Children in Need 2017: the best moments - Doctor Who, Strictly, and the return of Peter Kay's Car Share
Pudsey Bear’s annual telethon monopolised the BBC schedules on Friday evening, aiming to raise more than last year’s incredible £46.6m to help disadvantaged children in the UK. And it did just that! The total raised so far is £50,168,562, Children in Need's highest on-the-night total to date.
Ade Adepitan and Tess Daly kicked off proceedings, before Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton took over ahead of Rochelle and Marvin Humes, who were later joined by Matt Edmondson. Here are the best bits from the whole evening...
Car Share’s comeback
Headline-stealing news of the night - the phenomenal fundraising aside, obviously - was the surprise announcement that Peter Kay’s joyous, Bafta-winning sitcom Car Share will return for two specials next year. Kay and co-star Sian Gibson appeared in character as will-they-or-won’t-they supermarket workers John and Kayleigh to reveal the news.
First will come improvised instalment Car Share: Unscripted which, judging from the sneaky clip, will see the loveable commuters ad libbing and signing along to whatever comes on fictional radio station Forever FM (“timeless hits, now and forever”) - including impressions of vocalists Roland Gift and Heather Small.
Even more excitingly, there’ll then be one last finale episode, set the morning after the cliffhanging argument that had viewers shouting at their screens in dismay this May. Over 100,000 fans signed an online petition demanding a conclusion to the story. Well, soon they’ll get their wish. “It’s been a very hard secret to keep,” admitted Kay. He didn’t confirm whether that troublesome safari park money would also be returning.
Queen of Mean retakes her throne
Renowned winker Anne Robinson returned for a one-off special “celebrity” edition of The Weakest Link. It starred such non-household names as Maya Jama and Kem Cetinay. Us neither.
Chef Rosemary Shrager suffered the humiliation of being first out after she forgot Terry Wogan’s name and thought that Team GB’s world-beating distance runner was called “Mo Mo”. Cocky columnist Giles Coren smarted as he was ejected before the midway point. This Morning’s Rylan Clarke-Neal gave Robinson as good as he got but the strongest link proved to be Holby City actress Chizzy Akudolu, who finally won a BBC contest after unjustly being eliminated first from this year’s Strictly.
It served as a reminder of how fiendishly watchable this quiz format is, tastily seasoned with Robinson’s acidic put-downs. Were her round red specs a nod to fancy dress or a serious fashion choice? Nobody seemed sure. Cold Feet’s John Thomson compared her look to Edna Mode from The Incredibles. You are the chic-est link. Goodbye.
EastEnders with added jazzhands
East End met West End as the Cockney soap’s cast sang and danced their way around Albert Square in a seven-minute musical theatre medley. Roaming between the caff, Queen Vic pub and Walford tube station, they crooned numbers from Les Misérables, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins and Oliver!.
Hidden vocal talents came to the fore, with Shona “Whitney” McGarty, Jacqueline “Lauren” Jossa, Emma “Honey” Barton and Shaheen “Shaki” Jafargholi putting in particularly strong pitches to be snapped up by Shaftesbury Avenue casting agents.
Bonuses: Danny Dyer barked “Turn it in, will ya? Liberty!”, cult extra Shrimpy got a new hat at last and Richard “Vincent” Blackwood married Dean “Robbie” Gaffney. Best of all, Ian Beale didn’t sing.
Tear-jerking Terry Wogan tribute
He was the friendly face of Children in Need for more than three decades and for many, remains synonymous with the charity. However, Sir Terry Wogan passed away last year after a battle with cancer. Tonight’s telethon proved that he was gone but certainly not forgotten.
Joanna Lumley presented the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser of the Year award to people who "go above and beyond to raise money”. The inaugural recipients were teenage twins Ellie and Abbie Holloway from Staffordshire, who’ve spent a decade raising cash for worthy causes.
Lumley added: “Terry was just the best friend, the funniest, kindest man, and he adored Children in Need. I loved him.” As if we weren’t moved enough, crooner Katie Melua then performed a poignant rendition of one of Sir Tel's favourite songs, Fields of Gold. Not a dry eye in the house.
Doctor Who fans got early Christmas present
Whovians got their festive treat 38 days early, with an advance look at the upcoming Christmas special, titled Twice Upon a Time.
It saw the First Doctor (originally the late William Hartnell, now played by David Bradley) stride into the TARDIS - only to discover that it wasn’t his. Instead it belonged to the Twelfth Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and the earlier incarnation didn’t approve of the decor (“Hideous!”). Cue witty bickering and knowing in-jokes about their relative ages.
The two Docs were joined by Mark Gatiss as a baffled First World War officer, stranded at the South Pole. Sadly, there was no early sighting for new Timelord Jodie Whittaker, who will appear when Capaldi regenerates just before the credits roll. But as he said in tonight’s clip: “No spoilers.”
Poldark kept his shirt on but still wowed deserving superfans
One of the most cockle-warming segments was when four children’s charity workers were invited to 18th-century Cornwall to visit the set of their favourite windswept drama.
A series of surprises were soon sprung, with housekeeper Prudie (Beatie Edney) getting them into period costume and Demelza (Eleanor Tomlinson) showing them around backstage. The biggest squeals, of course, came when Captain Ross Poldark himself (Aidan Turner) arrived, looking suitably swoon-worthy - and, after a round of grateful hugs, asked them to appear in a scene from the forthcoming fourth series.
They can be spotted next year as extras in the Red Lion pub, so keep your eyes peeled. As one of the quartet said: “We’re in shock. Lustful shock.”
Strictly backed plastic
To mark Blue Peter’s 60th anniversary, six former presenters of the world’s longest-running children’s programme entered the Strictly Come Dancing ballroom to compete for the Pudsey Glitterball Trophy - which had been made earlier by Peter Purves in a knowing black-and-white cameo.
The half-dozen amateur hoofers were paired with Strictly pros for an all-action jive to I’m Still Standing - and it was of a surprisingly high standard. Anthea Turner was all fast feet, demented grin and spectacular lifts on the judges’ table. Konnie Huq did a cartwheel, Radzi Chinyanganya did the splits and Diane-Louise Jordan did herself proud. The only dancefloor dud was Tim Vincent, whose hips were as frozen as his ageless face.
Worthy winner, though, was 80s favourite Mark Curry, who defied his 56 years with flicks, kicks and plenty of pumping knee action. Curry looked endearingly delighted by his victory, with the edge only slightly taken off by Tess Daly’s oddly patronising comment: “Look at his little face!” Keeeeeep giving!
Sorry Sue, it’s all about Mel ’n’ Graham
There was the usual tag-team of presenters during Friday night’s five-hour epic but easily the pick were Mel Giedroyc and Graham Norton, aka “G-Nort and the Mel machine”. They sparked off each other with wit and swapped delightfully daft banter - chemistry honed by their stint earlier this year at the helm of a certain signing contest.
As Giedroyc said: “This is like Let It Shine but without Gary Barlow.” “I’d watch that,” deadpanned Norton. Giedroyc’s retort? “It would certainly be a lot cheaper.”
The pair proceeded to bicker over who had the biggest Poldark crush and crack innuendoes about tricorne hats. “He’s like a hunky fortune cookie,” said Giedroyc. The Great British Bear-Off, anyone?
Countryfile goes west
The rural affairs favourite’s team swapped fleeces for rhinestones and wellies for cowboy boots during an all-singing, all-dancing, all-slightly awkward country music medley.
Most of the presenters couldn’t sing for toffee - sad to report, not even the mighty John Craven. Helen Skelton was particularly honking. However, Elle Harrison was a revelation, sitting at the piano to belt out an impressive rendition of Dolly Parton’s Jolene.
Harrison recently expressed frustration that she only gets fanmail in praise of her clothes and looks. Perhaps her vocal talents will now get a mention too. Although the the tabloids are already drooling about how she “flaunted her toned legs” when she stood up from the piano. Sigh.
The sad bits
You’d need a heart of steel not to find something in your eye at Friday night’s appeal films - especially the Olivia Colman-introduced tribute to courageous cancer patient Vanessa, who’d spent half her nine years in hospital.
The Spread A Smile charity regularly visited Vanessa at Great Ormond Street to boost her morale with the music she loved. A heartbreaking closing caption, however, informed us that Vanessa passed away two months ago.
Of course, such segments were necessary because they nudged damp-cheeked viewers to donate to a cause that helps change half a million children’s lives each year. So please dig deep and do what you can.