Hundreds of people gathered to watch former EastEnders actress Anita Dobson officially switch on Brighton’s Christmas lights.
The star, who played Queen Vic landlady Angie Watts in the 1980s, powered up the watts in a ceremony in Valley Gardens on Friday evening (26 November).
The venue is hosting Brighton’s first Christmas Festival, with food and drinks, entertainments, dozens of stalls, a Christmas tree and a Santa’s grotto.
And the 72-year-old actress is preparing for her latest role as the baddie Abanazar in Aladdin at the Brighton Centre this Christmas – the first time the venue has hosted a panto.
On Friday she said: “I am so happy to be here in Brighton with so many people with smiles on their faces.
“We’ve all had a wretched time with lockdown and, hopefully, now we can all enjoy this Christmas.
“I love Brighton and cannot wait for the panto to start. It’s going to be just amazing.”
Aladdin opens on Wednesday 22 December and runs until Monday 27 December.
The Christmas festival started on Friday and – after a temporary closure during Storm Arwen on Saturday – it is due to run until the end of the month.
The festival has been organised by E3 Events, based in Hove, and the festival’s marketing director Lukas Wojcik said: “It was fantastic to have Anita to come down for the official turning on.
“I want to thank everyone who was there to see her. The atmosphere was just amazing.
“We are now looking forward to an amazingly successful Brighton Christmas Festival.
“We are running until the end of December and we are confident it will be a massive success.
“It is just what Brighton and Hove needs after such a tough time and we are determined to make it very special.”
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