The European Politics Blog

BBC Children in Need

Last night BBC One (and BBC Two) hosted the charity appeal night for BBC Children in Need. The show kicked off at the Old Vic pub, with some special cast members off Eastenders, boyband supergroup, McFly and their new partner in crime, Busted. A mini pub quiz ensued, with the prize being a titanic golden Shane Richie hamper. Knowledge was tested on questions such as the “year One Direction appeared in The X Factor finals?”…anyone? Don’t beat yourself up about it if you don’t know yet because it proved to be a really difficult response for the guests to get right as well, but in the end an old chap off the team that won the hamper, South Caroline, got it right – that’s 2010 by the way!

Sir Terry Wogan, Fearne Cotton, Tess Daly, Zoe Ball and Nick Grimshaw hosted the glittering, magical and sparkling fundraiser, kicking off the show with a madcap & the ability “to take you in your throes” dance performance by a specially selected dance troupe by the BBC. Royal Shakespeare Company’s award-winning Broadway production, Matilda, brought its West End charm right to the TV screens of every British home, with an exclusive medley of songs. The theme was largely school-classroom based, with the highlight being the performance of a school teacher and her students, at times dancing around on push-pedal scooters.

There were many moving presentations of the difference Children in Need makes to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the United Kingdom, throughout the night, with the pop-up button of how to donate to all of the worthwhile causes the charitable organisation supports, being ever present. And it was a good thing that so much effort was being put into publicising the fundraiser, as underhanded as it might seem to some, because the entire night pulled in £31 mn, on-the-night, breaking its last year previous record of £26 mn.

And its no surprise to see why…

Steven Gerrard divulged in his rarely exhibited “soft side” to present bakesales, sponsored silences, walks with dinosaurs, the whole works basically, that have been taking place across the country, in an effort to raise money for BBC Children in Need. Luis Suarez was there too lending him a hand. It was a rather emotional moment for many to watch football stars doing their bit for young children, and it didn’t just stop right there. Elsewhere Welsh giants Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey donned a pair of Pudsey Bear ears each, looking mighty attractive in the process, to mark their support for the charity appeal.

JLS, the boyband that has been on everybody’s lips this year for all their drama – breakup, makeup, makeup concerts, makeup albums, breakup albums, breakup concerts (also known as solo artist records and solo concerts, respectively), very graciously did their part for BBC Children in Need too.

JLS got back together, for a couple of hours at least, exclusively for the fundraiser and performed a series of their greatest hits, like their first single “Beat Again”, in Albert Square – quite befitting of an arena for a televised comeback for this ultra-popular boyband off The X Factor, don’t you think? And that wasn’t all, the pop group also took part in a Battle of the Boybands, with McFly, later on in the show.

Meanwhile, Pudsey Bear had a ball of a time on the ice rink, with Beefeaters from the Tower of London, introducing some of the mini-fundraisers that have been taking place, from a polar-bear costume walk which raised £1800, to a recycled scrap cars venture. All fundraising heroes, for every bit that you do, big or small, makes a difference to the lives of young children who need your help and support to cope with all the difficulties life throws at them.

For lovers of all things Doctor Who, there was a special clip from the 50th anniversary episode, titled “The Day of the Doctor by Steven Moffat”, which to the sheer delight of fans, was a small preview of what’s to come – the show returns on 23 November, so mark your calendars to not miss out on a single moment.

Next up, was an introduction by McFly to more fundraising heroes and the very special Eastenders dance, followed by a Strictly Come Dancing special of Olympic performers entirely – the winning pair was British ice dancers and Olympic medallists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, taking to the ballroom dance floor, gracefully, all in the name of charity, and ending up winning the Children in Need trophy.

A special skit of Room 101 then came up with three young kids as participants, 2 boys and 1 girl. The first contestant, Alesandro, plays badminton and placed brushing his teeth, in Room 101. The second contestant is the regional champion in swimming in his age-group, in Wales, Gruff, and the winner of the Room 101 challenge; he placed the number of girls that are not interested in going out with him in Room 101. The third contestant was Tess, with a special talent in burping contests, which she actually proceeded to demonstrate during the show; she placed parents attempting to appear cool in Room 101.

One Direction, one of the star-acts of the night, performed their latest single “Best Song Ever” for the first time on television. After the performance, Harry Styles attributed his interest in getting involved with BBC Children in Need to having grown up watching the show, while Liam Payne introduced some more touching slides of disadvantaged children across the United Kingdom that consistently depend on the support the BBC Children in Need provides to them.

Then the much awaited special Eastenders dance broke out: it was so special that at times it made no sense and seemed utterly confused, like when the stars came out wearing bedazzled harem costumes and started to dance in Middle Eastern-inspired dance moves, but everyone labelled it as exotic dance moves from India.

Nonetheless, the performance was varied, and served fresh to the sounds of Daft Punk’s latest hit, “Get Lucky”. Taking a break from all the soap’s drama, the dance performance was choreographed in a 1920s style, all decked out in suits, ties and flapper dresses, but the scene soon changed to a street dance ensemble in an instant, and try to keep up because before you know it there’s American Jazz, Tango, Copacabana all meshed into one dance routine, before abruptly ending on a random dance medley note, which was hilarious, particularly because there was no routine to it at all. Stars who performed included: Fellow Brannings, David Witts and Jasmyn Banks.

Call the Midwife, a Yuletide special, saw the release of a brand new single for the night titled “When I Fall in Love”. Performed to well-choreographed romantic dance moves, it was all about old glamour fused with the singularity of elegance and charm the show is famous for. The single is now available for download in iTunes, so make sure to grab a copy yourself, because not only would you be doing your musical palette a favour, all proceeds go to BBC Children in Need, so its all for a good cause and of course in good and true British spirit.

More One Direction. This time given the reins of the pub, the Old Vic. An opportunity many would kill for as demonstrated by the enthusiasm amongst all of the gliteratti of the British music industry, earlier on in the night. But it wasn’t all about bubblegum pop throughout the night though because Rizzle Kicks performed their “Mama Do The Hump” single, and their dance performance was by far the most creative and the best of the entire night. Other music stars performing was Tinie Tempah, John Martin, Dido, Wet Wet Wet, with the famous Irish twins, Jedward, making a random appearance, as well as Monty Python, attempting to inject (and to an extent succeeding) some humour, in musical-form.

The eclectic comic lineup didn’t just stop there. Harry Hill appeared in a cartoon sketch of A-ha’s “Take on Me” – a battle ensued in the video with those folks known for their great culinary skills, The Hairy Bikers over a large, and quite overburnt sausage. Other guest stars were Sophie Raworth, Nick Hewer and Richard Madelay.

Now, for the poptastic moment that everyone was looking forward to throughout the show: McFly. Over the last few weeks only one news story has dominated the British press as far as BBC Children in Need concerned – no its not the rickshaw challenge completed by The One Show’s Aled Jones. And it was quite unfairly so too, because it was the anticipated pairing of current hot boyband McFly with the lesser-known garage pop group Busted. The two pop groups were to join forces and one of the rare number of stages it was to grace their presence included that of the BBC Children in Need’s as well.

To the excitement and (distate of others) it did happen so last night, and so if you thought the bands were satisfied with just signing up for a 2014 tour together, you were, well, wrong. Storming the stage with their badly-keyed in performances of hits such as “Year 3000” and “Shine A Light”, it was a good idea to have had paired them with the sometimes, equally off-key (especially when there were complicated dance moves involved) JLS, in the much looked-forward to “Battle of the Boybands” to balance out the damage of the magic of the night; JLS won the contest.

McFly also presented some moving moments of support provided by Children in Need to many kids and families living in dire conditions, with real-life issues of families sleeping on couches, unable to get a good nights sleep in years due to being allocated broken or uncomfortable beds, pulling at the heartstrings of many.

The night drew to an end with the airing of a special Hoby City+ episode, the announcement of a CountryFile calendar made with the help of winning entries sent in from across the nation, also now available for purchase, and Greg James and Russell Kane waging a lip-sync war. Greg James gave a very cool performance to Circle of Life from The Lion King, and won the contest.

Despite the global appeals for shelving a portion of the money collected collected for aid in Philippines, a spokeswoman for the charity stated that all of the money raised were to strictly be earmarked for projects working with children in the United Kingdom. that were handpicked to support, nurture and grow, because many families and their children counted on them for the support that BBC Children in Need regularly provides to them.

Remember that you can continue to donate to BBC Children in Need throughout the year, so do a Tesco “Every little helps!” and always contribute in helping young children and families in the United Kingdom!

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