BBC’s Children in Need raises £20m-plus in face of controversy

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THE BBC’s annual Children in Need appeal total reached around £20 million at midnight last night, against the backdrop of the ongoing scandal caused by the Jimmy Savile paedophilia revelations.

The show featured the likes of Fearne Cotton, Tess Daly and Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw in a push to match last year’s record on-the-night total of £26 million.

Although £3,645,530 had already been pledged ahead of last night’s show, there were fears over whether the annual fundraising extravaganza would be affected by revelations surrounding the late BBC star’s predatory sexual behaviour towards children.

David Ramsden, BBC Children in Need chief executive, had pledged that this year’s campaign would be “bigger and better than ever.”

Host Sir Terry Wogan made reference to the controversy at the start of the show, though he did not name Savile. “We know that children are vulnerable,” he said. “In news in recent weeks, there has been an awful reminder of just how true that can be. We have been supporting … victims all of all kinds of abuse, including sexual abuse, for many years now. We will continue to do so.”

The charity has been relatively untouched by the scandal after it made a conscious decision not include Savile in its work. Former Children In Need chairman Sir Roger Jones described him as a “pretty creepy sort of character” who they had not wanted near the charity.