Highgate Christmas Festival photo gallery: Andy Serkis, Lorraine Ashbourne and Alex Zane switch on festive lights

Lord of the Rings star Andy Serkis treated crowds to a impromptu performance of his best known character after celebrities gathered to switch on Highgate’s Christmas lights.

The Crouch End actor lit up the high street with his wife, actress Lorraine Ashbourne, and TV presenter Alex Zane on Saturday following a “magical” afternoon of festive attractions, tantalising food and drink, and live music.

Mr Serkis cooed the infamous catchphrase, “my precious”, as he impersonated his character Gollum from the blockbuster series’ Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit to the thousands of people who flocked to Pond Square.

He then joined Ms Ashbourne, Mr Zane and Alex Sanderson, rugby coach for Saracens FC, on stage to start the traditional countdown to the big switch-on of the high street’s festive lights.

Rude Tube presenter Mr Zane returned to host the festival after other commitments forced him to miss last year’s festivities.

Organiser Jane Wiles said: “Alex Zane was a star. He entertained the crowd and got the crowd going. It was just what we needed.”

The free festival kicked off with a performance by Channing School choir Chacapella, and live music from local bands and choirs played throughout the afternoon.

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Among the thousands who attended was Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone, who joined Mr Zane on stage in support of the third festival.

Children made Pond Square glow in the dark after nightfall as almost all eagerly snapped up a light-up accessory from Highgate charity the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation, which raised money for disadvantaged children in north London.

Ms Wiles added: “It made it quite magical. There was a lovely community feel.

“It brought all the family and the community together.

“There were lots of happy faces and that makes the hard work worth it.”

Live reindeer and “Gizzy” the camel, accompanied by three wise men, were among the most popular attractions, while hundreds queued up to have their picture taken with Father Christmas.

Lead organiser Chris Underhill, of Prickett and Ellis Underhill estate agents, said: “After we cleared up, I was enjoying my first pint and I looked at all the lights, and thought: it’s worth it. The village just looks so beautiful now.”

The organisers would like to thank their sponsors and the Highgate Society for their donations.