Friday, 14 November 2014

Children in Need and Pudsey

In 1980, the first Children in Need telethon was broadcast, a series of short segments linking the evening's programming instead of the usual continuity. It was devoted to raising money exclusively destined for charities working with children in the United Kingdom.

It is amazing that Children in Need began fund raising in 1980. Originally it was a series of short segments linking the evening's programming instead of the usual continuity. But as time went on, the segments grew, and by 1984, there was a continuous programme running the whole evening.

Pudsey Bear has also evolved, and the photo above shows a Pudsey almost unrecognisable from the modern incarnation, show here with a very young looking Sue Cook and Terry Wogan. The bear was created in 1985 by BBC graphic designer Joanna Ball, and named after her hometown of Pudsey, West Yorkshire, where her grandfather was mayor.

In 1986, the bear underwent a revamp, and the elements we know today began to appear. The new bandana design was white with red spots, one of the buttons was removed and the logotype now appeared as building bricks, which spelled out "BBC CHILDREN IN NEED" in capital letters. 2007 saw another change in the design, as all the buttons were removed, and Pudsey's bandana had multicoloured spots.

The 1986 Domesday project doesn’t mention Children in Need, but it does mention Pudsey a lot – the town, not the bear:

"Pudsey's industries are located in a) 18th and 19th century stone mills spread over the built-up areas and beside streams which were the original power source. b) purpose-built units on an industrial estate situated between major road and rail links. Few old mills serve their original purpose. Some have moved over to man-made fibres whilst others have been converted into smaller units, e.g. small warehouses, a printer's shop, a plumber's suppliers. In the main the modern units house distribution sites for national companies or small firms concerned with home improvement. Several metal-based industries concentrate on specialist items, e.g. park fencing and castings. Regrettably many units, both old and new, display the all-too-familiar TO LET signs."

Nowadays Pudsey shows little sign of its industrial heritage. During the Industrial Revolution, Pudsey was said to be one of the most polluted areas of the UK due to its position within a slight valley and between the two industrial cities of Leeds and Bradford. People joked that the pigeons in Pudsey Park had to fly backwards to keep the soot out of their eyes. Today there is a Pudsey in Bloom group.

The whole Leeds Metropolitan District still experiences deprivation, in part from the decline of the traditional industries, although Pudsey itself is not among the most deprived area. Some nearby wards are among the most the most-deprived 10% in England. . This is a proportion that is lower than in other Local Authorities covering major cities – such as Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Newcastle, as well as nearby Bradford and Sheffield – but is high relative to the rest of England, according to a report a few years ago.

Income deprivation affects families, and this in turn can have a knock on effect on the support and quality of children's education. Children in Need, with its projects, can address some areas of deprivation, and make children's lives immeasurably better.

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