There’s been a Switch On every year since 1934 – except for World War II – take a look through the years!

Past switch on stars have included all of the famous people of their day. Comedians, politicians, athletes, TV and film stars.

the Blackpool Illuminations featuring past Switch On stars
Blackpool Illuminations

Switch On has been an event in it’s own right since Lord Derby first flicked them on in 1934 and always attracted a huge crowd – which ever famous person did the deed. Racehorse Red Rum was even in the list of past switch on stars in 1977.

Switch On always heralds the start of the busiest season of the year in Blackpool.

Find out more about this year’s Switch On and Daily Lighting Up Times

The famous Blackpool Illuminations Switch On switch has always been used.

Blackpool Illuminations Switch On Switch, used by past switch on stars
Blackpool Illuminations Switch On Switch

Different Places, Same Great Night!

Originally the ceremony took place in front of the Town Hall near North Pier.

Later, as the event grew, it moved to Central Car Park. After completion of the new promenade the event moved again and is held at the impressive Tower Festival Headland on the Comedy Carpet.

Setting the stage up on Tower Festival Headland for past switch on stars
Setting the stage up on Tower Festival Headland for the first time for Sir Elton John to perform, in 2012 when the Lights were turned on by Olympic Athletes

Past Switch on Stars

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

Pre World War II

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

After 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

Mid 1970’s Onwards

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

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

Wind breaks in place prior to Switch On, used by past switch on stars
Wind breaks in place prior to Switch On, appreciated by past switch on stars

Find out More

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