Children in Need total nears £20m

The BBC's Children in Need appeal raised almost £15m in less than three hours this evening, the corporation said.

The annual fund-raising extravaganza had raised a total of £14,703,462 by 10pm - however, the total is £57,1449 less than the amount raised by the same time during last year's broadcast.

The biggest ever fundraising extravaganza comes as the corporation has been rocked by the Jimmy Savile paedophilia scandal.

The seven-hour live entertainment show was kicked off from London's BBC Television Centre with Sir Terry Wogan, who was joined by TV stars Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton.

TV and musical favourites taking to the stage to get the party started included One Direction, with a performance of While Were Young.

Girls Aloud performed, for the first time on TV, the official BBC Children in Need AA side single, Something New, and Beautiful Because You Love Me.

David Ramsden, BBC Children in Need chief executive, said: "This year's campaign is bigger and better than ever and people right across the country are once again coming together to raise thousands that will help change the lives of disadvantaged children right here in the UK."

Sir Terry referred to the crisis at the BBC in a video segment which he introduced.

The presenter said: "Children should be able to trust adults, that should be a given; our role is to protect them. Sadly, as we know, there are times when adults abuse that trust and in the film were about to show you, three workers from Children in Need-funded projects who help and support support children and victims of sexual abuse tell us the dreadful effect that abuse has had on young lives, but how, with your help, we can make a difference."

The segment included the statistics that more than one in three sexually abused children do not tell anyone else about it.

Last year the appeal raised a record £26,332,334 during the whole night itself.

A spokesman for the BBC said that it was too early to comment on the amount raised so far this evening, and that the corporation wanted to wait until the evening had progressed before making a statement.

Highlights tonight included an exclusive Doctor Who prequel to its Christmas special, featuring the first glimpse of the Doctor with his new companion Jenna-Louise Coleman.

There was also a Strictly Come Dancing special with two of the previous most memorable contestants, Ann Widdecombe and Russell Grant.

The programme also night kicked off tonight with The One Show BBC Children in Need Special, in which the youngsters involved were welcomed back from a rickshaw challenge.

The team raised more than £1.1m for the appeal after they cycled from Llandudno to London on a rickshaw, covering 411 miles over eight days.

And former chorister Aled Jones led the The Choir, which united 2,500 children across the UK in a performance of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Last month, Sir Roger Jones, former BBC governor and chairman of Children in Need, said that Savile had been banned from the Children in Need appeal.

Although he had no evidence that Savile was up to anything, he said he behaved strangely, adding: "I think we all recognised he was a pretty creepy sort of character.

By 11.30pm, the total raised so far stood at £19,932,636.

Sir Terry called the amount: "Fantastic, wonderful stuff."

Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Nick Grimshaw dropped by to take over presenting duties from pregnant Cotton.

"I never thought Id see you in a suit and tie," quipped Sir Terry, before calling on the help of the studio audience to decide upon the nickname of 'Grimster' for his new co-host.

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