Today in the UK, it's the annual Children In Need telethon. A campaign publicised and promoted extensively by the BBC to help children's charities. And there'll be an evening of it. With that awful but eventually endearing Pudsey Bear character. Ooh, and a first look at the upcoming Christmas' Doctor Who at some point. And Paul McCartney jamming with Take That.
But comic book creator Tony Lee, recently back from India, owes Children In Need his very life. On his blog he writes a remarkable story about finding himself a paralysed amnesiac in 1991;
An ambulance was called, I was taken to the hospital, I was lying in a hospital bed and, to be brutally honest while I was shit scared while lying in a ward in Cardiff Royal Infirmary (while doctors prodded my legs with what looked like knitting needles until they were awash with blood to confirm paralysis), I would have been even more shit scared – if we hadn't had a Pudsey Bear walking around the ward and chatting to us.
You see, that years Children In Need happened to fall upon the day of my arrival in the ward. And a link to my childhood stood beside me as we watched Terry Wogan on the screen, and I wondered whether I'd ever walk again. I found myself telling this to Pudsey, the medication running through me at this point seemingly making him the real thing, a furry father confessor and I thank whoever wore the costume that day, because he patiently sat beside my bed, constantly 'in character' as this painfully skinny, crying boy begged forgiveness, in a vain hope that he would regain his legs and memory…
But I always remembered Pudsey Bear for saving me, because for some strange reason, I believe that he did. I feel to this day that if it had been just a normal night, the weight of everything would have broken my mind. I might be wrong. I'll never know. What I do know is that a porter, a helper, an off duty doctor, whoever it was in that Pudsey suit – they kept me sane that night. Children In Need is the only reason I'm here today, in my opinion.
That bloody Pudsey… without him, I'd have been the one writing the ongoing Doctor Who series for IDW. I'm sure of it.
Or possibly it would have been Reppion and Moore.
Give what you can.