From a cuddly bear to a national treasure, the story of Pudsey Bear begins here.
Children in Need is back this Friday 17 November featuring an exciting all-star line-up, joining forces with the audience to raise money and change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The charity has been around since 1972 and first started in the form of a five-minute radio broadcast on Christmas Day to raise awareness. Today, its annual telethon is bringing the nation together for a beautiful cause.
This is the second year since the passing of the beloved presenter, Sir Terry Wogan, the man who brought smiles on the faces of millions of people in the UK since the show was first broadcast in 1980.
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Just as iconic for the charity as Mr. Wogan was, is the yellow bear, Pudsey that has become a comfort to children since his appearance in 1985 and has become a national treasure and continues to represent the charitable cause. When Joanna Lane was given the brief to revamp the charity's monochrome logo she envisioned something bigger; she wanted to create a character that would not only become the image of the charity, but also a friend to millions of disadvantaged children.
"It was never on the agenda to have a mascot, I just had this vision from day one that this is what it needed to be to reach people."
After hours of brainstorming, the ‘aha’, lightbulb moment came in the shape of a cuddly bear - after all, what else would appeal more to children than a fluffy bear that takes away all your troubles?
At this point, Joanna Lane started to franticly search the BBC building for a teddy bear, eventually finding one in the studio props department. The only issue, the bear was almost as big as herself and proved to be a challenge to carry back to her office. With great effort and determination, the bear was finally in the office and ready to become the muse for Ms. Lane.
The first prototypes of the bear were a bit different from today’s bright yellow toy, with brown fur, a massive BBC logo on the front and a red spotted bandage. After the first designs were finished, all that was left was to give the bear an identity. The name Pudsey came naturally to Ms. Lane who grew up in a town with the same name located near Leeds.
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The year of 1985 is when Sir Terry Wogan introduced the new, brown cuddly mascot to the audience. The toy returned as the campaign’s official logo the following year after it proved to be popular with the public. This is when a new design was introduced, with brighter colours to make it more appealing to children. Over a few decades, Pudsey’s fur turned yellow and his red spotted bandage was upgraded to the multi-coloured one we know today.
A new friend of Pudsey was introduced in 2009, known as Blush, another fellow bear to help encourage Brits to raise as many pounds as possible for this amazing cause.
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So how can you donate to Children in Need?
If you would like to bring a Pudsey bear to your home and if you would like to help support the charity and the disadvantaged children and young people, you can do so by donating online. The Children in Need merchandise store offers a range of accessories, t-shirts and Pudsey bears to choose from that costs anything from £1 for a Blush Glitter Ping Badge, to £45 for the Giant Signature Pudsey Bear.
This year’s show music single is a stunning version of "Fields of Gold" performed by Katie Melua which was originally written and recorded by Sting; a personal favourite from Children in Need’s very own presenter veteran, Terry Wogan.
Mel Giedroyc, from The Great British Bake Off star, will join wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan, comedian Graham Norton, Strictly Come Dancing's Tess Daly, and husband and wife Rochelle and Marvin Humes as the presenters of this year’s show.
A beautiful surprise comes from author Rachel Pudsey as she will donate all book sale profits made from October 7, 2017 until November 18, 2017 for her books The Watcher of the Night Sky and The Faelti to the charity. Rachel Pudsey has commented:
“I always want to do my part to help Children in Need. It feels appropriate, considering my name. I would like to thank everyone that supports me and Children in Need. I hope that by doing this I can raise lots of money for BBC Children in Need.”
The full details of the performances scheduled for the night is yet to be released by the BBC but Rita Ora, The Vamps, Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson are said to be some of the artists performing. Doctor Who fans will be spoiled with a sneak peak of the show’s Christmas special, while EastEnders will turn into WestEnders as the stars sing their way around Albert Square with some classical musical numbers.
The show is spectacular and an entertainment for all ages. It teaches empathy and compassion to not only children but adults as well. Furthermore, it brings light over the everyday struggles of living with disability or illness, with the goal of creating a better life and sense of community for disadvantaged children and young people.
Last year the charity raised an astonishing £60 million with an audience of over 6 million people, and this year the organisers are hoping to bring in even more.