Children in Need

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BBC Children in Need is a British charity appeal. It is run by the BBC. It takes place every year in November. The appeal has raised over £500,000,000 since it started in 1980.

Overview[change | change source]

Children in Need has been given one evening on BBC One every year since 1980. Events aimed at raising money for charities working with children in the UK were shown. In 2007 over £39 million was raised. £19 million was raised on the programme. In 2008, nearly £22 million was raised on the night. The final total is still to be announced. The BBC also broadcast local fundraising events on the radio stations and regional television channels. The programme's mascot is called 'Pudsey', or 'Pudsey Bear'. It is a yellow teddy bear with a bandage over one eye. It was first seen in 1985. Pudsey and the Children in Need Logo were changed in 2007. Children in Need became a registered charity in 1989.

Most of the money raised by the appeal comes from people who may have raised it themselves by taking part in sponsored events. A popular event is to sit in a bath of baked beans. Lots of companies also donate money or benefits. In the past, HSBC have helped with banking and BT have helped with the donation call centres and phone lines. On the night of the seven-hour long television programme lots of celebrities appear to support the cause and ask for donations. Various performances are often given, including sketches and musical numbers. There are also featurettes that show what the money is used for. Celebrities that appear are from both the BBC's own programmes, and also from the rival ITV network. They often appear in character and on the sets of their own programmes. One of the most popular features has been a musical number by the BBC newsreaders. In 2006 they had a "James Bond" theme, and in 2008 it was a "Mamma Mia!" one. The stars of newly-opened West End musicals also perform songs from their shows later in the evening, after the 'curtain call' of the actual show performance for that evening. The total is also show on a screen about every hour. The presenters always accompany this with the phrase "every penny counts" to help to push the total beyond that of the previous year.

Most of the British public support Children in Need, but some have a different view. They say that showing children on television as victims, many of which are disabled, is unfortunate and counter-productive. Changes in society will be better for such children than money and sympathy.

Money that is given to Children in Need is used in lots of ways. When the appeal for the year closes, the money is given to organisations that help children that are at the age of 18 and under. The children that are helped often have mental, physical or sensory disabilities, or have behavioural or psychological disorders. Others live in poverty or deprivation, and some are living in distress, are sexually abused or just neglected.