Emmerdale star Matthew Wolfenden was in sparkling festive form when he launched the Christmas shopping season at Leeds’s White Rose Shopping Centre last night.
Matthew, who plays David Metcalfe in the Yorkshire Dales-set soap, switched on the centre’s Christmas lights.
And the 32-year old told the YEP that his first ever Christmas lights switch-on – along with the new joys of fatherhood – had helped bring back “the magic of Christmas” for him.
“It’s my first ever Christmas lights switch-on,” he said. “When I was asked to do it, I was, like, ‘yeah!’.
“Christmas tends to lose its magic when you get older, but then you have a child and the magic comes back.
“My son Buster is two-and-a-half now and he is just starting to understand about Christmas, so I will be enjoying it with him.
“I may well have to dress up as Santa!”
Matthew said he loves shopping at the White Rose Centre, and is looking forward to doing his own festive buying there.
He and partner Charlie Webb – who plays Debbie Dingle in Emmerdale – will also be hosting Christmas dinner at home this year.
Matthew was joined at last night’s dazzling festive gala by former Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalists Rollin’ Dices and percussion artists Slam!
This year’s event was supported by Capital FM, whose street team also played ‘Santa’ for the evening, randomly popping into retailers in the centre throughout the night and offering to pay for customers’ shopping.
Dean Stratton, manager at the White Rose Shopping Centre, said: “We’re really excited about the 2012 Christmas lights switch-on. The event marked the official start of our extended festive opening hours, so shoppers have plenty of time to get their Christmas shopping done.
“We were thrilled to welcome Matthew, Rollin’ Dices and Slam! to our event to kick-start the festive season.”
The White Rose Centre has extended Christmas opening hours until 10pm on weekdays and 8pm on Saturdays.