I’ve been heartily sick of the BBC’s Children in Need for a few years now.
So the news that the regular host since 1980, Sir Terry Wogan, receives a fee for his stint as the figurehead – no offence, Pudsey – has somewhat hardened my feelings against the charity appeal.
In recent times it strikes me that Children in Need has become more of a competition than an appeal. The desire to exceed the previous total has become obsessional – £18m raised last time out, so they’ll probably push for the £20m mark next time and make us feel guilty enough to reach it too.
As for the endless “aren’t we wacky” fund-raising efforts of certain people, well they tend to irritate more than inspire.
Why is that all those morose and annoying individuals who are as obtuse and obstructive as they can be 364 days a year suddenly believe the world should laugh along with them because they’ve donned a bad fancy dress costume? Simply saying: “Come on, cheer up, its for Children in Need” and rattling a bucket of pennies in your face doesn’t make it easier to forget how obnoxious they are every other day of the year.
The BBC has staunchly defended the “honorarium” to Sir Terry, stating it has never been negotiated but pointing out that it has kept pace with inflation – the fee stood at £9,065 in 2005.
For his part, the genial Irish broadcaster (does he have copyright of that description?) has said he has never sought payment and would be quite happy to front the seven-hour charity marathon for free.
However, there seems no comment on whether he donates his fee to the charity appeal, given his obvious reluctance to accept payment.
Possibly one of the reasons my attitude has hardened is the fact that not so long ago, Sir Terry said he thought that the BBC was guilty of overpaying its stars.
He got support from the TOGs (Terry’s Old Geezers and Gals) on his Radio 2 show for those observations.
I wonder what they think now?