JIM CARREY switched on the Dickens-themed Oxford Street Christmas lights last night, the 50th year of the festive-shopping tradition.

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The many-faced actor plays Scrooge in the new Disney version of A Christmas Carol – which opens in London on Friday 6 November – the main sponsor of this year’s light-show.

“It feels great to be a part of all this tradition,” said Carrey, whose enthusiasm for the past was matched only by his keenness to point up the contemporary political significance of his new film.

“This story couldn’t be more important right now: it’s about the immorality of greed,” said the multi-millionaire star.

“I want to thank the people of Britain for the legacy of Charles Dickens and the chance to tell this story.”

Possibly representing the people of Britain, A Christmas Carol co-star Colin Firth applied a bit of stiff-upper lip to the proceedings while turning on the lights in nearby Regent Street.

“I think it’s all a bit tacky and over-the-top quite frankly, but why not?” he said.

“That’s what Christmas is all about.”

Oxford Street Lights 2009