BBC Children in Need
BBC Children in Need
Children in Need logo featuring Pudsey Bear
Genre Charity Telethon
Presented by Sir Terry Wogan
Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Nick Grimshaw
(See full list)
Narrated by Alan Dedicoat
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Location(s) BBC TV Centre (1980–2012)
Elstree Studios (2013–)
Camera setup Multiple
Running time Various
Original channel BBC One
Original run November 1980 – present
Related shows Comic Relief (since 1985)
External links

BBC Children in Need (also promoted as ="cy" xml:lang="cy" >Plant Mewn Angen</span> in Wales[1]) is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £600 million[2] to change the lives of disabled children and young people in the UK. One of the highlights is an annual telethon, held in November and televised on BBC One and BBC One HD from 7:30pm until 2am. "Pudsey Bear" is BBC Children in Need's mascot, whilst Terry Wogan is a long-standing host. BBC Children in Need is one of three high-profile British telethons, although the only charity belonging to the BBC, the other telethons being Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, both supporting the Comic Relief charity. The 2012 appeal took place on Friday 16 November.

History Edit

Earlier BBC appeals Edit

The BBC's first broadcast charity appeal took place in 1927, in the form of a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day. It raised about £1,143, which equates to about £27,150 by today's standards, and was donated to four children's charities. The first televised appeal took place in 1955 and was called the Children's Hour Christmas Appeal, with the yellow glove puppet Sooty Bear and Harry Corbett fronting it. The Christmas Day Appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979. During that time a total of £625,836 was raised. Terry Wogan first appeared during this five-minute appeal in 1978, and again in 1979. Sometimes cartoon characters such as Peter Pan were used.

BBC Children in Need Edit

BBC Television Centre

BBC Television Centre on the night of the 2008 telethon.

BBC pudsey bear in sheffield children in need-2009

Pudsey Bear raising funds for BBC Children in Need 2009.

In 1980, the BBC held its first telethon, a single programme lasting a whole evening, devoted to raising money exclusively destined for charities working with children in the United Kingdom. The new format, presented by Terry Wogan, Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen, saw a dramatic increase in public donations: £1 million was raised that year. The telethon format has been retained each year since and grown in scope to incorporate further events broadcast on radio and online. As a regular presenter, Wogan has become firmly associated with the annual event, continuing to front the event through into 2012 after scaling down his other BBC commitments.

In 1988, BBC Children in Need became a registered charity (number 802052) in England and Wales, followed by registration in Scotland (SC039557) in 2008.


Totals raised are announced throughout the telethon show with the final amount raised being announced at the final minute of broadcast of the telethon. On 19 November 2011 at 02.00 GMT the appeal had raised a new record of £26,332,334 which broke all previous records for the appeal night total.[3] The final total for each Appeal is much greater than the total on the Appeal night show, with £46 million set to be awarded to projects throughout 2012.[4]

Event Broadcast total Final total
1980 £1,000,000[5] £1,000,587
1983 £1,689,989
1985 £4,470,000
1986 £5,264,665 £8,600,000
1988 £17,500,000
1991 £17,182,724
1994 £12,012,524
1996 £12m[6] £18.7m[7] [8]
1997 £12,034,235[9] £20.9[10] [11]
1998 £11,380,888[12][13] £18,000,000
1999 £11,639,053[14] £17,000,000
2000 £12,244,764 £20,000,000
2001 £12,895,853 £25,000,000[15]
2002 £13,500,000[16] £26,000,000
2003 £15,305,212[17] £32,000,000
2004 £17,156,175[18] £34,200,000[19]
2005 £17,235,256[20] £33,200,000[21]
2006 £18,300,392 £33,600,000[22]
2007 £19,089,771 £37,500,000[23]
2008 £20,991,216 £38,500,000[24]
2009 £20,309,747[25] £40,200,000[25]
2010 £18,098,199 £36,600,000[26]
2011 £26,332,334[27] £46,000,000[28]
2012 £26,757,446[29]

Sources Edit

The appeal gains the majority of its money from donations by individuals who may themselves have raised the funds by taking part in sponsored events. Being sponsored to sit in a bath of baked beans is a common favourite, as are cake sales. Companies also donate money, either directly or benefits in kind, such as HSBC donating banking facilities, and BT donating telephone lines and operators.

On the night of the televised appeal, donations are solicited through entertainment acts, intermixed with featurettes showing what the money will be used for. The total raised so far during the telethon is frequently flashed on screen, with presenters urging viewers to part with "any penny they can spare" to help push the total beyond the target milestone.

Fundraising activity also extends across the BBC's other television channels and national and local radio channels. Before the start of the telethon, BBC Radio 2 hosts four days of fund-raising for Children In Need.[30] The Radio 2 events culminate with a music marathon, ending just as the telethon starts. For the last few years, Radio 2 listeners have been able to raise in excess of £2 million.[31]

Beneficiaries Edit

The money contributed to Children in Need is distributed to organisations supporting children in the UK aged 18 and under who have mental, physical or sensory disorders; behavioural or psychological disorders; are living in poverty or situations of deprivation; or suffering through distress, sexual abuse or neglect.

Telethon Edit

Acts Edit

The telethon features performances from many top singers and groups, with many by celebrities also appearing on the seven-hour long programme performing various activities such as sketches or musical numbers. Featured celebrities often include those from programmes on rival network ITV, including some appearing in-character, and/or from the sets of their own programmes. A performance by BBC newsreaders has become an annual fixture. Stars of newly opened West End musicals regularly perform a number from their show later in the evening after "curtain call" in their respective theatres.

Broadcast Edit

The BBC devotes the entire night's programming on its flagship channel BBC One to the Children in Need telethon, with the exception of 35 minutes at 10 o'clock while BBC News at Ten, Weather and Regional News airs, and activity continues on BBC Two with special programming, such as Mastermind Children in Need, which is a form of Celebrity Mastermind, with four celebrities answering questions on a chosen subject and on general knowledge. In recent years, before the telethon itself the BBC has broadcast Children in Need specials of The One Show, in which hosts Matt Baker and Alex Jones did a rickshaw challenge and a celebrity version of Pointless in which Pudsey assists hosts Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman.

Unlike the other BBC charity telethon Comic Relief, Children in Need relies a lot on the BBC regions for input into the telethon night. The BBC English regions all have around 5–8 minute round-ups every hour during the telethon. This does not interrupt the schedule of items shown from BBC Television Centre as the host Terry Wogan usually hands over to the regions, giving those in the main network studio a short break. However BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland do opt out of the network schedule with a lot of local fundraising news and activities from their broadcast area. Usually they will go over to the network broadcast at various times of the night, and usually they will show some network items later than when the English regions will see them. This is to give the BBC nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland a much larger slot than the BBC English regions because the "nations" comprise a distinct audience of the BBC. Usually BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hand back to network coverage from around 1:00 am in the telethon night. For the 2010 appeal this changed, with Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales deciding not to have their usual opt-outs and instead following the English regions' pattern of having updates every hour.


No. Broadcast date Broadcast total Main presenter Co-presenters BBC One Rating (millions)
1 November 1980 £1,000,000 Sir Terry Wogan Sue Lawley
Esther Rantzen
2 November 1981 N/A N/A
3 November 1982 N/A N/A
4 25 November 1983 N/A Esther Rantzen
Joanna Lumley
5 23 November 1984 N/A N/A
6 22 November 1985 N/A N/A
7 21 November 1986 £5,264,665 Esther Rantzen
Joanna Lumley
Sue Cook
8 27 November 1987 N/A N/A
9 18 November 1988 N/A Joanna Lumley
Sue Cook
10 17 November 1989 N/A Sue Cook N/A
11 23 November 1990 N/A Sue Cook
Dave Benson-Phillips
12 22 November 1991 £17,182,724 Sue Cook
Andi Peters
13 20 November 1992 N/A N/A
14 26 November 1993 N/A N/A
15 25 November 1994 £12,012,524 N/A
16 24 November 1995 N/A Sue Cook
Gaby Roslin
17 22 November 1996 £12,000,000 Gaby Roslin N/A
18 21 November 1997 £12,034,235 N/A
19 20 November 1998 £11,380,888 N/A
20 26 November 1999 £11,639,053 6.61
21 17 November 2000 £12,244,764 N/A
22 16 November 2001 £12,895,853 7.12
23 15 November 2002 £13,500,000 7.56
24 21 November 2003 £15,305,212 10.49
25 19 November 2004 £17,156,175 8.48
26 18 November 2005 £17,235,256 Natasha Kaplinsky
Fearne Cotton
27 17 November 2006 £18,300,392 7.72
28 16 November 2007 £19,089,771 Fearne Cotton 9.56
29 14 November 2008 £20,991,216 Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon
30 20 November 2009 £20,309,747 Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon
31 19 November 2010 £18,098,199 Tess Daly
Fearne Cotton
32 18 November 2011 £26,332,334 Tess Daly
Fearne Cotton
Alesha Dixon
33 16 November 2012 £26,757,446 Tess Daly
Fearne Cotton
Nick Grimshaw


File:Children in need 1980 logo.jpg

The mascot that fronts the Children in Need appeal is called "Pudsey Bear", created in 1985 by BBC graphic designer Joanna Ball. The bear was named after her hometown of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, where her grandfather was mayor.[32] A reproduction of the bear mascot (made of vegetation) is in Pudsey park, near the town centre. Originally introduced for the 1985 appeal as a brown bear, the design was amended the following year to a yellow bear with a bandage over one eye, becoming also the official logo of the campaign. In 2007 Pudsey and the logo were redesigned. By 2009, Pudsey had been joined by another bear, a brown female bear named "Blush". She has a spotty bow with the pattern similar to Pudsey's bandanna pattern, continuing into 2010.

Ratings Edit

Episode No. Airdate Viewers
Weekly Ranking
19 26 November 19996.61
20 24 November 2000 <center>
21 16 November 2001 7.12 <center>20
22 15 November 2002 7.56 <center>8
23 21 November 2003 10.49 <center>4
24 21 November 2003 5.33 <center>29
25 19 November 2004 8.48 <center>7
26 19 November 2004 4.77 <center>27
27 18 November 2005 9.07 <center>7
28 18 November 2005 4.59 <center>28
29 17 November 2006 7.72 <center>6
30 16 November 2007 9.56 <center>3
31 16 November 2007 4.48 <center>28
32 14 November 2008 9.83 <center>4
33 14 November 2008 4.82 <center>27
34 20 November 2009 10.08 <center>1
35 20 November 2009 4.50 <center>27
36 19 November 2010 9.36 <center>4
37 19 November 2010 4.79 <center>22
38 18 November 2011 10.26 <center>3
39 18 November 2011 <center>
40 16 November 2012 <center>
41 16 November 2012 <center>

Official singles Edit

Year Artist(s) Song(s) Chart
1985 Clannad Almost Seems (Too Late to Turn) DNC
1986 Suzi Quatro with Bronski Beat and Various Artists Heroes 72
1988 Spirit of Play with Paul McCartney Children In Need DNC
1989 Clannad Almost Seems (Too Late to Turn) DNC
1995 Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen You Better Believe It (Children in Need) 60
1997 Lou Reed and Various Artists Perfect Day 1
1998 Denise Van Outen and Johnny Vaughan featuring Steps Especially for You 3
1999 Martine McCutcheon Love Me 6
2000 S Club 7 Never Had a Dream Come True 1
2001 S Club 7 Have You Ever 1
2002 Will Young Don't Let Me Down / You and I 2
2003 Shane Richie I'm Your Man 2
2004 Girls Aloud I'll Stand by You 1
2005 Liberty X A Night to Remember 6
2006 Emma Bunton Downtown 3
2007 Spice Girls Headlines (Friendship Never Ends) 11
2008 McFly Do Ya/Stay with Me[33] 18
2009 Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band The Official BBC Children in Need Medley[34] 1
2010 JLS Love You More 1
2011 The Collective [35][36] Teardrop 24
2012 Girls Aloud Something New[37] 2

Criticism Edit

Although Children in Need is welcomed by a large proportion of the British public, there are some who offer an alternative view, that the portrayal of children, particularly disabled children, as victims is unfortunate and counter-productive. It is argued that a change in social attitudes will benefit the disadvantaged more than money and public sympathy.

In November 2006, Intelligent Giving published an article about Children in Need, which attracted wide attention across the British media. The article, titled "Four things wrong with Pudsey", described donations to Children in Need as a "lazy and inefficient way of giving" and pointed out that, as a grant-giving charity, Children in Need would use donations to pay two sets of administration costs. It also described the quality of some of its public reporting as "shambolic".[38][39]

In 2007, it was reported that Terry Wogan, as the show's host, had been receiving an annual honorarium since 1980 (amounting to £9,065 in 2005). This made him the only celebrity paid for his participation in Children in Need. Wogan, however, stated that he would "quite happily do it for nothing" and had "never asked for a fee". The BBC stated that the amount, which was paid from BBC resources and not from the Children in Need charity fund, had "never been negotiated", having instead increased in line with inflation.[40] Two days before the 2007 event, it was reported that Wogan had waived his compensation.[41]

There has also been concern about the type of groups receiving funding from Children in Need. Writing in The Spectator, Ross Clark noted how funding goes towards controversial groups such as Women in Prison, which campaigns against jailing female criminals. Another charity highlighted was the Children’s Legal Centre, which provided funding for Shabina Begum to sue her school as she wanted to wear the Jilbab. Clark pondered whether donors seeing cancer victims on screen would appreciate "that a slice of their donation would be going into the pockets of Cherie Blair to help a teenage girl sue her school over her refusal to wear a school uniform".[42]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. BBC - Nations - Wales - Elusennau
  2. BBC – BBC Children in Need – History
  3. "BBC Children in Need reaches the highest total ever of £26,332,334" (Press release). BBC Media Centre. 19 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  4. BBC - Blogs - BBC Children in Need
  21. "Report and Consolidated Financial Statements for the year ended 30 September 2006". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 25 January 2007. p. 9. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  22. "Annual Report and Accounts – Year Ended 30 September 2007". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 7 February 2008. p. 21. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  23. "Annual Report and Accounts – 30 September 2008". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 18 February 2009. p. 25. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  24. "Annual Report and Accounts – 30 September 2009". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 11 February 2010. p. 22. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  25. 25.0 25.1 "Annual Report and Accounts – 30 September 2010". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 8 February 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  26. "Annual Report and Accounts – 30 September 2011". The BBC Children in Need Appeal. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  30. BBC - Radio 2 - Children in Need 2006
  31. BBC - Radio 2 - Children in Need 2006
  32. [1]
  35. 35.0 35.1 "It's Gary Barlow & The Collective". The Sun (London). 
  36. "X Factor judges to record Children in Need charity song". 25 August 2011. 
  37. BBC - Media Center - BBC Children in Need 2012 - the stars of Appeal Night revealed
  38. Kelly, Annie (29 November 2006). "Pudsey's worst nightmare". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  40. "Wogan charity fee defended by BBC". BBC. 4 March 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2007. 
  41. "Terry Wogan waives his £9,000 fee for Children in Need". Daily Mail (London). 15 November 2007. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 

External links Edit

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