The Version Interview... Greg James on BBC Children in Need

The BBC Children in Need Appeal Show is back with a stellar line-up of presenters. Tess Daly, Graham Norton, Greg James, Ade Adepitan, Rochelle and Marvin Humes will guide viewers through a night of dazzling entertainment to raise millions of pounds for BBC Children in Need.

Tess Daly and Greg James open the show with sketches, performances and treats from some of the nation’s most loved stars. Graham Norton and Ade Adepitan present the central part of the night with Marvin and Rochelle closing the show and revealing the final total.

Along the way, appeal films will feature some of the disadvantaged children and young people whose lives have been changed through the support of BBC Children in Need, and the volunteers who work tirelessly to help them.

Greg James tells us more...

How did you feel to be invited to be a presenter on this year’s Children In Need?

When Children in Need asked me if I wanted to get involved and do some presenting this year, I had no idea I would be doing the first slot with Tess Daly. It’s a real privilege to be asked to do a slot like that. I am really excited. It’s such an iconic event and what an incredible team we’ve got doing it.

Some of the stories really do tug at the heartstrings don’t they?

They are very heart-warming. The reason why I like to get involved with the BBC charity work is you get to be part of something, which is great fun. But my job as a presenter is to communicate stories. I like storytelling and that is why Sir Terry Wogan was the best broadcaster ever. It’s a really special charity.

Do you have fond memories of Sir Terry?

Terry is the greatest broadcaster ever in my eyes. He was the best of everything. He was very kind, very gentle, very warm but also completely hilarious. They are such rare qualities. He was a very likeable and warm character. When I was growing up listening to him on the radio, it felt like he was just talking to you and that’s the most difficult thing for any radio broadcaster – to talk to one person in the kitchen or car. He is the holy grail of broadcasting. When I listened to him do his last show when he thanked his friends, it struck a chord. It is the reason why I wanted to do radio.

Do you hope the nation will dig deep to honour him?

Yes. It’s a great evening. For the people who have invested in Children in Need over the years, they will know what Terry did for the charity. We want to do the charity proud but of course, we want to make Sir Terry proud. We won’t let him down.

What stories make you emotional?

Children in Need is very much a UK-based charity and you find yourself comparing your own childhood to the stories you hear. You realise how lucky you are not to have been poorly or to have gone without stuff. It’s universal stories that everyone can relate to.



What excites you the most about being part of the Children in Need presenting team?

It’s the idea of being part of the evening, having a laugh on telly and communicating stories to the viewers. What an amazing honour to do live TV on BBC One. It is something I really only ever dreamed about. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be able to mess around on live TV. It is mad!

Do you know Tess well?

I worked with her husband, Vernon Kay, for years on BBC Radio 1 and I am really excited to be doing it with her. It’s going to be great.

Do you mind if you end up getting embarrassed yourself if you have to do anything silly?!

I have got very little dignity left!

You completed a gruelling triathlon challenge earlier this year for Sport Relief. Would you ever do anything like that again?

When I finished it, I never thought I would but now I would definitely be persuaded because of the amount of awareness it raised, how much money it raised and how it turned out to be a good thing. It inspired people to do sport and do their own triathlons and it really was an incredible adventure. I love a challenge. I do see hosting Children in Need as a challenge and I think that’s a good thing. It will be scary and it’s good to be scared. It is good to push yourself outside the comfort zone. I do get nervous but the minute you don’t is the moment you shouldn’t do it anymore. It will always be my gauge for doing something. Even now talking about it, I have got that nervous excitement feeling!

Does it ever cease to amaze you just how generous the nation can be on Children in Need night?

Charity telethons showcase what we are really like. Behind all the moaning and the grumbling about politics, the issues and views, at the heart of it, there is a country full of good people. These events give the people a platform to be nice, it’s a very warm show and it is very inclusive. These things encourage the best out of people and it’s a good reality check. It’s such a privilege and I am so happy I am going to be part of it.


Catch BBC Children in Need this Friday from 7pm on BBC One