Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry blows away Strictly charity special judges

The Children In Need charity spectacular offered a line-up of telly treats as it continued to raise money for the cause.

Former Blue Peter presenter Mark Curry has been named winner of the Children In Need Strictly Come Dancing special after impressing judges with his high kicks.

He beat Blue Peter hosts past and present – including Konnie Huq, Anthea Turner, Diane-Louise Jordan, Tim Vincent and Radzi Chinyanganya – with his and partner Amy Dowden’s jive on the BBC One live charity appeal show on Friday.

The dynamic segment to Sir Elton John’s I’m Still Standing saw Chinyanganya dive into the splits and pro dancer Brendan Cole spin Turner in the air while standing on top of the judges’ table, just moments after making a slight stumble on the platform.

As the judges – borrowed from the main Strictly show – sang praises for all the competitors, Bruno Tonioli complimented Curry’s kicks, which he said were “higher than Darcey Bussell’s”.

The Strictly theme ran through the appeal showdown, with presenter Mel Giedroyc aiming a light-hearted swipe at head judge Shirley Ballas, following the controversial elimination of Aston Merrygold from the main programme.

As Merrygold appeared during a short appeal video, Giedroyc said it was “nice” to see him back on screen, adding: “Thanks, Shirley Ballas.”

The charity spectacular delighted audiences with a number of TV treats, including a first-look teaser of this year’s Doctor Who Christmas special.

The comical clip saw Peter Capaldi in his last appearance as the twelfth doctor, alongside a return from first doctor David Bradley and Mark Gatiss as a First World War officer.

Earlier in the show, the cast of EastEnders donned old-fashioned costumes for a medley of classic musical numbers in Albert Square, including tracks from Oliver!, Les Miserables and Mary Poppins.

In a Children In Need first, the cast of Countryfile also had a go at their own medley, opting for hit country tunes from John Denver, Dolly Parton and Nancy Sinatra.

Meanwhile, Peter Kay surprised and delighted his fans by announcing two new episodes of hit comedy series Car Share, following viewer demands.

Earlier in the year he insisted he had no plans to make a future run, following the second season finale that saw his character John and work friend Kayleigh (Sian Gibson) apparently part ways forever.

As the pair appeared on Friday’s live show, Kay said: “We were completely overwhelmed by the response and even though we’ve no plans to write a third series we knew we couldn’t end the story there.”

He will share an alternative finale episode next year, following an improvised edition: Car Share Unscripted.

Other BBC programmes also featured on the show to share the impressive sums they have raised through their own appeals.

The One Show concluded its traditional 500-mile rickshaw ride with presenter Matt Baker at the helm, totting up a record-breaking total of £5,063,230.

Actress Joanna Lumley presented the Sir Terry Wogan Fundraiser Of The Year Award – in memory of the show’s late and much-loved presenter – and Katie Melua performed this year’s Children In Need charity single: her rendition of Fields Of Gold.

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