The Stars of Previous Switch On Years

There’s been a Blackpool Illuminations Switch On ceremony every year since 1934 except during World War II. Take a look back at switch on stars from previous years.

Dame Barbara Windsor Switches on the Blackpool Illuminations in 2016 as one of the switch on stars from previous years
Dame Barbara Windsor Switches on the Blackpool Illuminations in 2016

Switch On has been an event in it’s own right since Lord Derby first flicked them on in 1934.

It has always attracted a huge crowd whoever the switch on stars from previous years have been, because it’s such an exciting event!

It’s always been carried out by Royalty, a sports personality or the famous face of the day. The racehorse Red Rum even did the deed in 1977!

Setting up the stage for switch on stars from previous years
Setting up the stage for the Switch On night at Blackpool Illuminations

In the picture above you can see the stage being set up on Tower Festival Headland. That was in 2012 when Sir Elton John performed, and the Lights were turned on by Olympic Athletes.

The famous switch that is still used today has always been a part of the ceremony and has been used by all of the switch on stars in previous years.

At first it took place at Talbot Square in front of the old Town Hall near North Pier.

In later years as the event grew it moved to Central Car Park. It now enjoys a new venue on the impressive Tower Festival Headland on the Comedy Carpet.

Switch On Stars from Previous Years

How many of these names from the past can you remember?
How many of them have you seen turn on Blackpool Illuminations?

1934 – Lord Derby
1935 – Audrey Mossom (Railway Queen of Great Britain)
1936 – Sir Josiah Stamp
1937 – Prince George, Duke of Kent
1938 – Councillor Mrs Quayle

1939-48 Cancelled due to World War II
1949 – Anna Neagle

1950 – Wilfred Pickles
1951 – Stanley Matthews
1952 – Valerie Hobson
1953 – George Formby
1954 – Gilbert Harding
1955 – Jacob Malik (Soviet Ambassador)
1956 – Reginald Dixon
1957 – John H. Whitney (American Ambassador)
1958 – AE “Matty” Matthews
1959 – Jayne Mansfield

1960 – Janet Munro
1961 – Violet Carson
1962 – Shirley Anne Field
1963 – Cliff Michelmore
1964 – Gracie Fields
1965 – David Tomlinson
1966 – Ken Dodd
1967 – Horace King
1968 – Matt Busby
1969 – Canberra Bomber

1970 – Tony Blackburn
1971 – The cast of Dad’s Army
1972 – Danny La Rue
1973 – Gordon Banks
1974 – Wendy Craig
1975 – Cast of Doctor Who: Tom Baker (in costume as The Doctor), Elisabeth Sladen and Ian Marter
1976 – Carol Jean Grant (Miss United Kingdom)
1977 – Red Rum
1978 – Terry Wogan
1979 – Kermit the Frog and The Muppets

1980 – Cannon and Ball
1981 – Earl & Countess Spencer
1982 – Rear Admiral Sandy Woodward
1983 – Cast of Coronation Street, switched on by Doris Speed (Annie Walker)
1984 – Johannes Rau (Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia) and David Waddington,(Minister of State, the Home Office)
1985 – Joanna Lumley, BBC Children in Need, and Audrey Mossom (50 year anniversary)
1986 – Les Dawson
1987 – Frank Bough, Anne Gregg and Kathy Tayler, all from the BBC’s Holiday programme
1988 – Andrew Lloyd Webber and Sarah Brightman
1989 – Frank Bruno

1990 – Julie Goodyear and Roy Barraclough
1991 – Derek Jameson and Judith Chalmers
1992 – Lisa Stansfield
1993 – Status Quo
1994 – Shirley Bassey
1995 – Bee Gees
1996 – Eternal
1997 – Michael Ball
1998 – Chris de Burgh
1999 – Gary Barlow

Switch On’s in a new millennium

2000 – Westlife
2001 – Steps
2002 – Ronan Keating
2003 – Blue
2004 – Geri Halliwell
2005 – Chris Evans
2006 – Dale Winton
2007 – David Tennant
2008 – The Stig with Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond from BBC Top Gear
2009 – Alan Carr

2010 – Robbie Williams
2011 – Keith Lemon
2012 – Six of Team GB’s London 2012 medalists. (Beth Tweddle, Greg Rutherford, Karina Bryant, Luke Campbell, Max Whitlock and Sophie Hosking)
2013 – Jonathan Ross
2014 – Peter Kay
2015 – Tim Burton
2016 – Dame Barbara Windsor

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