TV Cream

TV: C is for...

Children in Need

"What ho - Wogan here. And look what the good old BBC has given me to get from Shepherd's Bush Green to Television Centre! Ee gads!" A pudgy freak full of air and bits of fucking fluff...and Pudsey Bear Forget BBC newsreaders dressed as gays and prostitutes - how about a spoof version of Poldark starring Simon Bates and Linda Lusardi?

ANNUAL TIN-RATTLE from Television Centre, once a reasonably entertaining celebrity drop-in centre affair, now a dreadful parade of promotional star turns and role swapping (“this year: Casualty *do* We Will Rock You; plus, the BBC newsreaders as you’ve *never* seen them before – since the last time!”). Actual campaign began on radio on Christmas Day 1927, then became a regular ten-minuter on a Sunday night telly, until ex-NATIONWIDE nabob Mark Patterson suggested turning it into a telethon and Bill Cotton dutifully cleared the schedules. The first televised moneyspinner found – naturally – Lord Wogan holding fort from, bizarrely, the Cunard Hotel, Hammersmith at what looked like a rudimentary garden party with groups of fellow personalities seated at numerous round metal tables regaling Terry and us with an anecdote, a song and a shenanigan or two. Something of a freewheeling fancy, all told, albeit with SUE LAWLEY and ESTHER RANTZEN on hand to talk about “why we’re really here tonight”. Early 80s efforts pretty much forgettable, although proceedings were shamelessly hijacked in 1983 by that three hour long special 20th anniversary episode of Dr Who with all the Doctors in it apart from the one who was dead and the one who couldn’t be arsed. Michael Grade had the idea of fashioning a whole night’s frivolity around the cause; somewhere along the way that horrendous kiddie-shrieking song was written – “We are the future/we are the seed/if you want to help/help Children In Need” – probably by Mike Batt or BA Robertson, subsequently adopted as the official CIN “theme”. Dr Who “trick” repeated a second time for the show’s 30th anniversary, this time by way of – of all things – an EastEnders crossover filmed in 3-D. Smell-O-Vision “themed” 1995 offering similarly stank. Will remain on the third Friday in November for evermore, or until Tel croaks it, whichever comes first.

Give over! At the BBC website >

Erk! It's Pudsey mk. 1



  1. Chris Jones

    November 22, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Yeah…it always made me raise an eyebrow the way the BBC newsreaders would don womens underwear seemingly at the drop of a hat.

    I bet thier Christmas parties are a hoot.

  2. Applemask

    November 22, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Who cares how good the show is?

  3. Adrian

    November 23, 2009 at 9:53 am

    “proceedings were shamelessly hijacked in 1983 by that three hour long special 20th anniversary episode of Dr Who with all the Doctors in it apart from the one who was dead and the one who couldn’t be arsed.”

    Sounds good to me, shame I missed it..

  4. Joanne Gray

    February 9, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Well, Sir Tel has now, sadly, “croaked it” and CIN still going strong – although the so-called “celebrities” taking part are 75{30e2395aaf6397fd02d2c79d91a1fe7cbb73158454674890018aee9c53a0cb96} comprised of those faceless, vacuous and interchangeable nobodies only known for appearing on dumbed down “talent” and reality shows.

  5. Matthew Harris

    February 9, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    “If You Want To Help” was commissioned in 1989 for the tenth anniversary of the telethon, or something, and was by someone called David Martin. In instrumental form as the theme tune to the telethon it was alright (certainly less aggravating than the ITV Telethon’s staccato hook, which must have been heard several hundred times over the 28 hours of broadcast)

  6. Tom Ronson

    September 30, 2020 at 9:20 pm

    Joanna Lumley stripping off in front of a bewildered Wogan whilst a relaxed Simon Cadell pissed himself laughing remains a ‘did you see that bit on Children in Need where…’ talking point for a certain generation, decades down the line.

  7. Glenn Aylett

    October 3, 2020 at 7:48 pm

    The ITV telethon, like the superior Children In Need, had its regional element and in my case was Border. I can remember them dropping into a local pub, not known for being very salubrious, and asking some young woman what she would love to have in life. ” Sex and more sex and Matt Goss off Bros,” was her reply to the embarrassed Border reporter, who sensing she was rather drunk, nervously cut back to the studio in Carlisle.

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