Photo gallery: Homeland star Damian Lewis and Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory switch on Highgate Christmas lights at festival

Star of Homeland, actor Damian Lewis, and his wife, Skyfall and Peaky Blinders actress Helen McCrory, switched on Highgate’s festive lights in front of 3,000 people at the Village’s Christmas Festival on Saturday.

The couple, from Tufnell Park, took their two young children to look around the festival – taking the chance to admire the reindeer with their elvish handlers and Father Christmas in his grotto – before turning on the lights at 4pm.

The family also donated to the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation, a charity set up in memory of 17-year-old Channing School pupil Allie Wylie who died from cancer three years ago.

Their seven-year-old daughter Manon was driven through South Grove and Highgate High Street in a Cinderella-style carriage, which featured on Strictly Come Dancing’s Christmas special last year.

Before the switch-on, Mr Lewis thanked the festival’s organisers, Highgate Festive Events, for inviting “the lowlifes from down the hill” to turn on the lights.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “It was very special. I think the festival organisers have done very well, especially to get all the estate agents that Highgate is made up of to get along with each other.”

Other stars of stage and screen in the crowd included Andy Serkis, the voice of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Truly, Madly, Deeply actress Juliet Stevenson and Cliff Parisi, from BBC’s EastEnders and Call the Midwife.

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Traders and organisations, including Lauderdale House, learning disability charity The Harington Scheme, Crouch End restaurant Tootoomoo, bakery Le Pain Quotidien and arts venue Jacksons Lane, ran stalls.

Organisers provided a VIP area for the event’s sponsors at the Highgate Society in South Grove to say thanks for their support.

Highgate resident and pop star George Michael made a last-minute donation to Highgate Festive Events, but was not seen in the crowd.

Jane Wiles, one of the lead organisers, said: “It went really well and it was nice hearing feedback from people. We’re so grateful that [Damian and Helen] turned up to switch the lights on.”

The organisers thanked sponsors Streathers Solicitors LLP, Highgate Private Hospital, Goldschmidt & Howland, Prickett & Ellis Underhill, Litchfields, George Michael, Highgate Society, Witanhurst Property Construction and Haringey Council.