– by Jack Crozier
You may have noticed that we’ve been talking about Children in Need, whether at the end of our shows or on media platforms, for quite a while now – 9 years to be precise! We have been collecting after performances from Scotland’s capital to England’s South Coast and have again smashed our donation record: all thanks to the incredible generosity of you, our audiences!
Pudsey’s relationship with Mr & Mrs Faulty and Manuel started in 2009 at Edinburgh Fringe when the cast raffled off a gnome… the gnome was ceremoniously presented in person at the winner’s home in Dunfermline, and £1000 in cash was presented to Pudsey at BBC Manchester.
Since that first year, donations have increased exponentially, from £2008 in 2010 to £3337 in 2011, £7200 in 2012 and £8989 in 2013. In 2014, donations broke the five figure mark with £11,263.17 – and the collections haven’t dipped under since.
Having raised a record grand total of £13,726.75 last year we instantly targeted to top it this year. The campaign started concurrently in London and Edinburgh, at our Kingsway Hall Hotel residency and Edinburgh Fringe venue at Principal Hotel George Street. August alone raised almost £8000! We continued with collections at Kingsway Hall as well as at selected venues on our UK tour: Wales Millennium Centre, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Crowne Plaza Reading, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Aspers Northampton, Petwood Hotel, Edinburgh Marriott, Ipswich Town FC, and finally Derby Manor Hotel on the appeals night itself.
With our final collection taking place on 17 November, just prior to the culmination of Children in Need on BBC 1, Basil, Manuel and Sybil made an appearance on BBC South Today live from Bournemouth and the Derby Manor Hotel. Alexis Green, of BBC South Weather, [tried] to interview the team in regard to our donations but all didn’t quite go to plan… luckily Sybil was able to stay cool, as ever, and talk to Alexis – who was left to sign off her weather report amid a cacophony of broken crockery and fire extinguishers going off!
There were clearly no hard feelings, however, as Alexis described the event as the “perfect performance” and “loved” the fun-filled forecast. Our very own Laura Sheppard, Sybil for the night, exclaimed “we had to rope some audience members in for the filming for a bit of a show preview but they loved it”, adding “the venue had never had the show before so it was a baptism of fire but they absolutely loved the show and were excited about the TV being there”.
Having counted the final donations collected in Bournemouth, we are thrilled to announce a total of £20,866.76 for this year alone: we cannot thank our audiences, actors, and venues enough!
With our entire donations to Children in Need totalling £79,488.98… roll on next year!!