Children in Need

BBC Children in Need (also promoted as Plant Mewn Angen in Wales[1]) is the BBC's UK charity. Since 1980 it has raised over £1 billion for disadvantaged children and young people in the UK.[2]It helps others in Need

BBC Children in Need
GenreCharity telethon
Presented byTerry Wogan
Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon
Fearne Cotton
Rochelle Humes
Marvin Humes
Ade Adepitan
Graham Norton
Mel Giedroyc
Matt Edmondson
Rob Beckett
Narrated byAlan Dedicoat
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
Production location(s)BBC Television Centre (1980–2012)
BBC Elstree Centre (2013–)
Camera setupMulti-camera
Running timeVarious
Original networkBBC One
Original release21 November 1980 (1980-11-21) 
Related showsComic Relief (1988–)
Sport Relief (2002–)
External links

One of the highlights is an annual telethon, held in November and televised on BBC One and BBC Two from 7:30 pm until 2:30 am. "Pudsey Bear" is BBC Children in Need's mascot, whilst Sir Terry Wogan was its long-standing host for 35 years. A prominent annual event in British television, Children in Need is one of three high profile British telethons. It is the only charity belonging to the BBC, the other telethons being Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, both supporting Comic Relief.

Following the temporary closure of Television Centre, the telethon broadcasts take place at the BBC Elstree Centre.[3]


Earlier BBC appeals

The BBC's first broadcast charity appeal took place in 1927, in the form of a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day.[4] It raised about £1,342, which equates to about £69,950 by today's standards, and was donated to four children's charities.[4] 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.[4] 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.[4] Sometimes cartoon characters such as Peter Pan and Tom and Jerry were used.

BBC Children in Need

In 1980, the first Children in Need telethon was broadcast. It was a series of short segments linking the evening's programming instead of the usual continuity. It was 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 format was developed throughout the 1980s to the point where the telethon segments grew longer and the regular programming diminished, eventually being dropped altogether from 1984 in favour of a single continuous programme. This format has grown in scope to incorporate further events broadcast on radio and online. As a regular presenter, Wogan had become firmly associated with the annual event, continuing to front it until 2014. This was because in the following year, he started to battle ill health from which he died in 2016.

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

Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year Award

An award called the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year has been presented since 2016 to someone who has gone above and beyond to help raise money for Children in Need. The award was set up by Terry's family and was presented by Terry's son, Mark, at the 2016 telethon in memory of the late Sir Terry Wogan. Joanna Lumley awarded it to Ellie and Abbie Holloway during the 2017 telethon.

2016Lauchlan Muir
2017Ellie and Abbie Holloway
2018Keeley Browse
2019Austin and Esther Atkins



The telethon features performances from many top singers and groups, with many celebrities also appearing on the 6 1/2 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 became 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 big bombs.


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 including DIY SOS The Big Build, Bargain Hunt, 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 presenters usually hand over to the regions, giving those in the main network studio a short break. However BBC Scotland, BBC Wales and BBC Northern Ireland opted out of the network schedule with a lot of local fundraising news and activities from their broadcast area. Usually they went over to the network broadcast at various times of the night, and usually they showed some network items later than when the English regions saw them. This was 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 handed back to network coverage from around 1:00 am on 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 Total raised Main presenter Co-presenters Outside broadcast presenter BBC One rating
1 21 November 1980 £1,000,000[5] £1,000,587 Sir Terry Wogan Sue Lawley
Esther Rantzen
2 20 November 1981 N/A N/A N/A N/A
3 26 November 1982 N/A £1,022,300 N/A N/A
4 25 November 1983 N/A £1,158,737 Gloria Hunniford N/A N/A
5 23 November 1984 N/A £2,264,398[6] Sue Cook
Joanna Lumley
6 22 November 1985 N/A £4,476,780[6] Sue Cook N/A N/A
7 21 November 1986 £5,264,665 £8,687,607[6] N/A N/A
8 27 November 1987 N/A £13,916,326[6] N/A N/A
9 18 November 1988 £12,950,000[7] £21,671,931[7] Sue Cook
Joanna Lumley
10 17 November 1989 £17,213,664 £21,600,000 Sue Cook N/A N/A
11 23 November 1990 N/A N/A N/A N/A
12 22 November 1991 £17,182,724 N/A N/A N/A
13 20 November 1992 £11,549,490 £16,700,000 Sue Cook
Andi Peters
14 26 November 1993 £12,386,866 £17,300,000 N/A N/A
15 25 November 1994 £12,012,524 N/A N/A N/A
16 24 November 1995 £11,843,308 N/A Sue Cook
Gaby Roslin
17 22 November 1996 £11,847,168[8] £18,700,000[8][9] Gaby Roslin N/A N/A
18 21 November 1997 £12,034,235[10] £20,900,000[11] N/A N/A
19 20 November 1998 £11,380,888[12] £17,900,000 N/A N/A
20 26 November 1999 £11,639,053[13] £16,700,000 N/A 6.61
21 17 November 2000 £12,244,764[14] £20,000,000 N/A 6.8[15]
22 16 November 2001 £12,895,853[16] £25,900,000[17] N/A 7.12
23 15 November 2002 £13,501,375[18] £26,200,000[19] N/A 7.56
24 21 November 2003 £15,305,212[20] £31,400,000[21] N/A 10.49
25 19 November 2004 £17,156,175[22] £34,200,000[23] N/A 8.48
26 18 November 2005 £17,235,256[24] £33,200,000[25] Fearne Cotton
Natasha Kaplinsky
Matt Allwright 9.07
27 17 November 2006 £18,300,392[26] £33,600,000[27] Chris Moyles 7.72
28 16 November 2007 £19,089,771[28] £37,500,000[29] Fearne Cotton N/A 9.56
29 14 November 2008 £20,991,216[30] £38,500,000[31] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon 9.83
30 20 November 2009 £20,309,747[32] £40,200,000[32] Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon
Peter Andre 10.08
31 19 November 2010 £18,098,199[33] £36,600,000[33] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
32 18 November 2011 £26,332,334[34] £46,100,000[35] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Alesha Dixon
N/A 10.01[36]
33 16 November 2012 £26,757,446[34][37] £43,300,000[38] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Nick Grimshaw
N/A 8.22
34 15 November 2013 £31,124,896[39] £49,600,000[38] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Nick Grimshaw
Zoe Ball
Shane Richie 9.99
35 14 November 2014 £32,620,469[40] £49,100,000[41] Fearne Cotton
Tess Daly
Nick Grimshaw
Rochelle Humes
36 13 November 2015 £37,100,687[42] £55,000,000[43] Dermot O'Leary 7.95
37 18 November 2016 £46,624,259 £60,000,000[44] Tess Daly Rochelle Humes
Greg James
Graham Norton
Ade Adepitan
Marvin Humes
Russell Kane
N/A 6.60
38 17 November 2017 £50,168,562 £60,750,000[45] Rochelle Humes
Graham Norton
Ade Adepitan
Marvin Humes
Mel Giedroyc
Matt Edmondson[46]
N/A 7.12
39 16 November 2018 £50,595,053 £58,000,000 Graham Norton
Mel Giedroyc
Rochelle Humes
Marvin Humes
Ade Adepitan
Rob Beckett
40 15 November 2019 £47,886,382 Graham Norton
Mel Giedroyc
Rochelle Humes
Marvin Humes
Ade Adepitan
Tom Allen
Braydon Bent

Children in Need Rocks

Year Date Broadcast date Location Organised by Presenters BBC One rating (millions)
2009 12 November 2009 19 November 2009 Royal Albert Hall Gary Barlow Chris Moyles
Fearne Cotton
Sir Terry Wogan
2011 17 November 2011 Manchester Arena Chris Moyles
Fearne Cotton
David Tennant
2013 12–13 November 2013 14 November 2013 Hammersmith Apollo Fearne Cotton
Chris Evans
2015 8 October 2015 12 November 2015 The SSE Arena, Wembley Tom Jones Tom Jones
Rob Brydon
2016 1 November 2016 14 November 2016 Royal Albert Hall BBC Studios Fearne Cotton
Greg James
2017 19 October 2017 13 November 2017 The SSE Arena, Wembley Fearne Cotton
Sara Cox
Roman Kemp (backstage)
2018 7 November 2018[47] 15 November 2018 Fearne Cotton
Clara Amfo

Pudsey Bear

The mascot fronting the Children in Need appeal is called Pudsey Bear. He was created and named in 1985 by BBC graphic designer Joanna Lane, who worked in the BBC's design department. Asked to revamp the logo, with a brief to improve the charity's image, Lane said "It was like a lightbulb moment for me, We were bouncing ideas off each other and I latched on to this idea of a teddy bear. I immediately realised there was a huge potential for a mascot beyond the 2D logo".[48] The bear was named after her hometown of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, where her grandfather was mayor.[48] A reproduction of the bear mascot (made of vegetation) is in Pudsey park, near the town centre. Originally introduced for the 1985 appeal, Pudsey Bear was created as a triangular shaped logo, depicting a yellow-orange teddy bear with a red bandana tied over one eye. The bandana had a pattern of small black triangles. The mouth of the bear depicted a sad expression. The lettering "BBC" appeared as 3 circular black buttons running vertically down the front of the bear, one capital letter on each, in white. Perpendicular to the buttons, the words "children-in-need" appeared in all lower case letters along the base of the triangular outline. Accessibility for young readers, and people with disabilities including speech and reading challenges, were factors weighed by the designer Joanna Ball, specifically the "P" sound in "Pudsey" name, and the choice of all lower case sans serif letters for the logotype.

The original design was adapted for various applications for use in the 1985 appeal, both 2D graphics and three-dimensional objects. Items using the original 1985 design included a filmed opening title sequence, using cartoon cell animation, a postage stamp, and a prototype soft toy, commissioned from a film and TV prop maker (citation). The original prototype soft toy was orange and reflected the design of the logo, which was then adapted for approximately 12 identical bears, one for each regional BBC Television Studio. These bears were numbered and tagged with the official logo and auctioned off as part of the appeal. The number 1 Pudsey Bear was allocated to the Leeds region. Joanna Lumley appeared with one of the soft toys during the opening of Blackpool Illuminations and named Pudsey Bear the official mascot of the BBC Children in Need appeal.

In 1986, the logo was redesigned. Whilst retaining the concept of a teddy bear with a bandana over one eye, all other elements were changed. Specifically, the triangular elements of the underlying design were abandoned, as well as the corporate identity colour scheme was changed. The new bandana design was white with red spots, one of the buttons was removed and the logotype now appeared as building blocks, which spelled out "BBC CHILDREN IN NEED" in capital letters. Pudsey now has a smiling expression on his face rather than a sad one like the previous logo.

In 2007, Pudsey and the logo were redesigned again. This time, Pudsey's bandana had multicoloured spots, and all of the buttons were removed. 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 bandana pattern. In 2013, Moshi Monsters introduced Pudsey as an in-game item for 100 Rox.

The Children in Need 2015 campaign on 13 November 2015 marked the thirtieth birthday of Pudsey Bear, who has been the charity's mascot since 1985.

Official singles

Year Artist(s) Song(s) UK Singles Chart
1985Clannad"Almost Seems (Too Late to Turn)"80
1986 The County Line "Heroes" DNC[49]
Ray Moore "O' My Father Had A Rabbit"[50] 24
1987 "Bog Eyed Jog"[51] 61
1988Spirit of Play with Paul McCartney"Children in Need"72
1989 BBC Children in Need Choir "If You Want To Help" 78
Bruno Brookes and Liz Kershaw featuring Jive Bunny and Londonbeat "It Takes Two"[52] 53
1990 Bruno and Liz and the Radio 1 DJ Possee "Let's Dance"[52] 54
1995Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen"You Better Believe It (Children in Need)"60
1996Red Hill Children"When Children Rule The World"40
1997Lou Reed and Various Artists"Perfect Day"1
1998Denise van Outen and Johnny Vaughan featuring Steps"Especially for You"3
1999Martine McCutcheon"Love Me"6
2000S Club 7"Never Had a Dream Come True"1
2001"Have You Ever"1
2002Will Young"Don't Let Me Down" / "You and I"2
2003Shane Richie"I'm Your Man"2
2004Girls Aloud"I'll Stand by You"1
2005Liberty X"A Night to Remember"6
2006Emma Bunton"Downtown"3
2007Spice Girls"Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)"11
2008McFly"Do Ya/Stay with Me"[53]18
2009Peter Kay's Animated All Star Band"The Official BBC Children in Need Medley"[54]1
2010JLS"Love You More"1
2011The Collective1[55][56]"Teardrop"24
2012Girls Aloud"Something New"[57]2
2013Ellie Goulding"How Long Will I Love You"[58]3
2014Gareth Malone's All Star Choir2"Wake Me Up"[59]1
2015Jess Glynne"Take Me Home"[60][61]6
2016Craig David"All We Needed"[62]42
2017Katie Melua"Fields of Gold"[63]29
2018 Jamie Cullum "Love Is In The Picture"[64] DNC
2019 Jodie Whittaker "Yellow"[65] DNC


^1 The Collective includes Gary Barlow,[55] Tulisa Contostavlos, Wretch 32, Ed Sheeran, Ms. Dynamite, Chipmunk, Mz Bratt, Dot Rotten, Labrinth, Rizzle Kicks and Tinchy Stryder.
^2 The All Star Choir includes Linda Robson, Jo Brand, Mel Giedroyc, Larry Lamb, Craig Revel Horwood, Alison Steadman, Alice Levine, John Craven, Fabrice Muamba, Margaret Alphonsi, Radzi Chinyanganya and Nitin Ganatra


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".[66][67]

In 2007, it was reported that presenter Terry Wogan 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. According to Wogan's account, 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 rather than from the Children in Need charity fund, had "never been negotiated", having instead increased in line with inflation.[68] Two days before the 2007 event, it was reported that Wogan had waived his compensation.[69]

There has been concern about the type of groups receiving funding from Children in Need. Writing in The Spectator, Ross Clark noted that 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 jilbāb. 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".[70]

A former BBC governor has revealed that Jimmy Savile was kept away from Children In Need in recent years though he was on the show in earlier years. Sir Roger Jones who was also chairman of the charity says he had suspicions about Jimmy Savile a decade ago before the news of Jimmy Savile's sexual abuse scandal came to public light in 2012. His comments came on the day an inquiry into whether the British Broadcasting Corporation's child protection and whistle-blowing policies are acceptable began.[71]

See also


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