THE full entertainment line-up has today been announced for Newport’s Countdown to Christmas family fun event.

Choir Only Men Aloud will be topping the bill in the city centre on November 16 ahead of their Merry Little Christmas tour of Wales.

Formed in 2000, Only Men Aloud came to national prominence when they won the BBC’s Last Choir Standing competition in 2008. They signed a five-album deal with Universal Records and won a Classical Brit Award for Best Album of the Year in 2010.  They have toured worldwide every year since winning the show and have sold more than 300,000 albums.

Special guest to Only Men Aloud will be musical theatre star Sophie Evans.  Fresh from a stint starring as Glinda in the West End production of Wicked – the youngest person to play the role – Sophie will add some seasonal sparkle to Countdown to Christmas.  Sophie played Dorothy in the Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s West End production of The Wizard of Oz for seven months in 2012 and has toured with Michael Flatley’s Lord of the Dance show.

Rising Newport rock star Jack Perrett will play a set on stage and cast members from the Riverfront Theatre’s Cinderella pantomime will also make an appearance.

The star guest who will be switching on the city’s Christmas lights will be revealed next week. Last year Manchester United and Wales football legend Ryan Giggs did the honours.

Countdown to Christmas, which is organised by the Newport Now Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with Newport City Council, Friars Walk, Kingsway and Newport City Radio, runs from 2pm to 5.30pm in the city centre. Internet-based community radio station Newport City Radio will host the stage for the first hour of the event, putting the spotlight on up and coming local artists.  From 3pm Heart radio presenters Jagger and Woody will host before Newport’s Christmas lights are switched on at 5.15pm by Newport Mayor Councillor Will Routley and a star guest. The event culminates in a spectacular fireworks display above Kingsway Centre at 5.30pm.  The event will also include fairground rides along Commercial Street, High Street and the riverfront.  Father Christmas will be making an appearance, and there will be costume characters on parade in Commercial Street and High Street with children’s face painters also in attendance.

In Friars Walk there will be a giant Christmas chair for families and friends to try out, and Santa’s Grotto will also be open throughout the day in the Kingsway Centre. Countdown to Christmas will necessitate some temporary road closures for the set-up and de-rigging of staging and fairground rides, and for the safety of visitors.

High Street and Griffin Street will be closed to all vehicles from 5pm on Friday, November 15, until 11.59pm on Saturday, November 16. Commercial Street (between Skinner Street and Charles Street) and Charles Street (between Talbot Lane and Commercial Street) will be closed from 6am to 9pm on the Saturday.

Countdown to Christmas is the latest in a series of city centre events organised or funded by Newport Now BID, a private company representing and funded by more than 400 city centre businesses