a real world point of view
- This article is about the charity appeal. For the Tenth Doctor mini-episode, see Children in Need Special.
Children in Need is an annual British charity appeal organised by the BBC. Donations are usually collected during telethons in November. The BBC often commissions special episodes or other productions to air during this time.
Doctor Who has had a long association with Children in Need, and has produced no less than five original productions (four storyline-related, one concert) aired as part of the annual appeal.
The first and most extravagant of these was the ninety-minute special episode The Five Doctors. It aired in November 1983 to mark the twentieth anniversary of the series, which also coincided with that year's Children in Need Appeal.
In 1993, a two-part "mini-story", Dimensions in Time, was broadcast. This was a crossover with another popular series, EastEnders. It was originally broadcast in 3-D but could be seen without special 3-D glasses. All surviving Doctors (including Tom Baker) and many of the surviving companions appeared in this pastiche written by John Nathan-Turner, which asked viewers to choose which EastEnders character would "save the day" in the second episode. The special - produced to mark the programme's thirtieth anniversary in lieu of the cancelled The Dark Dimension, was not well received by most fans and today is not always considered canonical, unlike the other specials.
Ten years later in 2003, when Doctor Who was annouced to return, Childen in Need featured a special Dead RingersWeakest Linkthemed sketch written by Nev Fountain, starring Jon Culshaw, Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy as the Fourth, Sixth and Seventh Doctors, with John Leeson reprising the voice of K9 and Culshaw's Dead Ringers co-star, Jan Ravensportraying Anne Robinson alongside a Sontaran, a Cyberman and a Sea Devil. The prize was the chance to appear in the forthcomming revived series. After the first and only round, the Doctor (which one is unknown although the camera angle and lighting seemed aimed at Baker) was the strongest link and all of the monsters were described as the weakest link. Durring the vote off, the Fourth Doctor voted for one of 'his' fellow incarnations (which one is also unknown) and had a dispute with K9 over voting for him, thanks to the assistance of the Sixth Doctor writing for him, but ultimately the Sontaran was voted off. At the end of the sketch, the Seventh Doctor tried to appeal for the Sontaran to not get voted off, but to noavail as Robinson decided that none of the contestants (even the Doctors) were worthy of a place in the returning show.
Since the revival of the series in 2005, Doctor Who has twice presented mini-episodes for Children in Need. The first, known variously as the Pudsey Cutaway or, simply, Children in Need Special, aired in November 2005 and served to introduce audiences to David Tennant as the Tenth Doctor, providing a link between the end of The Parting of the Ways and The Christmas Invasion. Later it would be given the more relevant title: 'Born Again'.
For 2006, the series presented a special televised concert of music from the series (which was later condensed into a special episode of Doctor Who Confidential).
In 2007, another mini-episode was produced to link Last of the Time Lords and Voyage of the Damned: Time Crash. It was a milestone production for the series revival. It featured the return of Peter Davison as the Fifth Doctor, making it the first multi-Doctor story of the revived series.
For the 2008 appeal, there was insufficient time for the production team to prepare an original production (according to Russell T Davies writing in Doctor Who Magazine), although there were subsequent media rumours of a potential reunion of the surviving Doctors. Ultimately, the show's contribution consisted of the pre-credits teaser from the upcoming Christmas special, The Next Doctor.
In early 2009, Davies, writing again in DWM, hinted about the possibility of a further mini-episode being produced for the 2009 appeal. Ultimately, this did not occur; instead, a "specially packaged" preview clip from TV: The End of Time was announced for broadcast during the 20th November appeal.
For 2010, a preview of the Christmas Special "A Christmas Carol" was shown.
The 2011 event saw an original scene featuring the Eleventh Doctor and written by Steven Moffat broadcast alongside a preview for the Christmas special TV: The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe. Unlike past CIN scenes, however, this one is not canonical as it features the Eleventh Doctor addressing viewers as he launches an online auction of his costume and then makes direct reference to the preview.
In 2012, both a prequel and trailer for the forthcoming Christmas Special were shown. The prequel was entitled TV: The Great Detective, and both were introduced by Matt Smith and Jenna-Louise Coleman.
- 25th Nov 1983 - The Five Doctors is broadcast during the nights appeal. Also the Fifth Doctor lands in the studio and donates his coat to be auctioned.
- 22nd Nov 1985 - Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant and producer John Nathan-Turner visit the Blackpool Doctor Who Exhibition to collect donations. Back in the studio Terry Wogan and Patrick Moore welcome a plethora of Doctors and companions as they emerge from the Tardis to present a cheque.
- 26th Nov 1993 - The first episode of the two-part 3-D mini story, Dimensions in Time, is broadcast during the night. The mini story was also produced to celebrate the show's 30th anniversary.
- 21st Nov 2003 - The Dead Ringers team produce a sketch featuring the Fourth (Jon Culshaw), Sixth (Colin Baker) and Seventh (Sylvester McCoy) Doctors playing the Weakest Link. Also stars K9, a Cyberman, a Sontaran and a Sea Devil with Jan Ravans as Anne Robinson. Written by Nev Fountain.
- 18th Nov 2005 - The Children in Need Special is broadcast, introducing the Tenth Doctor. Also David Tennant and Billie Piper appeared in three short appeal films. Plus the Doctor Who Production Team ran the "Doctor Who Galactic Dinner", featuring a black tie dinner, a memorabilia auction and the chance to meet David Tennant, Billie Piper and executive producer Russell T Davies.
- 2006 - The Doctor Who Production Team host "Doctor Who a Celebration". A speical music concert held at the Wales Millennium Centre, featuring Murray Gold's music from the series. Hosted by David Tennant. Also David Tennant and Freema Agyeman appear in a short appeal film on the night.
- 16th Nov 2007 - Time Crash is broadcast, featuring the Fifth and Tenth Doctors. There is also an eBay auction featuring signed props from the special.
- 25th Nov 2008 - A preview of The Next Doctor is broadcast. The Doctor Who Production Team also hold a competition for 400 people to win a tour around the Upper Boat studio. Winners also got the chance to meet John Barrowman and Eve Myles.
- 20th Nov 2009 - A preview of The End of Time was broadcast
- 2010 - Two brothers were invited to the TARDIS set at Upper Boat Studios. Matt Smith and Karan Gillian surprised the pair with a tea party and a tour of the set. It is then followed by a trailer of A Christmas Carol. Also during the Doctor Who Props and Costumes Auction held at Bonhams between the Feb 21-24 had £5 from each £15 catalogue going to Children in Need.
- 2011 - A trailer for the Christmas Special is shown following a brief skit with the Eleventh Doctor
Note: The Doctor Who group, Hyde Fundrasiers, raises money for Children in Need and other charities throughout the year.