BBC CHILDREN IN NEED 2017 CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED 44

BBC Children in Need‘s fundraising campaign is asking people across the UK to channel their passions, hobbies or dreams and ‘Do Your Thing’ to help change the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK.

An incredible star studded line-up of famous faces have come together to support the Do Your Thing campaign, including Matt Baker, Frankie Bridge, Jim Chapman, Tess Daly, Alex Jones, Carol Kirkwood, Scott Mills, Ore Oduba, Louise Pentland, Ellie Simmonds, Charlie Simpson, Rachel Stevens, Joe Sugg and Matt Willis.

The celebrities are asking the nation to Do Your Thing and fundraise for BBC Children in Need. From fancy dress to clothes swaps, fun runs to once in a lifetime challenges, bake sales or sponsored silences, everyone can channel their passions into fundraising for BBC Children in Need.

The One Show and Countryfile presenter Matt Baker says of the campaign: “Every year I see people up and down the country doing remarkable things to raise money for BBC Children in Need, and I can’t wait to see what the UK public do again this year! You can do anything. Whether it’s something you’ve always wanted to do, like an epic cycling challenge, or something that you’re really good at like telling jokes or singing, you can turn anything into a fundraiser. So come on UK, Do Your Thing!”

Also supporting the campaign is former Saturdays star Frankie Bridge, who says: “I am so excited to be supporting BBC Children in Need again this year. It’s such a worthy cause and everybody always has so much fun when they are fundraising. You really can do anything to raise money! Why don’t you try a tech detox and live without your phone for a day, or maybe you could hold a clothes sale with your friends – whatever your thing is turn it into a fundraiser and the money that you raise will go on to make a real difference to young lives across the UK.”

Strictly Come Dancing’s Tess Daly is also urging everyone to show their support in 2017: “BBC Children in Need is back, and I can’t wait to see everyone across the UK doing their thing to raise money for the charity! Whatever you do, have fun and raise as much money as possible! It’s a cause that I am so passionate about and it really does make a difference to disadvantaged children and young people all over the UK.”

Also championing the 2017 campaign is The One Show presenter Alex Jones who called on people across the UK to join in: “It’s wonderful to be supporting BBC Children in Need again this year. Each year the public amazes me with the wild, wonderful and unique ways that they fundraise for the charity and I expect this year to be no different! Come on UK, Do Your Thing for BBC Children in Need.”

BBC Radio 1 presenter, Scott Mills, who undertook an abseil down the ArcelorMittal Orbit for BBC Children in Need in 2015, called on the public to do all they can to support the 2017 Appeal, saying: “Whether you go to work in fancy dress, bake cakes for your family and friends or fancy taking on an adrenaline fuelled challenge – this year do your thing for BBC Children in Need and the money that you raise will go on to help improve the lives of children and young people in all corners of the UK. So what are you waiting for? Do Your Thing!”

Strictly Come Dancing’s 2016 glitter-ball champion Ore Oduba encourages the nation to get involved, saying: “It’s that time of year again – when the good people of the UK pull out all the stops to fundraise for BBC Children in Need! Whether it’s by challenging yourself to a sponsored silence or putting on your best fancy dress; whatever your thing is, do it and make a difference to disadvantaged children and young people’s lives right here in the UK!”

Former S Club 7 star, Rachel Stevens, who has secured two number one singles with S Club 7 for BBC Children in Need, says of the campaign: “It’s fantastic to be able to support BBC Children in Need this year. The charity does amazing work with children and young people all over the UK and I really hope that this year the public does their thing once again and raises lots of money for the cause.”

Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive at BBC Children in Need, says: “BBC Children in Need is calling on people across the UK to once again come together to make a lasting, positive difference to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people. Whether you love baking or fancy dress, or fancy taking on a once in a lifetime challenge, you can use your passions to help change young lives.”

The official fundraising pack is available for download now from bbc.co.uk/pudsey and is bursting with ideas to inspire Do Your Thing fundraising ahead of the 38th Appeal show on Friday 17 November. To date the Great British public has raised over £909 million for children and young people across the UK and the charity is calling on people to once again pull out all the stops and help make a difference!

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ITV CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR HIGHLIGHTS 2017 REVEALED 14

A sleigh full of specials, across entertainment, drama, comedy and factual entertainment, will decorate the ITV schedule this Christmas, with an added festive helping of exciting free-to-air film premieres, with Jurassic World and Spectre coming to terrestrial television for the first time.

Chigwell’s favourite trio return to ITV with a feature length one-off Christmas special of Birds of a Feather. Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph reprise their roles as Sharon, Tracey and Dorien in a new adventure for the ladies. (9pm Monday December 18th).

Then to the London Palladium, where Miranda Hart hosts an unforgettable evening of entertainment in the presence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, The Royal Variety Performance, where a wide range of internationally acclaimed acts and West End stars are brought together for one night only on a single stage.(7.30pm Tuesday December 19th).

The heroes behind the uniforms will be celebrated and honoured in this one off Christmas special on ITV, A Night For The Emergency Services. Presented by Ashley Banjo and Diversity, the show will feature talented members of the emergency services performing alongside special celebrity guests including Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, Leona Lewis and Tokio Myers. (9pm Wednesday December 20th).

Next ITV has a Christmas special with renowned chefs Gordon Ramsay and Gino D’Acampo alongside First Dates Maître D Fred Siriex, in which Gino and Gordon will lay on a spectacular banquet for the heroes of 2017. Working against the clock they’ll be assisted by a number of famous faces as the two teams compete to serve the most impressive festive menu. Charming Maître D Fred will not only be tasked with running the service but he’ll be wrangling the results from our deserving diners, whilst keeping the self assured Brit and the feisty Italian apart. Gordon, Gino and Fred’s Great Christmas Roast will be full of festive delight, celebrating great food and even greater Britons. (9pm Thursday December 21st).

The Pub Landlord is back this Christmas to host a one-off festive special with Al Murray’s Make Christmas Great Again where the country’s favourite landlord will be behind the bar for a festive lock-in, with a host of special guests, interviews and sketches, the ultimate public house party. (9pm Friday December 22nd).

On Christmas Eve afternoon ITV will be making a festive splash in Cannonball: Christmas Special, with Freddie Flintoff, Frankie Bridge, Radzi Chinyanganya, Ryan Hand and Maya Jama. (4pm Sunday December 24th). 

Also on Christmas Eve, Bradley Walsh hosts a very special edition of The Chase. It’s a Christmas Chase: Celebrity Special as all five chasers try to catch Coronation Street star Patti Clare, comedian Matt Richardson, presenter Kirsty Wark and singer Jimmy Osmond. (5.50pm Sunday December 24th).

Next on Christmas Eve (6.40pm Sunday December 24th), West End legend Michael Crawford will guide seven well known celebrities through an all singing, all dancing musical theatre extravaganza, in All Star Musicals. Hosted by Freddie Flintoff, All Star Musicals features a cast of famous faces who will each perform an iconic number from a hit musical at the legendary London Palladium.

At 8.30pm on Christmas Eve Rowan Atkinson is back in 1950’s Paris, investigating another case inMaigret in Montmartre.(8.30pm Sunday December 24th).

Christmas Day treats include 60 minute specials of Coronation Street (8pm) and Emmerdale (5.50pm), and Paul O’Grady will be back at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home on his Christmas mission to find new homes for more adorable four-legged friends, in Paul O’Grady: For the Love of Dogs at Christmas.(7pm)

Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes will be back, in a feature length festive special of ITV’s epic period drama, Victoria at 9pm on Christmas Day.

On Boxing Day, Ed Chamberlin hosts live racingaction from the Winter Festival at Kempton Park and the Yorkshire Christmas meeting at Wetherby. He is joined at Kempton Park for expert analysis by AP McCoy and Mick Fitzgerald, with reporters Oli Bell, Luke Harvey, and Rishi Persad, Matt Chapman with the latest betting news, and Richard Hoiles in the commentary box. 

On Boxing Day too, ITV will bring viewers the terrestrial TV premiere of Jurassic World (6.40pm Boxing Day).

On December 30th, viewers are invited to Guess The Star as Jonathan Ross hosts a brand new one-off game show where five well-known stars are completely transformed into their favourite musical icon for a performance. The programme pits three celebrity teams against each other to try and deduce who the disguised stars are, in the shortest time possible. (7pm Saturday December 30th)

On New Year’s Eve, ITV cordially invite you to A Right Royal Quiz (3.30pm Sunday December 31st), Britain’s first ever panel show about the Royal Family and a celebratory and affectionate look at the Royals and the country’s obsession with them. Hosted by Fern Britton, two Royal-loving celebrity teams battle it out to win the prize, the ‘Crown of Right Royalness’. There will also be new Cannonball: Splash Hits (6.50pm Sunday December 31st).

On New Year’s Day Ed Chamberlin kick offs the New Year with the ITV Racing team live at Cheltenham for four races from the home of the National Hunt and two races from Musselburgh. Ed is joined for expert analysis at Cheltenham by Mick FitzGerald and Luke Harvey, with reporting from Rishi Persad and Alice Plunkett, commentary from Richard Hoiles and Sally Ann Grassick reporting from Musselburgh.

New Year’s Day also marks the free-to-air premiere that evening of the latest Bond film, Spectre (8pm January 1st).

Films across the Christmas holiday period on ITV include seasonal treats The Holiday, Santa Claus The Movie, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and Jack Frost, plus family favourites Despicable Me, and Despicable Me 2, the Harry Potter and Hobbit films, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Mr Bean’s Holiday and Babe.

REVIEW: ASCENDING DAWN – ‘COALESCE’ 16

They might be a fairly new band, but coming into such a saturated and rock heavy music world certainly hasn’t dampened the spirits – or the voices – of London based prog/alt metal quartet Ascending Dawn and their debut album Coalesce makes quite the first impression.

Opening numbers “All In Now” and particularly stand-out track number 3 “Cannonball” make sure listeners pick up on the almost undeniable air of Lacuna Coil’s Cristina Scabbia surrounding AD’s front-woman Marlain Angelides from the off – both have strong voices, fraught with power and emotion, but make no mistake, they are also entirely different people who just happen to share a career path.

While Marlain rightly takes centre stage across the 9 tracks – 10 if you include the radio edit of “Cannonball” – featured on the collection – her band-mates Jen Fletcher, Mark Weatherley and Owen Rees also shine thanks to their tight musicianship and ability to create a great ambience with their instruments.

The album is also helped greatly by impressive production, with the mixing and mastering done Jochem Jacobs, formerly of Textures. His efforts on Coalesce allow for each track to connect with the next, even when lyrically or musically they really shouldn’t, and it’s this that ultimately prevents the album from being a stop-start ‘what the hell is going on’ type of record.

Despite the bands’ many talents, which they showcase as best they can on the album, come the half-way point, and most notably following “Opposites”, each track does tend to start sounding like the last as the group appear to have stuck to what they know and do best. It might work on a debut album but should they be fortunate enough to return to the studio and record a second, a bit of variety certainly wouldn’t go amiss. Nevertheless, for a first effort, it’s a strong and well-polished one, sure to impress those music fans who like their tracks to be large, considerably loud and rather in your face.

Coalesce is available now.