Presenters from the Top Gear TV programme have switched on the lights for the Blackpool Illuminations watched by a crowd of thousands at the seaside town.

More than 20,000 people were in Blackpool to see Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and The Stig from the BBC show switch on the Illuminations.

The crowds were also entertained by performances by Irish group Boyzone and Indy band Scouting for Girls during a free BBC Radio 2 concert.

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This year's Illuminations include more than a million lamps, more than 500 floodlights and spotlights that stretch nearly six miles.

Jeremy Clarkson told the crowd of onlookers they had a race to decide who should do the switch-on and Richard Hammond had won. But The Stig pulled the switch after Mr Clarkson said to Mr Hammond: "You won the race."

The lights this year include a section by interior designer Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen called Venus Reborn. The 21 feet tall by 50 feet wide design includes various Greek gods including Mercury, Cupid, Venus and Bacchus and has water jets, a tank of water and LED lights.

It also features a sound and light show every 15 minutes to entertain visitors.

Mr Llewelyn-Bowen said: "For me Blackpool is Venus. Which may seem an odd thing to say but there's a sultry, voluptuous beauty to Blackpool, she's like Venus a real pleasure girl.

"My tableau, Venus Reborn, celebrates what I hope will be a glamorous future for Blackpool. Surrounded by classical gods and goddesses in tuxedo finery my very modern Venus rises out of her shell with a theatrical Vegas style flourish.

"I wanted it to be dead classy, very elegant but with a definite 'nightclubby' feel. The fact that there's an actual show will hopefully draw the crowds and get people out of their cars to enjoy the whole magic we're creating."