Controversial comedian Russell Brand is set to turn Marlow’s Christmas lights on for free, the town council has insisted, amid speculation from national media about the fee he could be paid.

The revelation that the comic would be helping to launch Christmas in the town by appearing at the annual switch on and shop event on November 23 has caused a stir among residents – with some unconvinced about the choice.

The news of Brand’s appearance reached the national media at the weekend, but Marlow Town Council has now hit back after an article on MailOnline – which quoted a series of Bucks Free Press online and print readers – suggested he could be making thousands of pounds from the appearance.

A statement from the council said: “Marlow Town Council emphasised today that, contrary to coverage on the MailOnline on Sunday, November 5, Russell Brand is switching on our Christmas lights free of charge – and we’re very grateful to him for supporting us.”