Aunty Beeb’s Children in Need extravaganza

Friday:Children in Need; (BBC1, 7pm)

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 5:00 pm

This year, Aunty Beeb’s annual extravaganza will be broadcast from the UK’s biggest multi-camera purpose-built TV studio and, like A Question of Sport, Dragons’ Den, Match of the Day, University Challenge, BBC Breakfast and Blue Peter, will call Salford home from now on.

There’s been plenty to whet our appetites before we get to the main event, including The Great Rickshaw Relay Challenge, which is now in its 11th year, and a DIY SOS BBC Children in Need Special that headed to Hull to support a very special project.

The One Show’s Alex Jones, Ronan Keating and Jermaine Jenas have been following The Surprise Squad of Ore, Joseph, Nathan, Roisin and Dylan, as they travel around the country to complete surprise challenges for BBC Children in Need-funded projects that are in need of a little help with something: from creating a secret garden for a children’s hospice, to organising a much needed community fundraising event.

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Alex Scott, Mel Giedroyc, Graham Norton, Ade Adepitan and Chris Ramsey

On the big day itself, the BBC weatherman Owain Wyn Evans, has accepted the challenge to drum constantly for 24 hours.

Musicians from around the country will spur him on: Mark Richardson, drummer from Skunk Anansie and Feeder will support Owain, and help rally the troops to play with him, while Al Murray, Nicko McBrain and Dame Evelyn Glennie will all take part to inspire him to keep going until the very end.

As for this year’s extravaganza, there will be famous faces aplenty, special editions of some of our favourite shows, epic musical interludes and enough comedy to have us wiping away the tears all evening.

But threaded in among the jollity will be the real reason we’re being asked to dig deep and donate as much as we can to this excellent cause.

As part of this year’s appeal efforts, celebrities including Ade Adepitan, Giovanna Fletcher, Ella Henderson, Professor Green, Lady Leshurr, Nikki Lilly and Joe Wicks came together to share their powerful, personal experiences of issues such as mental health, poverty, disability and bereavement in a series of videos.

They aim to show children and young people facing disadvantage that they’re not alone and give them hope that things can get better, particularly amid the struggles and strains of Covid.

Ade Adepitan reflected on living with a disability and how support from BBC Children in Need made a difference to his childhood after the charity put money towards one of his first basketball wheelchairs.

“I probably wouldn’t have achieved half the things that I’ve done in my life if it wasn’t for that chair and if it wasn’t for BBC Children in Need. Together, we can help more children and young people across the UK realise their dreams.”

BBC Children in Need’s Chief Executive, Simon Antrobus said: “As a charity, we want to ensure no child feels alone and that every child is supported to thrive and be the best they can be.

“We hope our supporters unite once again to show children and young people that there is hope, and that despite the challenges they may be facing, we will be right behind them. Together, we really can change young lives and bring hope for the future.”

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