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Friday, November 21, 1997 Published at 18:43 GMT


Lou Reed and Pudsey aim to raise 20m
image: [ This deaf youngster from north London is one of thousands to benefit from Children In Need ]
This deaf youngster from north London is one of thousands to benefit from Children In Need

Pudsey Bear has logged onto the Internet and recruited rock legend Lou Reed in a bid to raise 20m for the BBC's Children In Need appeal.

Last year 18.7m was raised - 12m on the night - and the organisers are hoping to beat that on Friday.

Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin host the usual shenanigans on TV and for the first time in its 17-year history Children In Need has its own Website, which goes live on Friday night to keep Net surfers ahead of the game.

[ image: Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin with a fraction of the cash raised last year]
Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslin with a fraction of the cash raised last year
Computer owners with access to the Internet can download exclusive interviews, autographs and backstage pictures of stars such as Lisa Stansfield, Ulrika Jonsson and Louise who are all appearing on the seven-hour TV special.

The children's television presenter Kirsten O'Brien will launch the site at 4pm (16:00 GMT).

Producer Judy Brooks said: "During the live show visitors can go immediately into the running order and by scrolling forward can reveal the delights to come.

"For those with audio, there is a live feed to keep surfers in touch throughout the programme."

Another page will enable users to go backstage to the celebrity Green Room where they can pluck informal photographs and sound-clip interviews out of the ether.

The site will also contain a secure Zap Us Your Cash page, allowing people to send donations safe in the knowledge that their credit card details cannot be intercepted.

The former Velvet Underground singer's contribution to the appeal is his 1970s classic Perfect Day.

[ image: Louise, one of the stars of Friday's show]
Louise, one of the stars of Friday's show
A CD containing three versions of the song, which was used in a recent BBC publicity campaign, was released this week.

One is the version featuring Reed, David Bowie, Elton John, Lesley Garrett, Tom Jones, Bono and Heather Small from M People.

The female artists have also recorded their own version as have the male singers.

Jane Frost, BBC Head of Corporate and Brand Marketing, said hundreds of viewers had telephoned, written and e-mailed the corporation asking where they could buy the song.

"The solution was to get it on sale as soon as possible and I am delighted this is now happening, with all profits going to BBC Children in Need," she said.

The highlight of the TV extravaganza will be an attempt at the World Record for Simultaneous Line Dancing.

Around 5,500 dancers at 13 venues around the country - from Carrickfergus Castle in Northern Ireland to the Riviera Centre in Torquay - will stomp their way into the Guinness Book of Records if they can synchronise their movements for a full five minutes.

[ image: Ramon Tikaram ... also in the line-up]
Ramon Tikaram ... also in the line-up
Mr Wogan and Miss Roslin will share centre stage with a host of stars, including Louise, Gary Barlow, Peter Andre, Lisa Stansfield, Boyzone and Ulrika Jonsson.

Denise Van Outen will introduce the next generation of TV stars - who fought their way through two rounds of nationwide auditions - while Noel Edmonds has been banished to America, where he will conduct auditions for a remake of Singin' In The Rain.

Several Casualty stars, including Derek Thompson (Charlie Fairhead) and Tina Seabrook (Clare Goose) will swap their stethoscopes for stetsons for a Wild West Medley.

Magnus Magnusson invites an array of famous guests to sit in the dreaded black chair for Celebrity Mastermind.

Coronation Street stars, including Angela Griffin (Fiona Middleton) and Denise Welch (Natalie Horrocks), turn Weatherfield into Detroit with a rendition of Motown classics.

Broadway stars Christian Mena and Anthony Rapp fly in to give British viewers their first glimpse of hit American musical Rent and Ramon Tikaram from West End hit Jesus Christ Superstar (and cult series This Life) belts out one of the numbers from the show.

Gary Glitter has been dropped from the show after being questioned by police about child pornography allegedly found at his home.

Go to the Children In Need website

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