Each year since 1980, the BBC has set aside one evening of programming on its flagship television channel, BBC One, to show events aimed at raising money for charities working with children in the UK. BBC coverage also extends across the BBC's other television channels and national and local radio channels. A mascot called 'Pudsey', a teddy bear with a bandage over one eye, was introduced in 1985 and has become a regular feature. In 2007 Pudsey and the Children in Need logo were redesigned. Children in Need was registered as a charity in 1989.
The appeal gains the majority of its money from donations of private individuals who may themselves have raised the funds by taking part in sponsored events. Sponsored sitting in a bath of baked beans is a perennial favourite. Companies also donate either money directly or benefits in kind, such as HSBC donating banking facilities, and BT donating telephone lines and operatives. On the night of the televised appeal, donations are solicited by celebrities appearing on the seven-hour long programme performing various activities such as sketches or musical numbers, intermixed with featurettes showing what the money will be used for. Featured celebrities often include those from programmes on the BBC's rival ITV network, including some appearing in-character, and/or from the sets of their own programmes. A sketch by BBC newsreaders has become an annual fixture (in recent years, Queen's 'Bohemian Rhapsody' in 2005 and a 'James Bond' theme in 2006). 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. The total raised so far 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.
Though 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.
The money contributed to Children in Need is distributed to organisations supporting children aged 18 and under who have mental, physical or sensory disabilities; behavioural or psychological disorders; are living in poverty or situations of deprivation; or suffering through distress, abuse or neglect.
One charity that has had concern over some CIN grants has been Family & Youth Concern -
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 right up until 1979, with stars such as Terry Hall, Eamonn Andrews, Leslie Crowther and Michael Aspel. 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.
The first BBC "telethon" event—a single programme lasting a whole evening devoted to raising money—was held in 1980. 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.
The 2003 event took place in November, raising £15 million on the night and £30 million when all donations were collected. It was once again hosted by Terry Wogan, who has become firmly associated with the annual event, and Gaby Roslin. The 2004 appeal was held on 19 November and billed as Children in Need's 25th anniversary "celebrating 25 years of fun and fundraising". £17m was raised on the night. The 2005 appeal was hosted by Terry Wogan, Fearne Cotton and Natasha Kaplinsky, and included special performances from David Tennant and Billie Piper, stars of Doctor Who. This event just beat the 2004 total when it raised £17,235,256.
Prior to the start of the Telethon, BBC Radio 2 hosts 4 days of fund-raising for Children In Need. Auctions are held during Terry Wogan's radio show (originally, these were also on many of the other presenters' shows). 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 one million pounds. In 2006, the music marathon was 13 hours long , and the cumulative total raised by Radio 2 listeners was over two million pounds .
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 which is 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" compromise a much larger and distinct audience of the BBC, compared to the English regions. Usually BBC Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hands back to network coverage from around 1:00am in the telethon night.
Many pop music stars collaborate with Children In Need and sing in the telethon event. Recent contributors include Madonna, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Blue, Kylie Minogue, Spice Girls, Liberty X, Ronan Keating, Robbie Williams, McFly, Take That, Girls Aloud, Elliot Minor, Westlife, Keane, Boyzone, Leona Lewis, Sugababes, Joss Stone and The Feeling.
BBC Children in Need became a registered charity in 1989. Its registered charity number is 802052.
Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group announced on 27 June 2007 that it would donate all receipts from two special performances of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat's revived West End production to Children in Need, which would benefit from ticket sales for 16 July’s booked-out preview and the sold-out 16 November performance, the night of the telethon. Cast members, the group added, would not get the usual first night gifts on 17 July – the money would, instead go to Children in Need
The 2008 Children in need night will occur on Friday, November 14.
|1985||Clannad||Almost Seems (Too Late To Turn)||DNC|
|1986||Suzi Quatro with Bronski Beat & Various Artists||Heroes||DNC|
|1997||Lou Reed & Various Artists||Perfect Day||1|
|1998||Denise Van Outen & 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|
|2007||Spice Girls||Headlines (Friendship Never Ends)||11|