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Our history

For over half a century BBC Children in Need have been raising money for young people in the UK that need help.

  • 1927: First ever children's BBC radio appeal

    Christmas Day, 1927 saw the very first BBC radio broadcast appeal for children raising more than £1,300 (around £70,000 in today’s money!) for four children’s charities in the UK.

  • 1955: The first televised appeal

    The ‘Children’s Hour’ Christmas Appeal, was presented by Sooty and Harry Corbett. The Christmas Day Appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979.

     

  • 1978: Sir Terry Wogan makes his debut appearance

    Terry Wogan first appeared during a five-minute Appeal in 1978. He made his second appearance during the following Appeal in 1979.

  • 1980: The modern BBC Children in Need Appeal is born

    In 1980, the first BBC Children in Need telethon was broadcast. Comprising of a series of short segments linking the evening’s programming.

    Devoted to raising money for charities working with children in the United Kingdom, the new format, presented by Terry Wogan, Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen, saw a dramatic increase in public donations.

    An impressive £1 million was raised in the first show!

  • 1985: Introducing Pudsey Bear

    The now famous Pudsey Bear made his first appearance on BBC Children in Need in 1985 as a brown, cuddly mascot.

    He was created and named by BBC graphic designer Joanna Lane, who worked in the BBC’s design department.

    Lane said “It was like a lightbulb moment for me, We were bouncing ideas off each other and I latched on to this idea of a teddy bear. I immediately realised there was a huge potential for a mascot beyond the 2D logo”.

     

  • Joanna Lumley and the original Pudsey from 1985
    The original Pudsey in 1985 with Joanna Lumley
  • 1986: Pudsey Bear gets a new look

    Pudsey Bear returned as the official logo with some updates to his design.

    Whilst retaining the concept of a teddy bear with a bandana over one eye, all other elements were changed.

    The triangular elements of the underlying design were abandoned, as well as the corporate identity colour scheme. The most notable change was the new bandana design, featuring white with red spots among many more alterations making him more like the bear we all recognise today.

  • 1997: A Perfect Day to be Number 1

    In 1997 the official BBC Children in Need charity single, Perfect Day, reached number 1!

    Lou Reed, Bono, David Bowie, Elton John, Boyzone and Tom Jones and more big names all featured on the charity single.

    Also in 1997, our corporate partnership with Costco began, and to this day, it is our longest standing corporate relationship.

  • 2007: Pudsey's makeover at 22

    As Pudsey Bear was in his twenties, it was time for a fresh look!

    The BBC Children in Need logo was updated once again giving Pudsey a more colourful bandana and it’s the brand we still use today.

  • 2009: The 30th televised appeal

    On November 20th 2009 we celebrated our 30th televised Appeal raising a whopping £20,309,747!

    2009 also saw the first BBC Children in Need Rocks concert take place at the Royal Albert Hall including performances from Take That, Robbie Williams, Leona Lewis and more!

  • Logo for BBC Children in Need Rocks the Royal Albert Hall. Pudsey's bandage is on the Royal Albert Hall below.
    2009's BBC Children in Need Rocks
  • 2011: The first Rickshaw Challenge

    The first One Show Rickshaw Challenge saw television presenter, Matt Baker, ride a Rickshaw 484 miles from the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade to the BBC’s Broadcasting House in London.

    Matt and the team raised £1.9million for BBC Children in Need!

  • 2012: The Rickshaw Challenge returns and a one off Pudsey Bear makeover

    Nearly 7 million people enjoyed watching Matt Baker take on the Rickshaw Challenge in 2011, so it returned with six young people taking on a 411 mile marathon from Llandudno to BBC’s Television Centre.

    Matt wasn’t off the hook for the 2011 though, he accompanied ‘Team Rickshaw’ on his bicycle the entire route raising over £1.5million.

    Pudsey also got a fashionable wardrobe for the first time in 2012 when he was given a makeover by some very famous designers including Burberry, Victoria Beckham, Gucci, Prada and Alexander McQueen.

  • Selection of custom designed Pudsey bear toys
    Pudsey got fashionable makeovers in 2011
  • 2014: Sir Terry Wogan’s last year

    2014 marked Sir Terry Wogan’s last year presenting BBC Children in Need. We firmly believe we wouldn’t be where we are today without everything Sir Terry gave to BBC Children in Need.

    In 2014, Choirmaster Gareth Malone brought together an array of untrained voices from the world of television, sport and theatre to form his All Star Choir. Together, they released the official 2014 BBC Children in Need single, Wake Me Up, claiming the number 1 spot!

  • Gareth Malone's 2014 All Star Choir
  • 2015: Countryfile Rambles

    The first every Countryfile Ramble for BBC Children in Need took place when thousands of people answered the call to ramble through our rural landscape over one weekend in the autumn while Matt Baker took on a mountain ramble cum scramble more than 3,000 feet up Tryfan in Snowdonia.

  • Large group of fundraisers in Countryfile hats with Pudsey and two celebrities
    Anita Rani and Gleb Savchenko in 2015's Countryfile Ramble
  • 2016: Saying goodbye to Sir Terry Wogan

    We celebrate the life of Sir Terry Wogan with the BBC Children in Need Rocks for Terry concert and introducing the inaugural Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year Award.

    After Sir Terry Wogan passed away in January 2016, we honoured him and the work he did for BBC Children in Need in the best way we knew how.

    We gathered some of his favourite musicians for a one-off event at the Royal Albert Hall in November 2016 whilst introducing a new award that paid tribute to fundraisers that have gone the extra mile.

  • 2017: The Power of Play with ASDA

    After 19 years of their principal partnership, ASDA and BBC Children in Need introduce the Power of Play Partnership supporting over 20,000 disadvantaged children across the UK to develop vital life skills through play.

  • 2018: £1 billion raised

    In 2018 we officially raised a total of £1 billion to support children and young people across the UK since 1980.

  • 2019: A Million and Me with Boots

    In partnership with Boots, we launched a new £10 million three year funding programme in 2019 that will focus on children’s emotional wellbeing called ‘A Million and Me’.

  • A group of people giving a talk about A Million and Me.
    A Million and Me with Boots

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