All Lit Up - A Century Of Illumination In Blackpool


20120901Laurence Llewelyn Bowen honours the first workers' resort on the centenary of the Lights.

Blackpool's town motto is 'Progress'. And in the past 150 years the combination of brilliant entrepreneurs and a town council keen to promote tourism, turned Blackpool into the country's most popular seaside destination for working people - with annual visits topping 17 million at one time.

One example of progress was the town's early adoption of electric street lighting and an electric tramway by the sea. This gave rise to the first Illuminations, 100 year ago.

The Illuminations 'the greatest free show on earth' continue to draw large numbers of visitors. Laurence Llewelyn Bowen, who loves Blackpool, is creative curator of the Illuminations designing lights and tableaux, and he presents this programme.

All Lit Up begins with Laurence among the crowds and celebrities at the centenary Switch On on Friday night. We then tour Blackpool to hear his tribute to the exceptional architecture which has given the town is magical distinctiveness through the years - the restored Winter Garden and Tower, the elegant 19th century buildings of the piers and the Modernist casino building at the Pleasure Beach.

We'll hear from local MP Gordon Marsden , Professor Fred Gray and CEO of the Pleasure Beach Amanda Thompson about what Blackpool can do to build on its seaside heritage and continue its appeal to the next generation.

Produced by: Susan Marling

A Just Radio Ltd Production for BBC Radio 4.