Take That star poised to save Switch-On

Gary Barlow
Gary Barlow
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Gary Barlow could be about to ride to Blackpool’s rescue – direct from New York.

Just hours after Irish rock band The Script dropped a bombshell by pulling out of tomorrow night’s Switch-On concert, the Take That star caused a social network frenzy as he waited for a flight back to the UK from America.

Gig-goers have been left on tenterhooks throughout Thursday waiting for an announcement.

Gary – who switched the Lights on in 1999 – Tweeted “I hear Blackpool are looking for someone to switch the lights on this year? If they write a cheque to Children in Need I’d do it?”

Within minutes his message had been “retweeted” by thousands of fans around the world.

Although the offer was to “switch on the lights”, event organisers Marketing Blackpool wasted no time in making contact with the star to talk about the vacancy for a headline music act.

Blackpool Council said it was “flattered” by the offer.

Jonathan Ross, who will flick the switch tomorrow night, and is a friend of the Take That singer, joined in the debate on Twitter asking Gary to do a duet. He said: “They need someone to sing. Shall we finally unveil our version of the Pet Shop Boys? The Chip Shop Boys has a ring to it!”

The talks may not be straightforward given Gary himself is not currently on tour with his solo band, who played in Blackpool in January.

But if Marketing Blackpool can pull it off it would be a major reversal of fortunes after the disappointment of yesterday.

The Script were forced to withdraw from tomorrow’s event on the Tower Festival Headland due to a serious health issue.

In a statement, The Script’s management said: “It is with deepest regret The Script have had to cancel both their Leeds Academy and the Blackpool Illuminations Switch-On concert shows due to a sudden serious family illness.”

It came as promoters had begun building the stage for the two-day Blackpool festival, which will still also see Madness perform on Saturday.

Natalie Wyatt, managing director of Marketing Blackpool, said her team was working with agents to find a replacement act.

She said: “Time is not on our side but we are working hard. We feel for The Script and it has not been an easy decision. At the end of the day, your family comes first so we are fully supportive of them.”

Ms Wyatt added there would be full refunds available. But she added: “The show is still going to happen.

“We have Jonathan Ross, Eliza Doolittle and we have the support acts, and we have the Saturday gig by Madness to deliver. It is still going to be a fantastic night.”

Claire Smith, president of hoteliers group StayBlackpool, said: “I feel very sorry for The Script and for Marketing Blackpool, but whoever they get, I hope people really support them.

“We will go along with as much enthusiasm as ever, and I hope other people do the same.”

More updates on the Switch-On night are expected throughout the day.

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