Published: Saturday 14th November 2015 by The News Editor
Children in Need looks set to beat last year’s appeal after an evening of entertainment across the BBC.
With an hour left of the BBC fundraising show, DJ Nick Grimshaw and Saturdays star Rochelle Humes revealed that the total had reached £31,266,390, only £1.4 million off 2014’s total of £32.6 million.
The telethon continued late into the night with performances by Selena Gomez and Years and Years and a special appeal by singer Sir Tom Jones.
Dermot O’Leary, who stepped in at the last minute to replace veteran presenter Sir Terry Wogan to host the first part of the evening, was roundly praised on Twitter for his hosting duties.
O’Leary said: “It’s been an absolute blast. Thank you so, so much. To Terry, I hope you’re feeling better, I hope we get to enjoy a drop of the pure very soon and we’re all doing you justice here,” he said.
Sir Terry was forced to pull out at the last minute due to health issues.
Viewer Kirsty Hyndes wrote: “Dermot doing a fantastic job tonight with everyone else. Genuine emotion. Amazing results so far! Well done. #donatenow”.
Linda Batt posted: “Brilliant job Dermot filling in for the Wogan …keep going. ..great night as ever.”
Taking over on BBC Two from 10pm was EastEnders actor Shane Richie who celebrated the show’s fundraising efforts with his guests at the Old Vic, including singers Peter Andre, Jess Glynne and Girls Aloud’s Nadine Coyle.
The star-studded night began with a video presented by One Direction, Sir Tom Jones and Dame Helen Mirren to thank the public for the £32.6 million donated last year that has helped benefit 500,000 children in the UK in 2,500 projects.
Ellie Goulding performed her new single Army, the first time it has been seen on TV.
Bonnie Langford stole the show as the EastEnders cast performed a high kick-filled routine to songs from the musical Top Hat.
Richie, who plays landlord Alfie Moon, led the action from the Queen Vic to live in the studio where nearly 30 cast members performed to Putting on the Ritz.
Langford, 51, dazzled in a red short-cut dress as she was spun around by her co-stars before leading a tap dance.
Back in the Queen Vic, punters were treated to a teaser of Peter Andre’s swing version of his hit Mysterious Girl.
In the studio and in halls across the UK, the singing continued as 1,661 children joined together for a rousing rendition of Miley Cyrus’s song as part of the Children in Need’s Children’s Choir.
Call the Midwife star Laura Main and Brendan Cole were crowned the Children In Need Strictly Come Dancing winners 2015.
Main, who plays Shelagh Turner on the BBC One hit show, beat her on-screen husband Stephen McGann and co-stars Jenny Agutter and Jack Ashton to bag the Pudsey-shaped glitterball trophy.
Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess Daly was reunited with Sir Bruce Forsyth for only the second time since he hung up his black tie in April last year and the pair presented the prize to a delighted Main.
“I feel great. It was such a group effort and we’ve had so much fun doing it,” she said.
Agutter and McGann partnered with professionals Ian Waite and Joanne Clifton to dance to Moon River, while Ashton and partner Oti Mabuse joined Main for a performance to Tutti Frutti.
Judge Craig Revel Horwood praised Main and Cole’s routine as “clean, sharp and exciting”.
Despite being for charity, Revel Horwood didn’t rein in his acid-tongue when it came to the other competitors, comparing McGann to the Hunchback of Notre Dame and blasting Ashton as “kicking and flicking a little bit like a rugby player”.
New Star Wars droid BB-8 revealed that Children in Need has raised £15,171,304 in the first totaliser of the night.
Despite having to pull out of hosting duties, Sir Terry made an appearance as Jedi Master Wogan as he set Warwick Davis, C-3PO and R2-D2 on their quest to find a super-fan in a Star Wars inspired sketch.
Heading through the BBC studios, the trio first came upon Lewis Hamilton who offered to drive them to the destination in exchange for pressing the button.
Martin Freeman and Davis then went head-to-head in a battle of the best Yoda impression, before brief cameos from Danny Dyer, will.i.am and Tom Daley.
Lord Sugar, flanked by two stormtroopers, misunderstood the term “super fan” and tried to flog the trio some knock-off windmakers, while a hologram Stephen Merchant made his case.
Proving their devotion, Barbara Windsor dressed up as Chewbacca and Great British Bake Off presenters Mel and Sue knocked up a Battenberg Millennium Falcon, minus cockpit, to win them over.
But it was BB-8, a new droid in the forthcoming film Star Wars: The Force Awakens who was selected to reveal the total, with Fearne Cotton pressing the big red button.
The total comes as BBC Radio 2 said that live auctions, text-in competitions and fundraising events had helped them raise £5,715,167.57 alone for the charity night.
The One Show Rickshaw Challenge riders pulled each other into a group hug as they discovered their gruelling 470-mile journey had raised £3,468,378.
The youngsters, including those with Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy, have all been supported by Children in Need-funded projects.
They started off on Friday November 6 from Land’s End in Cornwall and have worked their way across England to the East End studio, arriving during the live show.
One Show presenter Matt Baker, who travelled with them, told the group, “You deserve every single penny of that,” as they celebrated their phenomenal fundraising efforts.
George Dixon, 17, who lost his father in a cycling accident in 2012 and was supported a bereavement counselling group from the The Woking & Sam Beare Hospices, said: “It’s been the time of my life, I’ve met such an amazing group of people and tomorrow I’m going to miss it so much.”
Beyond the studio, Scott Mills completed his “awful” abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park.
The BBC Radio 1 DJ made the descent down the 376ft scultpure for BBC Children in Need after the original location of Blackpool Tower was called off due to bad weather conditions.
Mills made no secret of his fear of heights and speaking after the abseil said: “(It was) awful, the worst, but I’ve done it. I’ve never felt so relieved in my life.”
Urging viewers to give generously, Mills joked that the drop was worse than Strictly Come Dancing where he was known for his poor footwork.
Published: Saturday 14th November 2015 by The News Editor