What’s the Story behind Pudsey Bear and Children in Need?


  1. What is BBC Children in Need?
  2. When did Children in Need start?
  3. Where did Pudsey Bear come from?
  4. When is Children in Need's Pudsey Day?
  5. Are children in the UK in need?

The BBC Children in Need Appeal Show, otherwise known as Pudsey Day, is a much-loved, annual staple in the UK television calendar but is there more to the charity than this all-night telethon fundraiser? And where did Pudsey Bear come from? Let’s take a closer look at children in need in the UK. 💁

little girl watching children in need

What is BBC Children in Need?


Children in Need is the BBC’s UK charity. Its mission is to help ensure every child in the UK is safe, happy, secure and has the opportunities they need to reach their potential. 👍

It funds over 3,900 local charities and projects which directly support children and young people in communities right across the UK facing disadvantages such as poverty and disability, tackling difficult issues including mental health, child sexual exploitation, holiday hunger and social injustice.

Although the charity raises money throughout the year, the focus of its fundraising efforts is the annual November appeal which culminates in the Children in Need Appeal Show, also known as Pudsey Day. 

The 6.5-hour telethon often features performances from top singers and groups, with a host of celebrities performing sketches or musical numbers too. Since 2011, Matt Baker – ex Blue Peter presenter – has been doing the Rickshaw Challenge. Last year, he cycled a total of 830 miles in a week raising almost £5 million. 💷


When did Children in Need start?


It all started with a BBC radio broadcast on Christmas Day in 1927. This first appeal raised more than £1,300 (around £70,000 in today’s money) for four children’s charities in the UK. The first televised appeal followed in 1955, various presenters and formats have come and gone with Sir Terry Wogan first appearing in 1978. 📺

In 1980 the modern BBC Children in Need Appeal as we know it was born. It started off as a series of short segments linking the evening’s programming an impressive £1 million was raised in the first show. 

In 1997 the official BBC Children in Need charity single, Perfect Day featuring Lou Reed, Bono, David Bowie, Elton John, Boyzone and Tom Jones reached number 1 and by 2009 the 30th televised Appeal raised an impressive £20,309,747.

In 2018, Children in Need officially raised a total of £1 billion to support children and young people across the UK since 1980. 🤑


Where did Pudsey Bear come from?


Pudsey Bear, that familiar yellow teddy bear with a polka dot bandana over one eye, is BBC Children in Need's much-loved mascot. 🧸💛

The now-famous Pudsey Bear made his first appearance on BBC Children in Need in 1985. He was created and named by BBC graphic designer Joanna Lane, who worked in the BBC’s design department at the time.

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”. The bear was also named after her hometown of Pudsey, West Yorkshire.


When is Children in Need's Pudsey Day?


The 42nd edition of the Children in Need Appeal Show will be broadcast live on BBC One and BBC Two on Friday 19 November 2021. The show usually kicks off at 7.30 pm and lasts into the small hours of the following morning. 🙌

This year’s Pudsey Day theme has been revealed as “together we can”. Several celebrities – including Joe Wicks, Professor Green and Laura Whitmore – have already come forward to share their thoughts on what helped them through tough times in a bid to bring us all together. 


Are children in the UK in need?


BBC Children in Need fund projects working with children and young people aged 18 years and under, living in the UK, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, who are experiencing disadvantage through illness, distress, abuse or neglect; any kind of disability; behavioural or psychological difficulties; or living in poverty or situations of deprivation.

Unfortunately, despite the fact that Britain boasts the fifth-largest national economy in the world, according to the Child Poverty Action Group, there were 4.3 million children living in poverty in the UK in 2019-2020. That's 31 percent of children or nine in a classroom of 30

There are approximately 351,000 children aged 0-17 with a learning disability in the UK, one in six school-aged children has a mental health problem – which is up from one in ten in 2004 – and there were over 24.8 thousand child abuse offences recorded by the police in England and Wales in 2020/21. 👮

Between 1998 and 2003 reducing child poverty was made a priority with a comprehensive Governmental strategy and investment programme which saw the number of children in poverty fall by 600,000. So, with dedicated governance and funds, it is clearly possible to improve children’s lives in the UK. BBC Children in Need helps us come together to contribute towards securing better futures for our children. 🤝‍Start your kid’s learning journey