Everyone's favourite bear, Pudsey, will return to British TV screens on Friday night when Children in Need's annual fundraising telethon is aired. An array of celebrities, including One Direction and Girls Aloud, will be lending their support for the 32-year-old charity, which works to improve the lives of disadvantaged young people across Great Britain.Some stars have already lent their famous faces to the cause. At the beginning of November, Heidi Klum, Louise Redknapp and Caroline Flack collectively went 'BearFaced' and braved their close-ups without any makeup. The natural beauties rocked the nude look, wearing nothing on their face but the charity's official beauty spot – a Pudsey-style paw print.
Some of the BBC's most famous shows are also getting into the spirit of things. A special edition of Strictly Come Dancing will be screened during the telethon, welcoming back past contestants, former MP Anne Widecombe and astrologer Russell Grant, who will be reunited with their dancing coaches for a one-off performance. Business tsar Sir Alan Sugar will also guest star in a spoof scene from Eastenders. In a sneak preview of the cameo, The Apprentice host is seen going in search of Alfie Moon, played by Shane Richie, outside the iconic Queen Victoria pub. Five-piece pop sensation Girls Aloud are in charge of this year's official Children in Need single, Something New. The girls will perform the song for the first time during the two-and-a-half hour programme before the tune goes on sale to the public on November 18. Expressing their excitement, the band used their Twitter account to announce they "can't wait" to perform on the show, and urged their fans to "donate to a brilliant charity."
Geri Halliwell and boy band Blue have been involved in building support over the past few months. The two were amongst other musicians such as Joe McElderry, Macy Gray and Alesha Dixon who took part in POP Goes the Musical. The initiative sees stars joining the cast of well-known musicals, and surprising the theatre's audience members. Crowds were thrilled when Spice Girl Geri took to the stage, in a bowler hat and umbrella, to perform Singin' in the Rain with the show's leading man Adam Cooper.It's not just celebrities who have been involved with the charity this year. The Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips added the royal seal of approval to a special video due to be screened during the fundraiser. Zara and her equestrian team mates from this summer's Olympic Games can be seen dancing 'Gangnam Style' to the song by Korean pop sensation Psy.
Famous items are also being auctioned to help the worthy cause. Highlights include the motorbike ridden by Daniel Craig from the latest Bond installment, Skyfall, a luxury yacht experience as well as Pudsey bears signed by the likes of Olly Murs, Peter Andre and Rochelle Humes. Also up-for-grabs on the online auction website, Ebay, is the chance to join the BBC's weather presenting crew for a day.The appeal show, which will be presented by Terry Wogan, Tess Daly and Fearne Cotton, is set to be full of entertainment to help raise money for a good cause. And the BBC promise that 2012's effort will pull out all the stops to go beyond last year's £26 million donation total. David Ramsden, BBC's 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."