Switch-On star Jonathan Ross today revealed he has become an unofficial tub-thumping ambassador for Blackpool.
The TV star will flick the famous switch on Friday night to power up this year’s Illuminations season.
Jonathan, turning on the Illuminations on Friday accompanied by his wife Jane and their three children, will take his pals to the Pleasure Beach and plans to eat at places like The Cottage Chippy and the Blue Diamond, an Indian restaurant in South Shore.
“Some people who have made money only want to go to places where there are other rich people, like the South of France,” Jonathan told The Gazette.
“But I don’t like those places. I like the kind of things you find in Blackpool, or in Margate, or Alton Towers, or Disney World. I like rollercoasters, not sitting on a yacht with nothing to do.”
Among those travelling to the resort with Jonathan and his family are TV star Charlie Brooker (of Screen Wipe, 10 O’Clock Live and Black Mirror fame), Joe Cornish (from The Adam and Joe Show), and Edgar Wright (director of Shaun of the Dead and co-writer of Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin).
“There are a couple of other what you’d call really big names coming too but they are just staying for the evening because they really do find it hard to get around in public – the rest of us are staying in town for a few days,” added Jonathan.
“I’ve told all my mates they need to come to Blackpool because they are missing out.
“I’ve been seven or eight times now and I love it. It is everything a seaside resort should be – it has the Pleasure Beach, fish and chips, The Tower, and just a wonderful atmosphere. It is a place where you know you will have a good time.”
Jonathan famously came to Blackpool 12 months ago and spent most of his holiday Tweeting about how much he loved the place. Going back a decade or so, the 52-year-old opened the Valhalla ride at the Pleasure Beach.
Now he’s back to pull the lever on the famous Lights.
“I feel like this is it – never mind the OBE, this is the big one!” he said. “I’m just hoping I am actually physically turning on the lights and not just pressing some big show button, while a little bloke round the back presses the real button. I’m hoping mine is actually connected!
“But I’m really looking forward to it because Blackpool has played an important part in my life, so it is genuinely an honour and I am really thrilled to be asked to do it.”
There is an extra reason for Jonathan to enjoy his stay – he and his wife are celebrating their silver wedding anniversary.
“That’s why our whole family and our friends are coming and it should be lovely,” he added.
Unfortunately not everyone can make it. “Jimmy Carr was going to come but had to drop out and David Walliams too, because he’s knee-deep in rehearsals for a big Shakespeare thing he’s about to do,” revealed Jonathan.
“David is particularly gutted because his wife, a gorgeous young model from Holland, says since she was a child growing up she has always wanted to go to Blackpool.
“That’s what I mean about the place – it has this magical appeal, everyone seems to know about it.
“Only thing I need to avoid this year, though, is getting trapped by schoolchildren. I was at the Pleasure Beach last summer when a coach-load of them ran over, all wanting their photo taken with me. I said can’t we do one big group shot? and they said ‘no, we want one each!’”
>> Tickets to see Jonathan Ross turn on the Illuminations on Friday, plus a full gig by The Script and Eliza Doolittle, are £34.
>> It is £20 to see Madness and guests on Saturday. A weekend ticket is £45. Go to www.visitblackpool.com/switchon for details.
>> Read an extended interview with Jonathan in Wow 24/7 – only in Thursday’s Gazette.