From a naked celebrity chef to newsreader dance offs, Children in Need has always been good TV. More importantly though, it has raised over £600 million since its birth in 1980 which is, quite frankly, a staggering, life changing, society changing amount of money!
But it hasn’t always been that big. Way back in 1927, the BBC first aired a charity appeal on Christmas Day in the form of a five minute radio broadcast. It raised a modest £1,143 (about £27,150 in today’s money) and the money was donated to four children’s charities in the UK.
The first televised appeal took place in 1955, again on Christmas Day, and was called the Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal with Sooty, the nation’s second favourite yellow bear, fronting the show. These Christmas appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979 and in 1980 the BBC held its first telethon and the modern day Children in Need was born. Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen co-presented with the wonderful Terry Wogan who presented every Children in Need since and was Life President of the charity until he sadly passed away in January 2016.
Funnily enough, Pudsey Bear didn’t become the mascot until 1985. He was designed by BBC graphic designer Joanna Ball and named after her hometown of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, where her grandfather was mayor. The much loved, one eyed, yellow bear has become a permanent fixture and Children in Need just wouldn’t be the same without him.
The official Children in Need single has become an important part of the show with some stand out classics like the Girls Aloud version of The Pretenders emotional song, Stand by Me, and some memorable videos like Peter Kaye’s Animated All Star Band featuring the likes of Bagpuss, Fireman Sam, Bob the builder and a host of old school animated stars, all together, singing and dancing their little animated heads off.
But it hasn’t always been that way - Clannad recorded the first official single, called Almost Seems, which charted at no. 80 and the official songs over the next two years didn’t even chart! Remember The County Line? No, us neither! But who could possibly forget Patsy Palmer and Sid Owen singing You Better Believe it in 1995? You did? Oh!
But that all changed in 1997 when Lou Reed and a variety of huge artists of the era released Perfect Day. One of the most successful Children in Need songs ever, Perfect Day reached number 1 in the charts for three weeks, contributing £2,125,000 to Children in Need. By November 2012 it had sold 1.55 million copies.
What will you be doing to raise funds for Children in Need this year? If you’re undecided then here’s some ideas.
Our personal favourite. Who says they only have to be worn in bed or on the sofa! Get everyone in your workplace or school to dress in their PJs or onesie for the day for a small donation each.
Do you know a chatterbox? Or perhaps the chatterbox is you! Well I’m sure fellow pupils or colleagues will give generously for an afternoon of peace and quiet!
Eyes down for a full house of spots! You can download your Children in Need printed Bingo Cards here.
Put your friends and colleagues under the spotlight and discover their hidden talents, whether it's karaoke, dancing or even a magic act!
Are you or someone you know a serial scroller? Give up your technology and do a sponsored tech detox!