Observational documentary series. It's the biggest day in the street's calendar: the Christmas lights switch-on. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has been booked to push the button.
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It's the most famous shopping street in the world,
in the heart of Britain's capital city.
A mile and a half long, with 30 million visitors each year.
With some of the world's most famous shops...
..and busiest stations.
Sorry, guys! Stand back for me.
What does it take to keep it running, 24 hours a day...
It's the busiest street in the world, so it needs constant attention.
..seven days a week?
Oi! Clear off.
Welcome to Oxford Street. Welcome to the pickpocket team.
'Are you ready, London?'
A street that never sleeps.
This sort of thing wouldn't happen anywhere else.
-Christmas here, everybody!
It's switch-on the time for the street's Christmas lights.
-I have to make my stage work, I'm sorry.
-OK, all right.
If the team can get everything set up in time for Cheryl.
I'm losing them.
The police are on the trail of suspected shoplifters...
Turn around. You've come to Oxford Street to steal,
we will deal with you. You understand?
And tastes clash, personal shopping.
-Oh, my God. I love it!
-It doesn't suit you at all.
No-one wishes it could be Christmas every day more than Oxford Street.
Over 12% of shops' annual sales are made in the festive period.
And to make sure people choose Oxford Street for
their Christmas shopping, for the last 55 years,
the Street has invested in a world-famous light display.
It's a big deal for the street.
This year, 10,000 people are expected to watch live
as 1,500 illuminated globes
and three quarters of a million LEDs are lit up
by Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, as part of a huge switch-on show.
Making sure the stage is set for Cheryl is the job of Dean Parker.
Right, I've got a coffee now, I'm a bit more woken up.
But there won't be a show without a stage.
And as dawn breaks on the most important day of the street's year,
it's Dean's job to build it.
The problem we have is that this ice cream unit here is in the way.
The last time it was moved, someone moved it with a forklift truck
and they damaged it.
And as a result, it can no longer be moved, otherwise it will fall apart.
So, unfortunately, we have to build around this.
And this splendid structure is going to be within our stage.
Which is something of a challenge.
Getting the stage built takes a generous helpings of manpower.
Chuck it over the top and it will be a "U" outwards and then...
-Pull it from the back, up.
-Yeah, we're going down this way.
Stay close to the stage, Dez.
That needs to go that way.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!
There's three or four on the stage.
-Right, go on, other way.
That was heavy. That was VERY heavy!
It's up now, and that's a huge weight off my mind.
The stage will host an hour-long switch-on show.
This year, it includes five music acts, a talent show winner,
the live unveiling of sponsor John Lewis's TV ad,
and at the end of it all, Cheryl.
And at Christmas, fans come from far and wide to follow their star.
I am excited to see Cheryl. On a scale of one to ten, I'm about a 12.
We've travelled all the way from Wales today, I'm quite excited,
-but she is like, overly...
-I'm that excited I want to die!
So beautiful. I love her so much.
I'll probably start crying if I go into it.
To make sure everything's in place for their idol,
Dean and his team finish off fitting out the stage.
You'd never know there's an ice cream stand underneath it all.
Two-two, hey-hey, head-tail one.
Overseeing the show itself is producer, Jo Dakin.
What I want to do is work out this area here.
So shall we just have a nose at the stage?
It's much more shallow than I expected.
I mean, it's...it's a tight squeeze, isn't it?
Unusually for an event of this scale, there's no rehearsal,
adding to the pressure on Jo.
Right, what we need really urgently from the presenters
once they arrive is what they're going to say.
Around half a million people will watch the switch-on for a live
link to the local news, which Jo will coordinate.
We're meant to go live to London Tonight at 6:17.
So I will definitely feel the pressure then.
In addition to Cheryl and the music acts,
there'll be a less well-known performer on the stage tonight.
The street's Retail Association has run a talent competition
for a new face to appear.
It's been won by a local girl, 16-year-old Lauren Mae Kidd.
As she's never done anything like this before,
Jo's allowing Lauren a quick rehearsal.
We haven't given anybody else a sound check at all,
but we wanted her to feel she could have a microphone in her hand
and actually find out what she sounded like,
so she had confidence when she actually came on.
Lauren's nervous, and not just because
she thinks this could be her big break.
It's also a street that means a lot to her.
It's actually really crazy, because Oxford Street
is one of the main streets where I shop.
And I've always been here, walking up and down and past
when I was a little girl and I just...loved it.
So it's crazy to perform in Oxford Street!
And her grandparents have come to see her, too.
-She's very good.
Well, we think so! THEY LAUGH
But Lauren isn't the only one making a stage debut tonight.
The all-important switch-on device is also unveiled.
OK. It's all about this button.
But before any buttons can get pushed,
there's still a load of preparations to be done.
Dean's entering what he calls "the mad hour".
Still live traffic, still live traffic!
Yeah, mad hour.
Haven't yet got the road... The closure's gone in,
but there's still traffic, they're still using taxis and buses,
not a lot, but enough to make it tricky.
Tree branches and even the traffic lights are removed to improve views.
The road is closed to traffic and a crowd area cordoned off.
No, only the branded one!
Watch these crowds when we try and tape it off now. You'll be amazed.
They'll be ducking and diving, jumping over it,
leaping over it, limbo-ing under it.
And then...everything's ready.
Later in the programme, wires get crossed at the light show,
as the team get ready for the big moment.
If this doesn't run at the right time, I'm really sorry, I have to...
-...sort it out in a second.
-No, you won't.
Some officers on the Metropolitan Police's pickpocketing squad
live to catch thieves.
Sergeant Steve Stamp is one of them.
Operation Blizzard, we all know what that means.
We're now in the peak period for the type of offences
we're dealing with on a daily basis.
He heads up the West End team
and his powers of detection are legendary.
He can spot the giveaway signs and catching crooks is what
gets him out of bed on a cold and rainy weekend morning.
It's a total war on crime.
We're out there every day on Oxford Street. We're out there
catching bag thieves, we're out there catching pickpockets,
we're catching bogus police officers,
we're catching the lot of them.
And no matter what the weather is doing,
Sergeant Stamp and his fellow officers are patrolling their beat
looking for pickpockets and shoplifters.
Oxford Street, Christmas period.
The streets are already starting to swell up.
It's all about a cat-and-mouse today.
Not only are we up against the criminals, the thieves,
we're also up against the weather conditions.
Today, they've been patrolling Oxford Street.
But so far, found nothing.
But on neighbouring Regent Street,
Steve suddenly spots what he's looking for.
This group has aroused his attention.
Right there. Literally, the four guys right there.
He's asking them to do something, he's shaking his head.
He's also got an empty carrier bag, which will be foil-lined,
all right, so they're out to steal.
Most police officers wouldn't have spotted anything amiss
with these lads, but Steve is an experienced spotter
and he believes they could be shoplifters.
It's not an easy call, as all four of them are young.
They've got a sort of older male who is actually telling
and showing one of these juveniles how to actually steal.
Um... We're going to follow them and see what they do.
The man holding the black bag and the youths next to him
are Steve's suspects.
They haven't realised that the street's thief taker is just
a footstep behind them.
He's telling him how to hold the bag.
He's telling him what stores to go to.
He's trying to gee him up to do it.
The gang have turned around.
Steve's prepared for that, though, and pretends he's browsing.
He's soon back after the suspects.
Right, come on.
He's right behind them as they walk into a store,
giving Steve a window to call in other officers from the team.
Now, we can either go with them and watch them steal...
..or we can hang back, wait till they come out and nab them.
Store security knows Sergeant Stamp on sight.
And they know that with him on the case,
the chances the store will get robbed are now tiny.
Three youngsters, one male. They've got a black bag they're carrying.
You can see it's important that we liaise with security staff,
it saves us getting blown, we get the cameras on it.
Modern technology does the job for us.
-All right. Do you think they've got the goods?
-I think so.
All right, what I'm going to do is, if you print this up,
-I'll follow them. Don't stop them,
-all right? OK.
I will stop them further on, all right.
The one with the bag will definitely be getting stopped.
-You'll have your goods.
-All right, thank you.
With an arrest likely, Steve lets the rest of the team
know where he wants them to be.
I think they've done a job, I need you now.
Steve's right behind the boy with the black bag
when he and his friends rush across the road.
Steve does his best to catch up.
Having told the store security that he would get any goods back,
Steve might be about to be embarrassed.
I'm losing them.
The four suspects have been lost from the sight
in the rain and the crowds.
If Steve can't find them soon,
then anything they've stolen is long gone.
Later in the programme, Steve tracks down the gang of four
and the search turns up more than he bargained for.
Look at that, what's that for.
Why're you on a tag?
-Is it for stealing?
In less than an hour's time,
Oxford Street will host the biggest event of its year,
the Christmas light switch-on, featuring a crowd of thousands,
five musical acts, a talent show star
and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini pressing the button.
With the road closed and everything ready,
the hordes of Cheryl fans are allowed to descend on the arena.
OK, we're ready down there.
Dean to Jo, we're letting them in, over.
Slowly, slowly don't push, don't crush.
Jo to Louise, the audience are in.
-Backstage, Jo runs through things with her team.
I need them down by...now.
I'm relying on you to have everybody backstage when I said.
Meanwhile, show presenters Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon have arrived.
It's always an honour to be asked to switch on the lights
and this is like a massive one, being down at Oxford Street.
We've got some amazing people performing...
-But Cheryl will be there, she's going to handle it all.
Because I reckon she can count AND push at the same time.
Mmm, quite possibly.
Seven minutes to show, ladies and gentlemen.
You are going to say when it's time to go, the countdown clock.
-Leave it to us.
RADIO: "Dave Berry and Lisa Snowdon..."
The hosts take to the stage and warm up the crowd.
Who loves Christmas?
So, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, let's get
the show started in style, and here's the one, the only, Rixton!
# Shot gun, aimed at my heart
# You got one... #
With Rixton's set underway, the show's off and running.
Backstage, someone from the local news programme has arrived to
discuss the live link-up with Jo.
-For the 17-past...
-..we aim to go for the switch.
-No later, if we can.
Waiting in the wings for her cue, is 16-year-old Lauren Mae Kidd,
and the butterflies are kicking in.
Guys, she's been selected from thousands of entries
to come perform for you all tonight. CHEERING
My throat's going all dry!
And backstage waiting for another key event is presenter, Dave.
Sponsor John Lewis will be
unveiling its Christmas television ad.
And he'll have to cue the big moment.
I need some words.
-What will you do, what will you say?
But Dave has got to go and do a link-up for his radio show.
Look, OK. W-what, hang on a minute. So, you...
I'm really sorry, I have to go and do this for my radio show.
Well, if this doesn't run at the right time... I'm really sorry,
-I have to...
-We'll sort it in a second...
-No, you won't, because...
You absolutely won't, because I have to make my stage work, I'm sorry.
-All right, OK.
-Please, it's fine. Relax.
I'm sorry, I have to make it work.
-I'll say, "Let's roll the ad", that'll be the cue.
It's OK, no problem.
Right, the cue is, "Let's roll the ad."
I do have to be the boss.
Fundamentally, if I don't know what cue they're going to give in to
something, the whole thing just sort of tumbles down, really.
So it's really, really important and if we don't know beforehand,
you know, we've got... We're guessing.
And at the moment, I just want to make sure we're on the nail.
When we come back, Dave cues.
Let's roll the ad!
'Lauren Mae Kidd!'
-And Cheryl gets ready to push.
ALL: Nine, eight, seven...
Oxford Street likes to think of itself as being at the
cutting edge of retail.
And at the moment, there's one key trend
that's taking the street by storm.
It used to be the preserve of the rich and famous,
an expensive service you had to pay for. But not any more.
An increasing number of stores now offer anyone the chance to
book an appointment with a stylist, free of charge,
who will use their expertise to come up with clothing ideas.
Firmly on the personal shopping bandwagon is Debenhams.
Alain Mehada runs the personal shopping team
at their Oxford Street store.
Alain isn't on commission.
But for the store to be able to offer his services free of charge,
he's got to make sales, which means picking clothes his clients like.
I love people, I like to change people,
I like to change them from distressed shopper to a happy shopper.
Alain's first client, business development manager, Wendy, has arrived.
My boyfriend's been suggesting that I do something like this for quite
a while, because I seem to have just, I don't know,
lost my confidence or... In the...
In terms of how I look or what I should be wearing and what
I feel comfortable in, what looks good.
Hello! Is that Wendy?
-Yes, it is, hi.
-Nice to see you.
I will warn you, I've been shopping and come back empty-handed
-many times before, so no pressure.
No problem, I've been hearing this for a long time.
And then it's on to the first outfit.
Can he make her day and make himself a sale?
Let's go for something different.
-This and that.
-I would never pick them up, but...
Hurrah for that. The word I want to hear from my customers, OK?
A few minutes later, and Wendy's ready for Alain.
-I really like this vibe.
It's very suave, very classic and to be honest with you,
if I was a client, your client, I would be inspired by your look.
It looks like at least one sale for Alain.
That is a bingo!
While Wendy moves on to her next outfit, Alain's got more clients.
Take a seat, darling.
Laura is a freelance screenwriter and mum.
-So, I'm a mother...
-Er, but I still want to look fabulous.
-Um, so, just things that I can probably lunge and squat in...
-But... And are comfortable...
-..yet with that edge of style and the..
A little bit... So I feel a bit special.
Student Julius is also here, with sister, Samira,
for different reasons.
He hates shopping, but his wardrobe needs a serious overhaul.
Shopping's not really something that I enjoy doing.
So I actually could wear... Sort of get a whole outfit in one go.
And Alain and Sylvan are soon swinging into action.
Things start well.
-Go for it, girl! LAUGHING:
-I like that.
-Oh, you've got a good eye!
-I can see why they employed you!
-That is more...
But not all of Alain's picks are popular.
Oh, my God! I love it!
-Because it's like a body condom!
My God, you look stunning.
I feel a little bit more self-conscious in this one.
-The only thing I'm not sure about is the bowtie.
-I'm not a huge fan.
-It doesn't suit you, at all.
But Alain doesn't give up easily.
He's got plenty more outfits planned.
Wow! Let's see. Wow!
-Samira, what do you think?
-He sees a different Wendy.
-Like a different person completely!
Yes. He will say, "Hello-oh!" WENDY LAUGHS
-Where have you been...
-..all my life?
Who is this guy who changed your look?
You've been "Gokked"!
And Wendy isn't the only one who Alain has had a big effect on.
I feel like... Alain's changed my view on how to dress.
Tighten the waist in, get a chunky thing around the neck,
you're looking fabulous.
I feel like...I'm going to be a different person
when I go into work tomorrow.
-Bravo! Thank you so much.
-Yeah. Thank you very, very much.
I'll see you again, OK?
Although it's a free service, there is a bottom line for Alain and his team.
And today, they've hit it.
Thank you so much. This is my card for next time, yeah?
I'm here to please my customer and make them happy,
and I think that's the most important role to be a personal stylist.
For Alain, it's just been an ordinary day at work.
But he's part of a growing trend which is changing the way
people shop for clothes.
For his clients, it's been a little peek at what it's like to be,
for one day at least, very far from ordinary.
Sgt Steve Stamp is in Piccadilly Circus.
He's followed a group of youths from near Oxford Street
and believes they've committed a theft in a store.
In the rain and crowds, he thought he'd lost them.
But a search finds them in another store, just as his backup arrives.
Stop! Keep going, keep going, keep going, keep going!
They're going to see you, keep going.
Stop there, and get out of the van. They are all in there, all in there.
Let's take them out. All right.
Steve decides it's time to bring the game of cat-and-mouse to a close.
Boys, police officers. All right. All you lot, come with me outside.
They had no idea Sgt Stamp had been following them
on their shopping trip. The three shorter boys look very young.
Time to see what's in the bag.
All right, now. Come and stand over here.
-Open up the bag for me.
The younger members of the group look worried, and no wonder,
there are brand-new jeans in the bags, but no receipt for them.
Where did you get these from? You!
Did you buy them? Course you didn't.
Look at me.
Right, you're all under arrest. Conspiracy to steal.
You don't have to say anything that might harm your defence,
if you don't mention when questioned something that you may rely on in court.
Anything you do say may be given in evidence. You're all under arrest.
It turns out the jeans have been stolen from
an Oxford Street clothing store.
Teenagers shoplifting on Oxford Street is not a new problem,
but one the police and stores take very seriously.
The three younger boys are shocked into silence.
The oldest one seems the most upset.
-No point crying, mate.
Why're you crying?
You come to Oxford Street to steal, we will deal with you.
You understand? Cry all you want. I don't really care.
HE SOBS LOUDLY
But Steve can't afford to be impressed by the boy's tears.
And a search throws more suspicion onto him.
Look at that, what's that for.
Why're you on a tag? Is it for stealing?
-Why are you on a tag then?
No, it's my cousin...
-So, you're wearing your cousin's tag?
-Oh, wow! I wish...
What a great idea!
You're going to steal, you're in trouble. Stand up.
How about you?
They probably woke up this morning thinking they were going to come out and steal.
He thought he was going to teach his guys here how to steal.
What happens? They all end up in cuffs. Welcome!
Listen, welcome, welcome to Westminster.
This is how we deal with thieves, whether you like it or not,
you're under arrest. End of story.
Well, there you go. In you get!
Next one! Little lad, get in there. There you go, Merry Christmas.
The young age of the boys makes it even more important for Steve
to show them how seriously they take shoplifting.
If found guilty, they'll be put in touch with youth offending teams
in the hope they can change their ways before it's too late.
Zero tolerance means that these youngsters now know,
"I can't steal, if I come to Westminster and steal,
"I'm going to get caught, I'm going to get arrested,
"I'm going to be thrown inside."
That's what I'm trying to teach them now,
I'm tried to show them the hard way.
At the moment, we have a nice pair of jeans, skinny fit.
They're not going to fit me, but they might fit one of them.
I'm more concerned about the chappie there, the ringleader,
with the tag on him. Yeah, he's crying like a baby.
He knows he's in trouble. It's game over for him.
Santa won't be visiting him this year.
It all adds up to a visit to the police station for these youngsters,
miles away from the bright lights and shops on Oxford Street.
Three of the lads are very young, but Steve thinks catching
the older lad may be potentially a very significant arrest.
Now, what we have here is clearly somebody who was a thief,
trying to teach others his sort of street craft, his skills.
What's happened is, these kids,
and they are kids, are learning how to steal at a very young age.
We have managed today to put a stop to their criminality,
thieving, at this time.
And what it's going to do to them, is it's going to make them believe
that if they steal, they will get caught,
they will be arrested and they could end up in prison.
Since we filmed, no further action was taken against three of the boys.
But the one caught holding the bag will receive a police reprimand
for theft. He will also meet with the youth offending team.
It turned out he was just 12 years old.
There's just 10 minutes to go
until the switch-on of Oxford Street's Christmas lights.
We're going to be live on Capital,
we are going to be live around the world.
With Cheryl Fernandez-Versini on her way,
an audience of thousands gathered and a live television audience
of half a million waiting to watch, the pressure's on.
And feeling it more than anyone right now
is 16-year-old talent competition winner, Lauren Mae Kidd.
So please give a massive warm welcome,
for the lovely Lauren Mae Kidd!
-Good girl! You did great.
-Well done, didn't you do a good job!
Mind yourself on the stairs, though.
I actually... I-I've done it now.
I thought I dealt with it quite well. I tried my best.
Stage producer's Jo's responsible for making sure
everyone hits their cues.
Due to come off 58.30, they went on at 57.
That includes the unveiling of the John Lewis ad and making sure
the big switch-on happens in time
for the news programme to show it live.
It's just a case of making sure we give the mark at 18.17.
But first, the commercial everybody's talking about.
Dave does his bit.
-It's so cute!
-Let's roll the ad!
Just then, the woman who can start Christmas arrives.
And things swing into action.
As soon as she goes out there, I think
Christmas is going to kick off in earnest.
Christmas here, everybody!
CHEERING DROWNS SPEECH
It's Cheryl Fernandez-Versini!
CHEERING DROWNS SPEECH
-Let's get the clock on and start the countdown!
ALL: Ten, nine, eight, seven,
six, five, four, three, two, one!
And Christmas comes to Oxford Street.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
-Thank you to Cheryl.
-Thank you, everybody!
-Thank you all, have a good night!
Oh, my God! All of that for that tiny moment! It's crazy, isn't it?
I mean, and then I think we went on 50 seconds early!
I am now going to have a beer!
The stage disappears and the ice-cream stand re-emerges.
And with that, the most Christmassy street in the UK
gets on with what it does best,
spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer
and selling an awful lot of presents.
It's the biggest day in the street's calendar: the Christmas lights switch-on. Cheryl Fernandez-Versini has been booked to push the button, but before she gets near it, a specialist team have got to make sure everything's in place for the big moment.
The Metropolitan Police pickpocket team have an eventful weekend.
There's a key job for the team building Crossrail, a brand new underground railway running underneath Oxford Street.
We meet the personal shopper helping the Great British public dress better.
A light has gone out at a landmark Oxford Street building. The problem is, it's 400 feet above the ground.