fun fair and ‘Santa’s grotto’, courtesy of the Rotary Club, will feature.

Cllr Beric Read, portfolio holder for community engagement and localism, said: “The Christmas lights switch on is not to be missed, as it kicks off the festive season in St Albans.

“It is one of the many events organised by the council with the aim of supporting the local economy, by attracting visitors to the city centre.”

The lights are expected to go on at 5.30pm, with panto stars on stage from 5.05pm.

Tickets are selling fast for the popular pantomime, which typically attracts audiences from across the south east. It runs from December 5 to January 4. Contact the box office on 01727 844488 - or go online at www.alban-arena.co.uk

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CountryPhile

I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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