Two of London theatre’s most acclaimed actresses, Dame Helen Mirren and Dame Judi Dench, are among a select group of celebrities who have put their own spin on Children In Need’s iconic Pudsey Bear.
Mirren and Dench join fellow West End star Joanna Lumley, Queen guitarist and occasional We Will Rock You cameo appearance maker Brian May, Sir Paul McCartney, Coldplay, Shirley Bassey and Sir Terry Wogan in creating new versions of the bandaged bear to aid this year’s appeal.
While Mirren’s Pudsey wears a red bikini similar to one in which she was famously photographed, Dench’s jockey Pudsey is inspired by her racehorse Smokey Oakey. Lumley’s reflects her time playing Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, Bassey’s Diamonds Are Forever Pudsey features 3,500 Swarovski crystals and May’s astronomy Pudsey comes with his own telescope.
The Very Important Pudsey collection will be displayed at St Pancras station for the next two weeks, before this year’s Children In Need is held on 15 November. The future of the furry friends is currently undecided as they are to be auctioned on eBay to raise money for the charity appeal.
Speaking about her very special bear, Lumley said: “This project really has been tremendous fun; I loved dreaming up my Pudsey design. I don’t believe it needs much explanation, but my design is a reflection of a character I hold very dear, Patsy! I hope this Bear has just as much fun being Patsy as I did! Please do get bidding and give this adorable Bear a lovely home.”
The launch of the specially costumed Pudseys comes the day after Charlie And The Chocolate Factory held a gala performance in aid of the charity that aims to make a positive change to the lives of disadvantaged children and young people across the UK. The new sugary hit at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, which tells the story of a boy from a poor home whose life is turned upside down when he finds a golden ticket in a bar of chocolate, raised £51,120.58 for the appeal.