Children In Need 2021: Three-hour roller coaster of emotions as charity raises over £39m

It was a three-hour roller coaster of emotions as viewers throughout the UK tuned in to BBC Children In Need for the show's 41st year.

By Rahmah Ghazali
Saturday, 20th November 2021, 6:53 am

The telethon, which kicked off at 7pm on Friday, began with Pudsey, the charity's mascot, pulling up to the studio in a speedboat to the James Bond theme tune.

This year's Children in Need featured hosts Graham Norton and Mel Giedroyc, as well as Ade Adepitan MBE, Chris Ramsey, and Alex Scott MBE.

The show was hosted outside of London for the first time ever, with the action taking place in Salford in Media City and had a theme - 'Together We Can.'

Undated BBC handout photo of Jimmy Carr, Amanda Holden, Pudsey, Alison Hammond, Paddy McGuinness on BBC Children In Need. Issue date: Friday November 19, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Children Voice. Photo credit should read: BBC/Thames/Tom Dymond/PA Wire

What began with jokes and laughter, however, did not adequately prepare the audience for the impending waterworks.

One of the parts that moved viewers to tears was when a teenage boy with the rare Kabuki syndrome visited The Repair Shop to get his teddy bear fixed after it had become a little worn.

Billy Matthews, 13, from East London, sent his 10-year-old bear Henry to the workshop for Children in Need, and it was returned to him as if it had been given to him 'on the first day he had him’.

One viewer tweeted: "Another full night of tears watching. The Repair Shop always gets to me but #thebearladies fixing Bill's bear, Henry has left me an emotional wreck. How they held it together I have no idea."

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Viewers moved to tears

The show also highlighted a tragic story about a father named Tim who passed away from Covid in March last year, leaving behind a wife and three children.

His eldest son, Sam, 12, spoke out in the video, as did his mum, who wept as she recalled being told by a nurse to call her children so they could say goodbye.

One tweet read: "Literally crying at #ChildreninNeed...already donated but gonna dig a little deeper as this was so moving."

Another said: "I've watched five minutes of Children in Need on television and I'm a tearful mess, so many brave amazing children and families out there."

Additionally, the show brought together a slew of the most beloved puppets from children's television as fans took a trip down memory lane.

Mr Blobby, Zig and Zag from The Big Breakfast, George, Zippy, and Bungle from Rainbow, and Basil Brush were among those that took part in the cover of Starship's 1987 song 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now.'

A fan tweeted: "Thank you #ChildrenInNeed. Can't believe you brought back #MrBlobby to the television screens."

Lax Covid safety in the audience

But it wasn't all fun and games, as some viewers questioned an apparent Covid rule break in the show, citing the lack of social distancing or masking up in the audience.

One said: "It's all very nice and good so far, but it makes me scratch my head how the presenters are social distancing and the audience isn't. Surely all are tested/vaccinated so what makes them have to do it still?"

And one viewer pointed out how short the show was compared to previous years.

The tweet read: "Can anyone tell me why the TV appeal is now ending at 10pm when it used to close at about 1am? #ChildreninNeed"

Despite varied reactions from viewers, the telethon ended up raising a massive £39,389,048 in just three hours.