Children in Need hits its 40th anniversary

Hosts of Children In Need 2020 programme include Stephen Mangan, Alex Scott MBE, Chris Ramsey and Mel GiedroycHosts of Children In Need 2020 programme include Stephen Mangan, Alex Scott MBE, Chris Ramsey and Mel Giedroyc
Hosts of Children In Need 2020 programme include Stephen Mangan, Alex Scott MBE, Chris Ramsey and Mel Giedroyc
Friday: Children in Need; (BBC One, from 7pm)

When you think of Children in Need, which host springs to mind?

Sir Terry Wogan, of course

The much-loved and much-missed DJ and presenter, who passed away in January 2016, was a massive part of Children in Need for over 35 years.

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After Terry retired from his role in 2015, his co-host Tess Daly soldiered on as one of the appeal show’s mainstays.

But now, after a decade at the helm, the 51-year-old Strictly Come Dancing host has also hung up her Pudsey ears and decided to step down.

Tess says: ”Pudsey and what he represents will always hold a special place in my heart but it’s time to pass the presenting baton over as the show reaches its amazing 40-year milestone.”

However, as one door closes another one opens, so to coincide with the appeal’s 40th anniversary, this year’s socially distanced entertainment extravaganza will be hosted by a new-look team.

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The returning Mel Giedroyc, will be joined by Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey and Stephen Mangan, who are all hosting Children in Need for the first time.

Former footballer and Strictly contestant Scott has been at the centre of much discussion recently, amid rumours she’s set to replace Sue Barker as host on A Question Of Sport.

However, for now, Alex is focusing on her new role at Children in Need.

“It has been a show which I have grown up with, so to be joining the presenting line-up is amazing,” she says.

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“I don’t think a little eight-year-old Alex watching at home all those years ago would have ever dreamed that one day she could be presenting it.”

Meanwhile, comedian Chris, 34, said he was shocked to be asked.

The star quipped: “When they asked me to be involved in the show I assumed I’d be dressed up as Pudsey or something but they actually want me to be on the presenting team.”

Finally, Green Wing actor Stephen, 52, added: “I could not be more honoured to be part of this year’s BBC Children In Need, especially during such difficult times.”

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From Strictly Come Dancing, to EastEnders and Doctor Who, the fundraising show will, as usual, be jam-packed with exclusive sketches, exciting performances, music, dance and a few surprises.

This year, it will feature the nation’s favourite PE teacher, Joe Wicks, who will be joined via Zoom by celebrity guests for his 24-Hour PE Challenge.

The Rickshaw Challenge, a staple of Children in Need for 10 years, is also returning, as Matt Baker and the team of six heroic young riders make their way to the finishing line after 332 miles around the Goodwood Estate.

Back in April, Children In Need and Comic Relief worked together to create The Big Night In at the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

They raised an incredible £67,110,010.

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And Simon Antrobus, BBC Children in Need’s Chief Executive, believes that raising money for disadvantaged children around the UK is now more important than ever as the charity celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“This year’s appeal has never been more needed than right here, right now,” he says

“It’s incredibly tough growing up in such uncertainty and for many children and young people already vulnerable or at risk, life during the pandemic has become even harder.”

So tune in, have fun, but most importantly, dig deep.

It’s why some of the biggest names have given up their time for the past four decades – and it’s what the late, great Sir Terry Wogan would have wanted.

A message from the Editor:

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