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All Lit Up - a Century of Illumination in Blackpool
BBC Radio 4
On the night of 31st August 2012, the lights are turned on for the 100th time in Blackpool. This programme is Laurence Llewelyn Bowen's birthday tribute to a seaside town that often gets a bad press but where - for 100 years - there's been a special kind of theatrical, highly creative, sometimes eccentric, very English festival when the lights go on. Through his involvement in the designs of some of the tableau and light works over the past few years, Laurence has got to know the event, the people and the town very well. He argues that both Blackpool and its Illuminations are misunderstood, suffering from the trashy image and the dip in popularity the resort suffered in the 70s and 80s. He wants to celebrate the town as the 'heritage jewel box of fun architecture' in Britain - from the Victorian hubris of the tower-to-rival-Paris, to the Art Deco Pleasure beach and the Modernist opera house. He sees the town as both traditional - in its day the Blackpool guest house was the model of desirable comfort for the aspiring middle class - yet very 21st century - the Illuminations fitting perfectly into the festivals of light enjoyed by British Asians in neighbouring Blackburn and Bradford. So for all is 'Vegas' credentials Laurence paints Blackpool and the lights as being absolutely about respectability, lighthearted fun and a very British imagination.
Pick of the week in The Daily Telegraph
"Presented by Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, creative curator of the Illuminations, produced by the brilliant Susan Marling, it will show why Blackpool's motto, Progress, fits the town." Gillian Reynolds (The Daily Telegraph)
Saturday 1st September 2012, 10.30 am