HUNDREDS of people saw heart-throb actor Martin Kemp switch on the Christmas lights at Cheshire Oaks.
Martin, who played hardman Steve Owen in EastEnders, turned on the shopping complex's decorations on Friday.
After the switch-on in the food court, he met 3,400 fans and signed autographs for 50 minutes.
Martin apologised for arriving an hour late after getting stuck in traffic on the M6.
He said: 'This proves that it doesn't matter who you are or what car you drive, if you're going to get stuck in traffic, you're going to get stuck.'
The 42-year-old actor, who is married to former pop star Shirlie Holliman, joked: 'With places like Cheshire Oaks, you save 50% on everything you buy. My wife doesn't do that - she just buys twice as much stuff in the first place.'
And he told the crowd: 'Come on, shout louder. If this was Albert Square, they would scream.'
Afterwards, Martin said: 'This really is a great place. It has been a great night, I've really enjoyed it. I've been up here before, to visit Destiny & Elite nightclub.
'But these events are just not long enough. You never get to see enough of the places you are visiting, or the people who are there.
'I have a few more lights switch-ons lined up shortly. I was glad the lights here didn't fail, like they did in Regent Street, London. Daniel Bedingfield was there and they didn't come on at first!
'Here, I was keeping my fingers crossed when I pushed the plunger but, luckily, we were fine.'
The father-of-two, who played bass in the 1980s pop group Spandau Ballet before going into acting, took the time to sign autographs for two disabled fans.
He posed for photos with fan Hayley Parsonage, who said: 'It was absolutely brilliant, I'm a big fan of his.'
Martin, now starring in ITV1 drama Family, was asked by borough mayor Graham Smith to sign pictures for 19-year-old Paul Carter, who has Asperger's Syndrome.
Paul, who visits the town's SPIDER project, had told its co-ordinators Corrina Thorley and Ena Blocksidge he was a big fan of Martin's.