IT BEGAN on Christmas Day almost 90 years ago with a five minute broadcast to the nation on the wireless.

With Hampshire families huddled round their radios awaiting the annual festive address from King George V, the BBC launched its first Christmas appeal to help needy British children facing a range of disadvantages, from poverty and deprivation to abuse and neglect.

It lasted only a few minutes but the broadcast brought in £1,143 - a phenomenal sum in 1927, when Britain’s post-war economy was still in recovery.

Today, BBC Children in Need has raised over £800 million through fundraising events and generous donations.

A large part of its success over the years has come from its annual Appeal show in November - an evening of entertainment jam-packed with singing, dancing and celebrity supporters.

Following its success on the radio, Children in Need began TV Christmas appeals, the first of which was the 1955 ‘Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal’, presented by Sooty the puppet and Harry Corbett.

It’s presenters over the years included Terry Hall, Eamonn Andrews, Leslie Crowther, Michael Aspel and the rising star of the BBC Radio Two Breakfast Show - Terry Wogan - who made his debut appearance in 1978.

The Christmas appeals continued on TV and radio up until 1979 and raised a total of £625,836, but the recognisable telethon format we see today began in 1980 on BBC One, with Terry Wogan hosting alongside Sue Lawley and Esther Rantzen.

The telethon’s instant success meant the donations broke the million mark for the very first time, and in 1985, Terry was joined by the iconic Pudsey Bear for the first time.

Designed by Joanna Ball, a BBC graphics designer, Pudsey was named after the West Yorkshire town where she was born.

Pudsey’s popularity meant he returned as BBC Children in Need’s official logo the following year with his design amended to that familiar iconic yellow bear with a red spotted bandage. His popularity has endured to this day.

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