The BBC Children In Need appeal show is back on Friday, November 16, with an incredible line-up of presenters: Tess Daly, Graham Norton, Mel Giedroyc, Ade Adepitan, Rochelle and Marvin Humes, alongside newest member of the team Rob Beckett. We chat to the stars to find out why it promises to be an unforgettable night of entertainment.
An all-star presenting line up, an unforgettable night of entertainment and millions of pounds raised for charity: it’s time for BBC Children In Need 2018.
More than 2,500 projects that are helping children in communities across the UK are supported by the charity, which aims to help young people facing a range of disadvantages, whether it be living in poverty, being disabled or ill, or experiencing distress, neglect or trauma.
And the mammoth appeal show, which was first broadcast in 1980, always makes for an amazing night of television – all with the help of Pudsey Bear of course.
For Graham Norton, some of the things he most enjoys about the night include “the chance to hang out with Mel Giedroyc, who is a joy” and “the other is being able to see these stories of people who are helped by BBC Children In Need – that is always a highlight”.
He adds: “There aren’t many things that unify this great country, but I do think BBC Children In Need is one of them.”
Here, we chat to all of the presenters to find out what’s in store this year.
Comedian and TV presenter Rob Beckett, 32, has just landed his first stint as a host for Children In Need.
The fresh-faced star has had to win over audiences as a stand-up comedian, so you have to wonder how he’s feeling about the mammoth task at hand.
“The thing is,” says Beckett down the phone, “I try not to get too worked up over stuff like this. My mum’s always told me just because the situation changes, doesn’t mean you have to.
“So I’m just going to try and treat it like any other normal day I’ve presented really. If you overthink it, that’s when you panic yourself and stress yourself out.”
Each year, the appeal show is filled with incredibly emotive and moving stories from all around the country.
Beckett says earnestly: “My main worry is that I’m going to get upset seeing all the videos.
I’ve got two little kids, so I might have to close my eyes when the videos are on, because I’ve got to try and compose myself to present.”
He’s resolute when asked if the nation’s fundraising generosity is a positive tonic to the sometimes dreary headlines these days.
“I think it’s always good when times are tough to still care about those who really need help,” he muses.
“It’s easy to give generously when times are good, but if you can still do good things when times are tough, I think it’s a really impressive thing the country can do.”
So what would he do if he had to host a fundraising challenge?
“You can’t beat a boot sale. Love a boot sale. I’m a secret hoarder,” he admits.
Next year he’ll embark on his Wallop tour around the country and he has a host of impressive new shows hitting TV screens – among them a returning stint on BBC One’s All Together Now and a new project with his friend and fellow comedian Romesh Ranganathan.
But Beckett doesn’t let any of that go to his head.
“As soon as I get home no one really talks about anything I do. I’m just dad at home, and Rob, so I don’t really cross the streams. I try to keep it as normal as possible because in that way you stay normal”.
For Ade Adepitan, 45, being part of Children In Need is incredibly inspiring.
He also knows first-hand how amazing the work is that Children In Need does as he grew up playing wheelchair basketball at the Stoke Mandeville spinal unit.
“I remember when I was in the junior championships when BBC Children In Need used to host part of their show there and they would support the players and help us with getting money for new chairs and sports equipment.
“It’s probably one of the earliest times when I found out that something so influential wanted to support and that means so much.”
GREAT PRESENTER PAIRINGS
As well as it being such an important show to be part of, former JLS member Marvin Humes loves the opportunity to work with wife, Rochelle, whose other presenting credits include Ninja Warrior and This Morning.
The 33-year-old says: “There’s no one better to work with than the person you know best and is your best friend, so I’m really lucky to be working with her.
“It doesn’t feel like work when I’m with Rochelle. You may sometimes have to work with people that you’ve never worked with before and it can be tricky at the beginning, so obviously when working with your partner it doesn’t get any easier than that.”
Mel Giedroyc, former presenter of The Great British Bake Off, enthuses: “It genuinely makes me feel proud to be British and I think the support brings out the best in human beings.
“It’s just a really important thing and I urge everyone to get involved in whatever way that they can.”
The star, who will take the reins alongside Norton, adds: “The evening is such a hoot, but we can’t be pompous about it. Of course there are highs and lows throughout the show, but essentially, I think, it really brings out the best of people.”
There have been so many great celebrities who have taken part in Children In Need over the years.
Most memorable of those perhaps is the late Sir Terry Wogan, and working alongside him was one of Tess Daly’s greatest highlights.
“He was an absolute gentleman who has been there from the very beginning and it meant so much to him,” says the Strictly Come Dancing host, 49.
“He spent all year working on various projects and donated money to BBC Children In Need. He was so incredibly generous and it was such a privilege to work with him. He is a legendary broadcaster and I just loved that twinkle in his eyes and never knowing when he was going to go off script!”