It’s actually impossible to watch Children in Need from start to finish without being physically sick. With this in mind, I limited myself to five minute bursts of this festival of patronising gumph on Friday night. I’d just been in to Costcutters and bought the local underage guttersnipes on the estate their 10 Mayfair for them as I made my way home from work using the copper collection they handed me in a sock, so I felt I’d already done my bit and would resist Wogan’s encouragement to dig deep.
Obviously, it’s all for charity, so I sound like a moaning old turd for criticising the telethon. All the same, there were some terrible moments. These ranged from the unintentionally hilarious to the outright cynical. And all compered by the brilliant Terry Wogan who, let’s face it, is getting on a bit and while great on the radio and Points of View (especially when parading his packet on the latter), he’s not really up to a marathon live broadcast. Especially when hampered by that squawking, tattooed emu Fern Cotton. It’s not the first time these two have been teamed together and it always ends in disaster.
The worst example I saw of patronising pointlessness was a kiddie edition of Dragons’ Den. A parade of precocious little shits stepped up to ask for a thousand quid off of the Dragons for their rubbish ideas. Depending on the Dragons’ moods, they handed the cash over like pinstriped Father Christmases (or an elf, in Theo’s case. (Or a reindeer, in Meaden’s case)).
The youngest Dragon was obviously the one they all fawned over, clearly aware that, should their days in the Den ever end they might need to show a softer side to be able to fully establish their media friendliness and versatility. As a result, we had to put up with Theo and Jonesy grinning like Cheshire twats and Meaden and Caan trying their absolute damndest not to hurl needless insults as they usually would. This young, ginger pitcher tried to sell a ‘Lonely Post’ to the Dragons – a place in a playground where lonely kids can meet other lonely kids and make friends. Or, as is more likely, get laughed at for standing at the Lonely Post and get pelted with stones.
At least all that had its heart in the right place. Where Children in Need really raised the hackles was with overblown self-promotion. You can’t help but suspect that the broadcast of the event was delayed until the day before Leona Lewis’ new album is released. All the X Factor judges came on, awkwardly applauded their rival channel’s charity and then presented Leona who warbled her way through that horrible racket she fronts about bleeding.
‘Ah keep bleeding – ah keep, keep bleeeeeding’ she wailed as my ears glugged with claret in sympathy.
Is it just me or is this a shameless tie in? There should be a national outcry about this. How blind do they think we are? I can just about hack celebs doing this sort of shit for charity to raise their profile but when they are actually directly trying to sell a product? It was as transparent and sick-inducing as a glass of salt-water.
For this reason, if you buy Lewis’ album you are not only a sponsor of the shittest music in the universe, you also condone the hijacking of good intentions by Monsieur Cowell to better line his own nipple-high pockets. You bastards.