On Friday 13 November Children In Need will hit our screens for the 40th time. To celebrate this special anniversary, presenter Ade Adepitan MBE, is our guide on this funny, poignant and revealing numerical tour across four fabulous decades of the charity’s history.
As Ade explains, Children in Need: 40 Fabulous Years is “not a countdown – Number 1 is no better than Number 40” – but it is an assortment of bite-sized snapshots of one of the most unpredictable nights in the TV calendar.
From newscasters channelling their inner Beyonce to the less familiar but equally eye-popping ‘stripping-for-money’ routines which peppered the decades, this charity night was never short of invention.
Over the decades, it has been populated by the most extraordinary array of talent: who could forget Eddie Redmayne’s star-studded search for Pudsey or that clash of the Titans between Peggy Mitchell and Lauren? Often worlds collided unexpectedly as in the unforgettable Weatherfield/Walford sketch, or when Jon Culshaw managed to sound more like Tony Blair than Blair himself.
And at the heart of it all were two key elements: the late, and much-lamented Sir Terry Wogan, and the children he, and so many others, laid down their egos to help. As Ade attests, Children in Need can and does change lives (the charity even changed the course of his 12-year-old self by helping to fund his first sports wheelchair, an intervention which sent him on the road to Paralympic Gold).
Featuring plenty of behind-the-scenes gossip from the wonderfully committed talent who have come together for Children in Need over the years (Tess Daly reveals the queasy truth behind her prize-winning dance routine, while Dizzee Rascal relives the night he duetted with a legend and Ronan Keating recalls being trussed up like a turkey), Children In Need: 40 Fabulous Years is a tribute to a great British institution with a big heart.
Children In Need: 40 Fabulous Years, BBC One at 8pm