X FACTOR stars Rebecca Ferguson and Union J will be among the stars switching on the lights at The Broadway Shopping Centre tonight, marking the start of the festive calendar for many of Bradford’s shoppers.

In 1966, Bradford began its long tradition of festive illuminations, after a scheme had been passed by the Public Works Committee to display decorative lighting for a limited time only between December 9 to January 4.

How many of these do you remember?

Starting off the celebrations in 1966, Alderman O’Melia with the very glamourous title, Chairman of the Highways Drainage Sub – Committee, pressed a button in Forster Square to switch on the city’s £4,000 Christmas Illuminations.

After a plea for the lights to be extended to Darley Street in 1967, it was an exciting day for Bobby Oladijoye, 9, and 10-year-old twins Glenda and Glenis McHale, who had been chosen to switch on Bradford’s Christmas illuminations in Forster Square.

1968: The President of the Bradford Chamber of Trade, Mr. H. M. Rose switched on Bradford’s 5,500 Christmas Lights.

1969: Bradford stepped up the celebrity status by inviting Fulham teacher Miss Susan Perry, otherwise known as Miss Keep Britain Tidy to switch on its 6000 light bulbs.

1970: Screen star Richard Todd who was appearing at the Alhambra Theatre, switched on the lights on December 2.

1971: For the first time the lights had been extended to Darley Street with the grand honour of the switch on going to Director of The Alhambra Mr. Rowland Hill.

Actor George Layton signed autographs for his young fans in 1972 after pressing the button in the Broadway precinct.

It was sad times for Bradford in 1973, after £12,000 worth of seasonal gaiety was never switched, not even for a short time. Instead they were stored away until the following year.

1974: Bradford’s Lord Mayor Councillor Tom Hall officially switched on 12,000 lights, in Broadway.

1975: The illuminations were an economy version of the past switched on by the Lord Mayor Doris Birdsall at 4.30 on the City Hall steps.

1976: With no money to spare, Bradford was left in the dark during the festive period.

Thanks to the Arndale Traders Association, the 1977 switch on managed to go ahead with guest star Bradford City Captain Terry Dolan, pressing the button in Darley Street. With no money to spare the association had decided to pay the YEB to put up the lights to provide some pleasure for the children.

1978: TV cop Patrick Mower threw the switch.

1979: It was back to Bradford’s Lord Mayor John Senior.

With lack of funding between 1980 – 1983 Bradford had become a dismal place for shoppers over the Christmas period.

1984: City’s sharpshooter Stuart McCall kicked off Bradford’s lights with the help of funding from Bradford Council in a bid to win more shoppers.

Ken Dodd and the Diddymen flicked the switch in 1985.

1986: Bonnie Langford helped Bradford bounce back in a blaze of colour

1987: On a budget City stars arrived for the big switch on

1988: Larger than life TV star Christopher Biggins switched on Bradford’s lights

1989: Panto star Jim Davidson turned on the lights.

Welsh comedian Max Boyce and cricket star Ian Botham hit the lights in 1990.

Aussie singing sensation had been chosen for the 1991 switch on.

Three Emmerdale stars Norman Bowler, Chris Chittel and Nicola Strong took to the stage in 1992.

1993: Actor Ken Morley proved to be a huge star attraction, sending the stewards in to a frenzy as they ordered people to move back from the barriers.

Panto hero Billy Pearce pulled the switch in 1994.

1995: Actor Ian Kelsey turned on the lights.

1996: Bill Tarmey had the pleasure.

1997: it was a no show for Jamie Theakston.

1998: Hundreds came to see Coronation Street star Tracy Shaw switch-on the city’s illuminations.

1999: Launching the city’s festive season was Emmerdale actor Dominic Brunt.

2000: Konnie Huq put a glow on the city for Christmas

2001 – 2004 Four years running teenagers and families flocked to Centenary Square to welcome back pop sensation Gareth Gates.

Lesley Joseph and X Factor finalist Chenai Zinyuku joined various other celebrities on stage for Bradford’s 2005 Christmas switch on.

2006: Excited crowds gathered to watch soap stars Ben Freeman and Samia Smith switch on the lights.

Coronation Street star Anthony Cotton started the celebrations in 2007.

In 2008 the traditional Thursday night switch-on was ditched in favour of a day of festivities joined with the lights switch on performed by Emmerdale’s Hayley Tamaddon.

2009 -2016 Bradford authority was continuing with its annual festive extravaganza in Centenary Square rather than book a well-known face to perform the duties.

2017: Christmas came early as Bradford became the first city in the UK to switch on its festive lights with the help of pop stars, Lemar, Matt Terry and Christian Burrows inside The Broadway shopping centre.