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Hello. On the programme tonight there will be news and lots of it, obviously. But one subject seems to have everyone in the office on tenterhooks today - the London Christmas lights switch-on!

We've dedicated a large chunk of tonight's show to it and it will no doubt be fantastic, but it's an annual favourite that's been known to reduce producers, presenters and reporters on news programmes up and down the country to gibbering wrecks. I mean, it sounds simple enough: at a designated time, say 6.15, a celeb flicks a switch and the city centre in question goes from autumnal darkness to illuminated festive brilliance. There are loud, 'Ahhhhs' all round, the reporter says, "back to you in the studio", the presenter replies, "Thanks very much, time for the weather." Simple.

But there are a catalogue of things that can and do go wrong on these occasions that range from the ceremony simply running late, leaving us with less than inspiring shots of dark streets, to the celebrity not turning up on time, to us accidentally blowing the power supply to four local boroughs. I once reported on the 'grand switch-on' in one East Midlands town (that shall remain nameless) only to discover when the button was pressed that the 'stunning display' amounted to little more than a fibre-optic Christmas tree in the window of Greggs the bakers with half of its lights missing. But this is London, the capital, where nothing is done by halves and nothing has been left to chance. Trust me, it will be stunning.

So this is the plan, as explained to me by Ken the producer who, if he pulls this off, should be knighted in the New Year's Honours List. It goes something like this...

The lights are due to be switched on, on Regent Street, at St Paul's Cathedral and on Oxford Street one after the other in 'a cascade of illumination' (Ken's words). It'll happen at 6.15 and 50 seconds, 6.17 and twenty eight seconds and 6.18 and sixteen seconds precisely. On Oxford Street with his finger on the button will be star of Disney's new film, 'A Christmas Carol', Jim Carrey - although goodness knows what Ebenezer Scrooge would have made of the electricity bill. Fellow star Colin Firth is currently tightening the bulbs on Regent Street while rumour has it Bob Hoskins is up a ladder outside St Paul's, as we speak. The movie itself premieres in Leicester Square later while also on hand to entertain the crowds will be the casts of 'Sister Act', 'Hairspray' and 'Oliver', 'Spandau Ballet' and 'The Saturdays'. Oh, and Andrea Bocelli and the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir are on hand to sing the whole thing out for us while attempting to break the world record (which currently stands at 7,514) for the most people singing a Christmas Carol at one time. Following this so far?

Lucy Cotter will be live for us at St. Paul's, while Ben Scotchbrook takes charge of Leicester Square. We also have cameras on Regent Street and Oxford Street, while Katie and I sit in the studio with everything crossed and armed with a string of fascinating facts about lightbulbs, just incase it all goes pear-shaped.

So, strap yourselves in at 6pm sharp and wait for the fireworks to begin. Hang on, are there fireworks? I bet no one's told Ken!

Matt and Katie
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