Column 6: Charity, 15th November 2002
“And now on BBC1, we interrupt all half-decent programming to bore you to death with this year’s… Children in Need.”
Suddenly your eyelids are descending faster than your bank balance. Consciousness is fading quicker than the chances that you’ll stick to your resolution to do “a bit more work” this term. Your body collapses in a heap, just like the analogies in this paragraph.
Then you wake up to hear Toby Anstis say “And now we cross over to BBC Dullsby…”.
“This crazy man is sitting in a bath full of maggots!” shouts Gaby Roslin.
“They’re crawling up my nose. I think they’re biting me inside.” He’s a man sitting in a bath, as part of a line of men sitting in baths, and the baths are full of the typical “cray-zee” things that baths get full of at this time of year. You know: custard, gunge, mud, goo, gunk, jelly, acid, faeces, molten rock, water.
“And what about you, what’s this bath full of?”
“Razor blades” says a man, in a bath full of razor blades.
“Owch! You must be completely mad!”
“I was almost sectioned.”
“What’s your name?”
“I’m Sir Derek Roberts, Provost of UCL”
“And how much have you raised for Children in Need?”
“Children in Need?”
“Yes… the BBC charity entertainment phone-in extravaganza type thing.”
“Actually I’m raising money for Imperial College and UCL… Richard Sykes says we’ve got no money at all. He made me do this. The razor blades were his idea,” he says, glumly.
Standing to one side, there is a deep laugh. “Keep up the good work, Derek!” says Richard, with a cackle. “It’s this or the top-up fees, you see,” he says, turning to Gaby Roslin. “Surprisingly warm, under the glare of these lights,” he says, fanning himself with a large handful of fifty pound notes.
Back to the studio, and there’s Nicky Campbell from Watchdog. “Right, we’ve got Will Young and Ann Widdecombe in the studio, and as we said earlier, if we didn’t have four million pounds by now, Ann will be performing a striptease. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, Will will be singing. Let’s check the totals…”
A minute later and the hell is in full swing. Ann is in her underwear, while Will serenades her with “I want to take this moment, and make it last forever…” You wonder whether he really means it.
“Give us your money, give us your fucking money, now, please!” sobs Bob Geldof, eerily reminiscent of his famous Live Aid quote, although this time the anger is replaced by terror, and there are tears in his eyes. “The smell is appalling… people here are dying!” he says, as Ann’s bra comes flying in his direction.
Will’s song reaches a climax, Nicky Campbell wipes the sick off his chin and while Ann is dancing, her breasts knock out two cameramen. She moves a large fold of skin out of the way and reaches for her knickers, and then…