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Shrek performs Newcastle Christmas lights 'switch on'

Shrek and The Green Fairy switched on the Christmas lights at Eldon Square in Newcastle Credit: North News

The well-loved film character Shrek has switched on the Christmas lights at Eldon Square in Newcastle.

Ahead of his arrival at Newcastle Theatre Royal in March 2015 as part of the first ever Shrek The Musical tour of the UK and Ireland, he switched on the lights which feature over 100,000 pea lights, and in excess of 25,000 baubles and ornaments.

Shrek to flick the switch for Eldon Square's Christmas lights

Two big green hands will help to welcome Christmas to Newcastle's Eldon Square Credit: Theatre Royal

He may be green, smelly and occasionally rather fearsome.....but swamp-dwelling ogre Shrek has travelled from far, far away to be the guest of honour at Eldon Square today.

The well-loved giant will switch on this year's lights at the Newcastle mall later afternoon.

The display will include more than 100,000 lights to mark the start of the festive shopping season.

Shrek, portrayed by actor Dean Chisnall will appear at the city's Theatre Royal in Shrek The Musical next year but has taken time out from rehearsals to bring some Christmas cheer.

Speaking about the event, Shrek said:

"I am honoured to be invited to turn the Christmas lights on in intu Eldon Square. I have been told that this is usually a job for soap stars and boy or girl band members so I'm very pleased that the organisers recognise my own musical talent and boyish good looks!

I will probably take the opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping while I'm here and also a bit of a recce so I can report back to the Fairytale Misfits about the sights and sounds of the city ahead of our arrival with Shrek The Musical next March"

– Shrek (A large green ogre)
The cast of Shrek the Musical Credit: Theatre Royal

Meanwhile the manager of into Eldon Square described her joy at the prospect of meeting Shrek:

"We're absolutely thrilled that Shrek has taken time out from performing in his tour of the UK and Ireland in this hit musical to visit us in Newcastle prior to arriving at Newcastle 's Theatre Royal next year.

This year's Christmas Lights Switch On will be very special indeed, with a brand new scheme of lights waiting for our Shrek-tacular guest to bring them to life.

The lights switch on always signals the beginning of our very busy Christmas shopping period, so if Shrek needs some advice on gifts for Princess Fiona - we're here to help!"

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Eldon Square and Metrocentre set for multimillion pound revamp

Some of Britain's biggest shopping centres, including Eldon Square in Newcastle and the Metrocentre in Gateshead, are to get new identities after their owner announced plans for a £25 million revamp.

Capital Shopping Centres will adopt the name "intu" as part of the rebrand for 12 of its sites across the country - a move they hope will increase spending both in stores and online.

The company is also planning to install free wifi across its estate so that shoppers can log on to the internet and its website from their smartphones.

Changes to Eldon Square should be completed by May, with the Metrocentre following later in the year.