Wednesday, November 16, 2011

1989: Lost them all like a homework excuse

Perhaps it's just me, but I used to find things like the ITV Telethon Comic Relief and Children In Need nights quite exciting.

It was the only place and the only time of the year where you'd see people doing things they didn't normally do, a host of stars incongruously coming together and a whole night of fun and laughter. I'd make sure I was in for it and sometimes, like on the day in 1989 I'd actually go round to friends to watch it. I must have been on something...

Now of course, I can't think of anything worse. Forced fun, newsreaders doing the Can-Can and the cast of Waterloo Road doing Bohemian Rhapsody, all presided over by dependable Wogan doing his reverential best and the ghastly Fearne Cotton flailing like a leaf in the wind and the fact that we're all meant to think it's beyond reproach.

Ever since Angela Rippon revealed her dancing skills and those legs on the Morecambe & Wise Christmas show and all those newsreaders dressed up as sailors to do a musical number we're expected to be amazed, more than 30 years later, that these people have these hidden talents and other strings to their bow. Alas, there are no surprised anymore. Ann Widdecombe goes on Strictly, people bare all on I'm A Celeb..., etc. There are no secrets. It's just the norm.

I hate it.

I do love this song, it always reminds me of late autumn, but every time I hear this song I'm reminded of perhaps the last time I properly engaged with Children in Need (and the time we travelled all over south London trying to find someone's party in the days before mobile phones and got stared out of a really rough pub in Streatham). I don't know why it all ended at the dawn of the Nineties, but I pride myself on knowing when the joke's over.


  1. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was forced to spend the very first 'Children in Need' night shivering outside a local radio station, half-heartedly shaking a collection box at irritable passers-by. I was what would now be called 'an intern'. Everyone else was almost hysterical with excitement - I can vividly remember one of the 40-something female presenters banging out an appalling version of Lionel Ritchie's 'All Night Long' - and I wanted to sink into the ground.

    I have avoided it like the plague ever since.

  2. I really don't understand any of this either. Who the hell watches these 'fundraising extravaganzas' (quote Guardian Guide)?

    Part of me does wish they were good though. I'm desparately looking for a decent excuse to get out of a Friday night outing with former work colleagues...