<em>Children In Need</em> music video <em>Children In Need</em> music video
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Children In Need music video

Every year, the BBC airs a Children In Need charity fundraiser. This year they produced a stop motion music video which, especially for cartoon buffs in the UK, is a pretty big deal. It collects around 120 characters (approximately) from British children’s shows from the last 30 (or more) years. It features classics like Paddington Bear, the Wombles, Roobarb and Custard, Peppa Pig, Bagpuss and Muffin the Mule, along with newer characters like Fifi and the Flowertots, Pingu, Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and many more (including a few cameo appearances from US superstars Scooby-Doo and Spongebob Squarepants).

It took many different companies (many of them rivals) coming together to make this piece. Chapman Entertainment produced and Tim Harper directed.

  • As a Uk Animation fan, this was a bit cringing. But it was meant with the best of intentions and at least it highlights British animations. A couple more camoeos in there were Sooty, thunderbirds, Bil and Ben, Andy Pandy. Some of these are really old. Postman Pat goes back years.

  • That’s a wonderful piece, definitely a keeper. I’m amazed at how seamlessly everything is integrated, although those characters not only come from different shows, but also in different motion styles, from animation and puppetry to life action.

    First I thought “oh no, motion capture for the teletubbies”, but then I realized that each character was done in its original style. (I’m not that familiar with UK children’s television – could someone with more knowledge confirm this?) Even the Wombles moved on two’s!

  • I absolutely LOL-ed at this on first screening and with very good reason – had it not been for a few cameos from some US ‘toons, this would have been the UK’s finest moment in animation history. The ultimate “crossover” that works and succeeds brilliantly – with at least 89% of it home-made, too 8-)

    Plus, where else would you see the Fat Controller stuffing his face like that in this day and age…and in stop-motion, even!?

  • Swap Peppa Pig with Postman Pat and Pingu and you have it all right in terms of new/old. Bagpuss is obviously much smaller than his original model so he doesn’t swamp everyone else, shame the clangers couldn’t make it in too though, and those blasted teletubbies had to stick their arses in. Still, really neat that all those studios got together to put this together. I love me crazy crossovers like this, even if a lot of the characters featured a pretty recent ones I’m not personally familiar with. For most British kids though this will be like their #Smile, darn ya smile’ sequence from Roger Rabbit.

  • Mac

    Lovely stuff! I like how this is geared to appeal to kids of today (very appropriate for Children in Need), with the heavy emphasis on the characters that are on T.V today, but mixed in with loads of classics from the past. This brings back memories of another video that used to air when I was a kid that mixed loads of famous puppets from different shows together. Anyone remember that?

  • Mesterius

    Really cool! I wish coming-togethers like this happened more often (and when it happened, was done as cleverly as here).

  • Children in need of what? Seeing their heroes act out of character? In need of seeing them acquire suspicious, sexualised adult characteristics? I’m glad everybody banded together to agree on a single, uniform level of poorly advised wrongness.
    Smug, self serving, and ethically ambiguous at best.

  • SWatsi

    This brings back great memories! The team up I never dreamed could happen – my favourites Fireman Sam and Postman Pat!

    And for a very good cause too.

  • Wow this is great that all that hard work payed off by looking So Good! And of course being for a good cause. I really like the “Hey jude” portion :D
    One question, i didn’t see the magic Roundabout anywhere

  • Trevor

    That’s pretty heartwarming even though I didn’t recognize everyone in my American ignorance.

    I kind of feel like the TV antenna gag was introduced because the Scooby Doo clip didn’t even look like Shaggy.

  • This DVD video goes on sale in the UK on Monday. It should already be available to buy on iTunes. I would urge any cartoon fans in the UK to buy a copy. It’s for a really good cause and brought together a really large amount of people in UK animation and children’s programming. Something like this hasn’t happened here before and who knows when it will happen again.

  • I remember hearing years ago that part of the setup of Scooby-Doo (although not the show itself) had British origins to do with the Mods vs. the Hippies, is there any truth to that? That would go a ways to explaining why they pop up in an otherwise British cast.

    Personally, I thought it was fantastic. Here in Canada we got a bunch of those old shows mixed in with the usual US fare, and I always appreciated just how far removed and fun the British designs were from the relatively standard US stuff at the time.

    Can’t say I understand where Tony Mines’ “sexualized” comment comes from though, and I was looking for it. Is it that they were parodying pop stars and celebrities? I’d say that’s pretty normal for a project like this.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Pretty clever, loved seeing Paddington Bear gettin’ down! Fun when they do these little cross-over moments.

  • Mike Fontanelli

    Should come with a warning label – Not for diabetics (although who am I to criticize anything this sincere, and made for a children’s charity?) Even so, I kept hoping for a cameo by Andy Capp getting a beatdown from his wife – just to add some traditional cartoon subversion.

  • Gio Renna

    Where’s Wallace and Gromit??

  • Jason

    I thought that was great. Much better than other toon mash-ups like Cartoon Heroes To The Rescue, or whatever that horrid bit of animated anti-drug propaganda was called. This was light-hearted and fun instead of dogmatic and preachy. Applause to the producers of this charming little music video with a message.

  • Oops my bad, the Magic roundabout was made in France. It simply attained Immense Success in the UK

  • Nightmare Is Near

    When I was watching this a tear ran down my cheek.

  • Gio: I’m surprised by the complete lack of Aardman in this too: at least Shaun or Timmy the sheep as they’re pretty big CBBC shows.

    A.J: Yeah, the French script was supposedly thrown out for the UK version, with all new narration that was more down with our British sensibilities. Shame Hollywood had to taint it with that awful CGI movie.

  • Lee

    Can’t be a bad thing for UK animation, its had a fair bit of press too. And of course, its for a great cause!

  • Neil

    I was thinking the same thing Gio maybe they had other engagements (another X-Mas Special) This was wonderful never the less. A nice end to the week . Would’ve been nice to see some of the Firmin/Postgate Characters(Clangers etc) But that’s a minor quibble. Well done everyone involved

  • SWatsi

    If you think its out of character, maybe your correct, but that makes it fitting for Children in Need since all the other programming and sketches are in the same vein anyway.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I recognized a number of the characters even though I couldn’t always Name That Toon (sorry about that). And they had me with the Lady Penelope cameo. Yeah, I’m THAT old!

  • Ryan

    As a 24-year-old UK resident, this was an immediate success in my book. Grinning all over the place, I’ll be buying that DVD. There’s also a poster that parodies the Sgt. Pepper album cover.

    I never thought I’d see Postman Pat/Fireman Sam/Thomas the Tank Engine etc. singing an Elbow song!

  • Matthew

    Tony Mines, please, please stop.

  • Poop Deck

    ok for those who dont know much about children in need, its a long standing tradition in great britain and raises millions for the children in the whole of great britain, a friendly celebrity pop song is part of the tradition and for the last few years Comedian Peter Kay has been putting a video together each year to help raise money for a few of our charities like comic relief. He always gets celebrities to chip in and to see what hes done check out these videos, they are not animation related but just so you know whos behind it all. its very tongue in cheek as u will see.



    aardman did a few little bits this year for children in need too but were not included in this for some reason. Peter Kay claimed it took around 2 years to put this together and the poster is equally as good check this out,


    more info here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pudsey/news/news201109.shtml

    Children in need is a great cause and its also nice to see people calling the fat controller by his real name and not his newly appointed politically correct name “Sir Topham Hatt”

  • Lee

    Gio, Wallace and Gromit were busy promoting Npower, and basically everything under the sun it seems

  • David

    The Fat Controller’s been known as Sir Topham Hatt since 1956. It’s nothing new.

  • Rextherunt

    Tony Mine’s comment has to the grinchiest ever – and I’m still looking for the sexual bit. You could snipe at the prominance Peter Kay seems to have given himself (or been given) in the project, but charity records and the choicest made in making them have never been 100% pure anyway.

  • Rextherunt

    BTW, we can’t really blame Hollywood for the awful Magic Roundabout movie. Produced in France, written in the UK and directed by Brits it was rushed into production with an early draft script so that Robbie and Kylie were available for voices – like that was going to help it much.

    Much of the movie’s tone was shaped by the feeling the original show was only a local hit and therefore had to be changed to make it more universal, which led to sacrificing every aspect of it that made people like it in the first place. It was the feel of MG that people loved, not that it had a hairy dog in it called Dougal who could be moved (with a new voice) into something else.

  • Mac

    Although I didn’t spot Wallace and Gromit in the video – they did do at least one special promo bit for this year’s Children in Need:


  • The sexuallisation is there in the song lyrics and dance movements. It’s tangential rather than explicit, and most likely unintentional, but I found it disturbing as well. I applaud the collaboration of normally rival studios and the recognition of the manner of animation being as much a part of a characters’ look as the physical puppet is (I don’t recall Postman Pat having an animated mouth, but I put that down to puppet versions used here probably being those from the recent re-imagining). But the absence of “cool,” tween/teenager things like breakdancing and how they consist of mostly adult characters acting completely asexually are two of the main things about these classic series (and even some relatively recent ones like Yoho Ahoy) that fascinate me most.

  • joe

    That was simply amazing. I almost lost my shit when I saw Paddington!

  • Giovanni Jones

    This video is no longer available thanks to the good people at Business Affairs People in Need. “Oopsy daisy, sorry about the children, but we have copyright laws to uphold and, most importantly, our personal agendas to put before everything else.”