Children in Need: Audience-free show raises £37m

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Children in Need highlights: Joe Wicks and Murray v Crouch at paddle tennis

Pudsey Bear returned with a host of celebrities on Friday night for the 40th anniversary of the BBC's fundraiser Children in Need.

More than £37m had been raised by the end of the programme on Friday evening.

This year's show was shorter and had no audience, due to Covid-19, but there were still plenty of treats in store.

Peter Crouch and Andy Murray went head-to-head in a game of Paddle Tennis, and an all-star cast covered Oasis's Stop Crying Your Heart Out.

One of four hosts of Friday night's live show, Mel Giedroyc, thanked viewers for supporting the fundraiser.

"Children In Need has been going for an astonishing 40 years and we have only been able to do so because of you," she said.

"Despite the challenges that we have come up against this year, and will continue to face while this pandemic plays out, we are strong because the hearts of the people who keep these projects alive are strong."

The charity Oasis single features Cher, Kylie, Bryan Adams, Robbie Williams, Nile Rodgers, Gregory Porter, Lenny Kravitz, Paloma Faith, Ava Max and Jess Glynne.

Image source, Getty Images
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Kylie Minogue, Cher and KSI all appear on the charity song

It got its first airing on The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2.

"Children in Need is such a special charity and so loved by everyone, including me," said Kylie.

"It was a privilege to take part in this recording with so many amazing artists."

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Earlier in the day, Joe Wicks completed his 24-hour workout challenge for Children in Need.

He was joined by stars including Louis Theroux, Melanie C, Sam Smith and Dame Kelly Holmes as he completed a range of activities, from cycling to yoga, boxing to rowing and his signature high intensity workouts.

Appearing on the live show, Wicks - who was presented with a gold Blue Peter badge - described it as "the longest day and night of my life".

"My body aches, my bum, my feet, everything, but I'm so proud of what we have done," he said.

"We have come together, people have been so kind and generous, and raised so much money through that challenge."

It was announced that his workout marathon had raised £2,108,229 for the charity.

Media caption,
Joe Wicks said he felt "so buzzed" and "full of adrenaline"

A special edition of DIY SOS, which saw a group of volunteers build a new, all-inclusive surf school in Swansea, has also raised £844,000 after being screened on BBC One on Thursday.

Host Nick Knowles wiped away tears when he was informed of the total on the BBC's Morning Live on Friday.

"It's a big deal," said the presenter. "We understand that times are tough, Covid times are tough and people are worried about their finances and we were up against the football, all those things."

He added the total had been expected to be "not as massive as normal times".

In fact, it was the highest sum ever raised by the show's annual Children in Need episode.

'Incredibly challenging times'

The main Children In Need show kicked off at 19:00 GMT on BBC One, hosted live in London by Mel Giedroyc, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey and Stephen Mangan.

Ahead of the show Giedroyc told BBC News the format was "a bit stripped back" but that as for the vibe, the famous faces and comedy elements, "nothing has really changed".

The telethon, which raises money for disadvantaged children in the UK, raised an "on the night" total of £47.9m last year.

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The show also included a special clip from the Doctor Who team, while TV presenter Emma Willis has narrated Life in Lockdown - a film showing youngsters living through difficult circumstances during the coronavirus pandemic.

The feature follows research commissioned by the charity, which found that 94% of children and young people have had cause to feel worried, sad or anxious in the last six months.

"The current pandemic has affected all of our lives, but some families have additional and complex needs and challenges outside of Covid-19," said Willis.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Emma Willis will narrate the film, Life In Lockdown

"Being part of this documentary, I was able to see just how vital BBC Children in Need's funds are to families across the UK in times of crisis

"People are facing incredibly challenging times, but I hope the public tune in and donate if they can to a much-needed cause."

Children in Need was on BBC One on Friday from 19:00 to 22:00 GMT. Catch up on iPlayer.

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