Be spot-acular Children in Need 2023

Friday: Children in Need 2023 (BBC One, 7pm)
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Be SPOTACULAR. That’s the slogan emanating from this year’s Children in Need campaign.

What that means exactly is open to interpretation. Perhaps it’s something to do with spotting stars because there are certainly plenty of them involved.

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Jessica Ennis-Hill, Kelly Holmes, Dr Alex George, Jermaine Jenas, Alex Jones, Roman Kemp, Oti Mabuse, Christine McGuinness, Harry Pinero, Katie Piper, Jill Scott, Rachel Stevens, Laura Whitmore, Joe Wicks, Big Zuu and many more came together in September to launch the event and show their support for youngsters across the country who are facing disadvantage while discussing how we can all make a difference.

Jason Manford, Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, Lenny Rush and Mel GiedroycJason Manford, Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, Lenny Rush and Mel Giedroyc
Jason Manford, Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, Lenny Rush and Mel Giedroyc

“Like every child across the UK, the children and young people we support want to thrive and be the best they can be, but they are constantly held back by the deep impact of poverty, mental health and family challenges – and the need is only rising,” says the organisation’s chief executive, Simon Antrobus.

“Through my own experience as a young person and here at BBC Children in Need, I know that the power of positive relationships with trusted adults and project workers can help children navigate these challenges successfully. Thanks to the ongoing support of the British public, BBC Children in Need are able to fund thousands of project workers across the UK but, we urgently need the public’s support once again so that we can continue to be there for the children and young people who need us most.”

He adds: “I’m confident that the great British public will once again get behind our appeal and help us make a difference when it is needed most. Together, we can show children and young people that we believe in them and we are there for them.”

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You’re probably already aware of some of the fundraising challenges that have been going on in the build-up to the big night, including Challenge Yourself, led by the folks behind The One Show and Morning Live, in which members of the public were tasked with taking on something they knew would push them out of their comfort zones.

Some of the participants appear in Friday’s marathon programme, with two performing live on the show alongside some special guests.

Ade Adepitan, Mel Giedroyc, Jason Manford, Chris Ramsey and Alex Scott are our hosts for the evening, and they’ll be joined by the event’s youngest-ever presenter, Lenny Rush.

“It’s an honour and a thrill to be the first child presenter for Children in Need,” says the 14-year-old Bafta-winning star of Am I Being Unreasonable? who has also landed a coveted role in Doctor Who. “I can’t wait to feel the buzz of a live show and to help raise money.”

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We’re looking forward to seeing him too, introducing numerous sketches featuring favourite TV shows including MasterChef and Race Around the World, as well as musical performances.

But, when it comes down to it, it’s all about the money. In 2022, the total on the night was a staggering £35million. Whether that can be matched or even bettered this time around remains to be seen, but the Beeb are hoping for something similar – and that really would be spotacular!