Pudsey Bear: why does Children in Need mascot have an eye patch, how did he get his name, who created him?

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Pudsey Bear will turn 37 during the 2022 charity campaign

Pudsey bear is synonymous with Children in Need, the BBC’s fundraising campaign in aid of disadvantaged children across the UK. The bear has been the friendly yellow furry face of the charity since he was first introduced almost four decades ago.

Pudsey is now one of the most famous mascots for good causes, and the toy versions of the bear can be bought every year in the Children In Need online shop which means that he can become a best friend for children across the country. You can also buy a range of Pudsey merchandise across a range of high street shops.

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But, just who is Pudsey bear, exactly when was he first created, and why does he wear his iconic spotty eye patch?

Here’s what you need to know.

What is Children in Need?

BBC Children in Need is the BBC’s UK charity. Children in Need (CIN) funds thousands of charities and projects across the UK which all support children and young people to feel and be safer, have improved mental health and wellbeing, form better, more positive relationships and be given more equal opportunities. Children in Need also funds grassroots organisations and project workers who help to provide the vital positive relationships children need to help them work through the challenges in their lives.

Pudsey Bear was first introduced as the Children in Need mascot in 1985.Pudsey Bear was first introduced as the Children in Need mascot in 1985.
Pudsey Bear was first introduced as the Children in Need mascot in 1985. | BBC

The mascot of Children in Need is Pudsey Bear, a yellow bear who wears a spotty bandana covering one eye. To raise their vital funds, CIN hold what they describe as a “spotacular” appeal every year in November. People are encouraged to take part in a variety of activities, including cake sales, sponsored walks and cycles and also a rickshaw challenge.

There’s also a telethon every November on BBC One which includes sketches, comedy routines, challenges, music performances, celebrity appearances and stories from those who have been supported by the charity. It has been held every year since 1980.

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Who is Pudsey Bear?

The Children in Need campaign has been helping children be the best they can be for almost 100 years now, as the very first BBC radio broadcast appeal for children was broadcast on Christmas Day 1927. Almost 30 years later, in 1955, there was the first ever televised appeal. The Christmas Day appeals continued on TV and radio until 1979 and then, in 1980, the modern BBC Children in Need Appeal was created.

It still wasn’t another five years until the well-known yellow teddy bear was seen by viewers, however. Pudsey was first introduced to audiences by broadcasting great Sir Terry Wogan in 1985 and became the charity’s official logo the following year. Pudsey will turn 37 during the 2022 CIN campaign.

Why does Pudsey Bear have an eye patch?

Pudsey was initially brown with a red bandage on its head and the buttons down the bear’s front spelled out BBC but this has gradually changed his appearance over the years. Pudsey was redesigned in 2007, with a digital illustration style for the well-known bear which would work online and in animated sequences. He now possesses a wider range of poses and expressions. The spots on his bandage were changed to by multi-coloured at this time.

Pudsey’s eye patch, or bandage, is widely understood to represent the bear being in need too so that he can relate to the children the charity supports who may feel different or alone.

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Who created Pudsey Bear?

In the 1980s, BBC executives decided that they wished to attract more interest in the charity and so asked its design team to create a new logo to front its Children in Need appeal. BBC Designer Joanna Lane came up with the idea that it should be a teddy bear - and so Pudsey was born. Lane also had the honour of deciding the name for her newly designed teddy bear mascot too.

How did Pudsey Bear get his name?

Pudsey was created by BBC designer Joanna Lane almost four decades ago. She took his name from her home town in West Yorkshire of the same name, where her grandfather was once mayor.

Explaining the inspiration behind Pudsey, she said: "It came from the heart. I looked to my own experience and named him in honour of my home town and my grandparents."

Joanna was born in Pudsey, a West Yorkshire town in between Bradford and Leeds, and decided to name the bear after her birthplace. The town has paid homage to Pudsey the bear with a floral representation in the local park there called Pudsey Park.

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When is Children in Need 2022?

Children in Need always takes place on a Friday in late November. This year, it takes place on Friday 18 November. The CIN telethon is always televised live on BBC One for three hours. This year, the BBC’s Children in Need telethon will be broadcast live from Media City UK in Salford, Manchester, on Friday 18 November between 7pm and 10pm. You’ll be able to watch the show live on BBC One and BBC iPlayer. It will also be available to watch shortly after broadcast on BBC iPlayer for you to watch at a time to suit you.

How can I donate to Children in Need?

To donate to Children in Need, please visit the official Children in Need website.

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