Children in Need hope to beat last year’s record

Still Game stars with Pudsey Bear. Pictures: BBC
Still Game stars with Pudsey Bear. Pictures: BBC
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THE organisers of the Children In Need appeal were hopeful of beating last year’s record-breaking total with the help of a host of stars including One Direction, Sir Bruce Forsyth and the EastEnders cast.

Veteran host Sir Terry Wogan shared the presenting duties last night, with Tess Daly, Fearne Cotton, Nick Grimshaw and Rochelle Humes from 7:30pm with the show running until 2am.

Among the highlights were One Direction performing live in Albert Square and one of Walford’s longest-serving residents, Ian Beale having a haunting reunion with some of the women in his life.

Newly reunited S Club 7, ­Cheryl Fernandez-Versini, formerly Cole, and Susan Boyle also performed and a new Tom and Jerry cartoon featuring Sir Terry himself was aired.

Gareth Malone and his All-Star Choir, starring amongst others Jo Brand, The Great British Bake Off’s Mel Giedroyc and Strictly Come Dancing’s Craig Revel-Horwood performed the charity’s official single and there was a special episode of Strictly.

Last year’s show ended with Sir Terry unveiling a record-breaking total of £31 million.

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He said: “It was my privilege to present the very first Children In Need in 1980 and over the years it has truly become the British public’s charity.

“Their extraordinary generosity has meant that their donations of over £740m have made a real difference to the lives of this country’s disadvantaged children and young people.

“It’s an honour and pleasure to be part of a great charity and I am looking forward to presenting an evening full of entertainment with the usual suspects, Tess, Fearne, Nick and our new host Rochelle.”

Jackie Bird presented live throughout the night from BBC Scotland’s Glasgow studios and highlights included a choir of 140 children from schools across Fife performing with hundreds of others across the country.

The pupils took part in a UK-wide rendition of I’ll Stand By You, with a special version of Make Your Own Kind of Music aired exclusively in Scotland.

Performing together for the first time, members of Nae ­Direction included Jackie Bird, River City’s Tom Urie and Scott Fletcher, Radio Scotland’s John Beattie, weather forecaster Judith Ralston and actress Katrina Bryan. Tonight’s highlights show on BBC 1 will feature an exclusive Still Game sketch starring some of the soap’s most popular ­characters.

Last year’s Children in Need raised more than £2.3m in Scotland alone, with a record-breaking UK total of £31m.

Listeners to Radio 2 had ­already donated more than £6m for this year’s Children In Need appeal, the broadcaster said as the annual TV extravaganza got under way.

Radio 2 said it had received £6,186,178 through a series of events before last night’s broadcast started.

These included a PopMaster quiz night hosted by Ken Bruce in Salford, a star-studded Children in Need gala lunch hosted by Sir Terry Wogan, and a gala performance of the hit West End musical Matilda.

The Chris Evans Breakfast Show carried out live auctions across the week with offers such as a “Go Mad in Monaco” trip and a “Festive Foodie Package”.

Scottish businessman Sir Tom Hunter donated £1m to the show’s funds while Radio 2 offered listeners the chance to become DJs for the day by pledging money to play records. .

DJ Chris Evans said: “We are all blown away by the amazing generosity of our listeners. Whether it was £2.50 for a go at our text competition or £25,000 and more for one of our bigger auction prizes they just kept on giving.”

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