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65ft tree with 50,000 lights prepared for switch on

Christmas comes to Covent Garden tonight with the switch on of the Christmas lights. The famous piazza will light up from 6pm with a performance by The London Community Gospel Choir. Covent Garden's 65ft Christmas tree was craned into position and decorated with over 50,000 lights.

Workers put the finishing touches on the Covent Garden Christmas decorations Credit: edelman
The 65ft Christmas tree is London’s largest Credit: edelman
The London Community Gospel Choir will perform at the switch on Credit: edelman

Paul McCartney stages surprise gig in Covent Garden

Sir Paul McCartney surprised passers-by with an unannounced free gig in central London today - echoing his famous rooftop gig with The Beatles 44 years ago.

Sir Paul at the surprise gig Credit: Reuters

The star replaced the jugglers and living statues who often gather around St Paul's Church in Covent Garden to perform a selection of tracks from the back of a truck. He played songs from his new album in the 20 minute set including his current single New and tracks Queenie Eyes and Save Us.

Workmen at the Piazza dance on some scaffolding as they are treated to the surpise concert

Thousands of people gathered in the piazza and got a grandstand view from the balcony of the market building opposite.


Firefighters saw up a limo

A team of firefighters sawed their way into a limousine in Covent Garden this lunchtime as part of a demonstration. It was part of a Transport for London campaign to highlight the dangers of illegal limousines in London.

The firefighters begin cutting. Credit: ITN
The door is levered free. Credit: ITN
An actor pretending to be a casualty is given treatment. Credit: ITN

One shop arrives on the high street as another departs

Another chain store has collapsed, adding to the toll of high street casualties due in large part to the surge in online shopping.

The fashion company Republic has gone into administration, putting 2,500 jobs at risk. It follows the likes of HMV, Blockbuster and Jessops, who've had to call in administrators over the past few months.

But one businesswoman is reversing that trend by taking her online store onto the high street.

Julie Deane set up the Cambridge Satchel Company four years ago with just £600.

Now it has an annual turnover of £12 million and she's opening her first shop in Covent Garden.

But is she worried about doing that just when the High Street appears to be fighting for survival?

Rags Martel has been finding out.

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