There's a bit of a recession on, you may have noticed - so should we expect a record-breaking year? Probably not on the night itself, but we'll find out over the next few hours. Either way, it's still the biggest variety line-up of the year, an excuse to be a bit silly, and all for a very worthy cause.
First up is a special edition of The One Show, which seems like an odd way to kick things off, but you never know, they might have Sir Terry Wogan as a special guest host...
Ah, apparently it's not Children in Need time yet, there seems to be a 30-minute countdown clock on the screen... seriously BBC One, make your mind up! With that in mind, I'm gonna make sure I've got my beer and schnapps within arm's reach - a shot for every million pounds raised, until I'm drunk enough to donate more than I can afford.
Meanwhile, here's a photo of Matt Baker and Pudsey the Bear on a rickshaw...
12 minutes till the main show, and Matt Baker's already single-handedly raised over £1.2 million. That's not a bad effort, by any means. Well done Matt! And he's straight back into presenting The One Show, too. What a hero.
And this is your five-minute warning... shot glasses at the ready if you're playing along with the drinking game. Just don't get so drunk that you forget to donate...
It's time for the main show! And, finally, Sir Terry Wogan. Good evening to you, sir.
Oo, who's hanging on his arm for the first part of the show...? It's the holy trinity of Tess Daly, Alesha Dixon and Fearne Cotton, in matching metallic frocks. Looking good, girls!
And it's One Direction, again. Good things to say about this: 1, at least they'll be out of the way pretty early in the night, and 2, at least this isn't the official Children in Need single for this year. Although it's probably better than the god-awful cover of Teardrop that 'The Collective' have actually released. Oh dear.
If you actually like One Direction, you can get What Makes You Beautiful on iTunes.
As for Teardrop, well, The Collective are an all-star line-up and it's good to see Children in Need is keeping up with the times. You can buy Teardrop on iTunes, safe in the knowledge that your money is going to a very worthy cause.
It's fast-paced tonight, barely ten minutes into the main show and we're already into a Wizard of Oz mash-up. Michael Crawford showing the One Direction boys how you stay in the game for decades at a time.
Olly Murs tells Ella's story, and reminds us of why we're watching in the first place with an appeal on behalf of a nursery for children with various disabilities or special needs.
Obscure goings-on in the north-west: "I've found his head." "That's not his head, that's a cake!" No, I don't know either.
Here we go, into the new hour. And it's John Craven with this year's Countryfile calendar. How much did they raise? £560,000, says John - although it says £504,000 in massive digits behind him. Either way, it's a potful of money for Children in Need!
Oo, the first total of the night - how much have they raised so far? This could be a few shots already, eek...
The most ever raised by the first total, says Terry - surely they can't keep up that kind of pace all night??
Right, so I'm off to down four shots of schnapps (while I can still say it) and I'll leave you in the capable hands of the BBC newsreaders and their Strictly Come Dancing special.
I've interrupted my schnapps-downing to say that if Sophie Raworth was grinding against me like that, I don't think I'd be able to dance. Dan disagrees - he's more of a Susanna Reid fan, apparently. And a special mention for Angela Rippon, a genuinely classy lady and very gracious despite only being given about half a second to speak. What a lady!
And Susanna wins, so I guess Dan was right after all. He usually is.
The total's in from Greggs and it's over £1 million - cheers Greggs, I'll be having a shot for you at the next total.
Is it time for Doctor Who yet? More importantly, Dan wants to know if there'll be any Pond...??
No Pond, but you can bid for The Doctor's bow-tie? Bow-ties are cool! Although Dan suggests it would have been better if Pond's clothes had disappeared. Then again, they seem to do that every week...
As we enter a new half-hour, it's almost time for a classic Children in Need mass choir effort. I can't remember them doing this in earnest since that year the kids all had to hold squares of coloured card over their heads to make a massive patchwork Pudsey picture... back when they were using the good old Children in Need anthem "We are the children...". Pull this off, guys, and you'll make a long-time Children in Need fan very happy indeed.
Well, it's fair to say that was a pretty impressive effort, well done 2,000 or so random children!
Aw, and Alesha Dixon bows out at 8:42pm. Not a bad effort though, Alesha - well done, m'lovely. Who's up next then? Tess? Fearne? We'll find out after another local update.
A full five minutes later, we finally find out that it's Tess to support Sir Tel through this stint - and there's a bit of slightly odd flirting between the pair of them. Eek.
I like the kids from Outnumbered, so you're not gonna hear a bad word from me on this one. Given that it's been about ten years, they've done an awfully good job of making them all look like they've never aged.
And we haven't mentioned the number for a while, so if you want to donate, here it is:
Another pre-recorded segment - time for something else live soon, I hope? - but it's the fairly epic DIY SOS shown a week ago. We watched the whole thing and it was a genuine achievement, and quite moving too. Well done, guys.
And the total raised via DIY SOS text donations:
We're moving past the watershed now, and there's still only been one totaliser. How much has been raised?? Nobody knows, but maybe we'll find out soon.
Time to find out what Radio 2 have been doing, anyway. Any face-painting? Everyone else has been face-painting, it seems. No mention of face-painting, as far as I could tell.
Chris Evans' listeners add a further £1.2 million to the pot, taking the Radio 2 contribution over £2 million. And it's totaliser time! Here goes...
That's... £2.2 million from Radio 2 and Greggs, and another £2 million or so raised on the night? Steady going, but there's still plenty of time...
Time for a Chicago song and dance routine from Gok Wan, and time for us to do another four shots of schnapps here - that was a close-run thing on hitting £9 million just then...!
Gok: "Getting women naked - easy. Song and dance - terrifying."
Sir Terry: "I never found getting women naked easy, myself."
Time for an appeal from Jo Joyner. "Harry weighed 1lb 6oz when he was born." He was later diagnosed with cerebral palsy. There's not a lot else to say, is there? Steps, an educational centre near Loughborough, supports children with motor disorders. Donate or pledge tonight, and you can help support them too.
Straight into the EastEnders montage, and it's a swift change of mood. Unless it's just laughable... I'm not really sure. Obligatory everybody-headbanging to Bohemian Rhapsody, and is that Ian Beale in drag? Yep, apparently so.
A regional round-up, and then The Muppets! It's very nearly 9:30pm, and it's an all-star Mah Na Mah Na (find the original Muppets version on The Green Album) - and that's another half-hour over.
Oh Christ, Daniel Craig introduces a film we're warned will be painful to watch. I'm gonna watch it. You should too.
"Two of their ten beds are empty, because they can't afford to run them." Please donate, if you can.
Susan Boyle seems to be skirting around the tune of this one a bit - is that what the second line's supposed to sound like? Maybe... maybe. It's not important, anyway.
If SuBo moved you to tears, you can download Enjoy the Silence from iTunes.
And we're on to Dragons' Den versus The Apprentice. Well, just Sir Lord Alan Sugar. What a massive Sir Lord.
He does have a good product, though - the AmsBear, a wireless integrated Pudsey? I want one. I'd want my ringtone to be the proper Children in Need anthem, though - we are the children, we are the meek. Jackpot.
Oh dear, another £2.5 million - was that thanks to Children in Need Rocks Manchester? This is gonna involve a lot of schnapps, in the not-so-distant future. Still, well done Gary Barlow!
And another emotional appeal from Gary Barlow himself, showing the valuable work done by Children in Need.
Now it's time for The Collective to perform Teardrop, the official Children in Need single for this year. It's a bit street for my tastes, but you never know, the kids might like it.
It might just be me, but was Tulisa even audible for any of that? We could barely hear her speak at the end there...
Just ahead of the hour, it's totaliser time.
That's a massive seven shots of schnapps here, so things might get a bit hazy after 10pm. Speaking of which, it's time to switch to BBC2.
...and we're on the other side. Lots of screaming... oh Christ, what? One Direction are back again? What did I do to deserve this? The useless scrotes... OK, schnapps time here.
In the meantime, if you're a One Direction fan, you can download Gotta Be You from iTunes.
This could be interesting - an extract from a documentary screened earlier this year. Could be tough to watch, as well. But that's the point.
10:13pm and Fearne Cotton's here, hurrah! I love you, Fearne Cotton. And I love your dress. In fact, all three frocks tonight have looked like that one Donna Air wore a few weeks ago and got slated for... a trend-setter once again, Donna.
And we're into a special Never Mind The Buzzcocks, which is chance for me to have the two more schnapps I need to keep up with that last total... this is a pretty sweet line-up though, Claire Richards, Shaun Williamson and... oh, Arlene Phillips and the drummer from McFly. Come on, Noel's team!
Alesha Dixon takes us into a new half-hour with the age-old tale of kids doing The Wrong Thing because there's nothing better to do. It's so easy to give them something else, something better - and it doesn't cost the world. Are your children safe tonight? What would you give to make sure of that?
Oh, it's the audience changeover, the moment when the tired early shift go home and the half-twatted latecomers show up.
Hello, Ed Sheeran. I'm not sure I like you, but I do love your song. Readers, if you like it too, you can download The A Team on iTunes.
Wait, hang on, this isn't The A Team. What's he singing? Oh, it's Lego House. I don't like this one as much as The A Team, but that's OK, it's not all about me.
10:39pm - Let the record show that BBC2 went off air before BBC One came back, leaving us in a Children in Need wasteland for a full minute!
So, here's JLS with their new single... no, wait, hang on, it's a rip-off of that classic Christmas song. Saints alive! Never mind, you can get it here. Oh, and it seems to be called Do You Feel What I Feel?, but I'm not so sure about that.
Dan reckons Hollyoaks can't sing. I think he might be right. And I wish they'd sung "Oak You", rather than "Forget You". But that's just me. If you're a fan of the original, get it here.
Almost 11pm, and Sir Terry Wogan's doing a little speech. I love you, Sir Terry Wogan.
Oh, it's Daniel Craig again, with Elliot's story. I'm not even sure how to spell his name. That seems strangely tragic in itself. Please donate if you can - 03457 33 22 33. For Elliot Wild.
Westlife take us into the new hour. Surely everyone out there already owns You Raise Me Up, on a compilation if not a Westlife album? (Or, heavens be blessed, the CD single??). If not, you can get it here.
Time for a total, and if my eyes don't deceive me, I do believe it's:
So we'll be doing four more shots, while Vic and Bob do some street magic. This should be good... and there's that guy Dynamo, too. We're left wondering whether Vic Reeves might secretly be quite good at close-up magic. Nice one, Vic.
Jessie J with a hard-hitting story of young love turned into gang rape, basically. It's hard to dress that up as anything better - and, in fact, it wasn't anything better, it was as horrible as that sounds. Fearne asks, "do you feel angry? Frustrated? Helpless? Well you're not helpless..." Your donations can change this, give young people who have been hurt the help that they need and deserve. Donate now.
It's Olly Murs, with Rizzle Kicks. I didn't like Murs much, but y'know what? I've been watching The Xtra Factor, and he seems like a decent chap. So that's good. If you're a fan, Heart Skips A Beat is on iTunes here.
David Tennant with the story of Nathan, son of Keith (I think), who is living with Asperger's Syndrome. It's a disorder on the autism spectrum - and you know what? To me, it seems quite manageable. So chuck in a few donations, and let's make a difference. It doesn't have to be hopeless.
Hey, it's Steps! Their record-breaking linedance to 5,6,7,8 is still one of my all-time great Children in Need moments (and 5,6,7,8 was the first single I ever bought) so I won't pretend this isn't an awesome medley for me. Enjoy!
Hello, The Saturdays. You're all looking pretty good - and I don't usually think that. Blonde one, you look really stunning, but Frankie's still my favourite, I think.
Oo, a special Russell Howard's Good News? Oh, it's a clip show, but that's OK, I guess. I love this show, even clips I've seen before are still great!
Ah, a special mention for the clips of Sir Jimmy Savile. It feels like New Year's Eve, or the Baftas, when they show the montage of all the people who've died this year. I met Sir Jimmy once, when I was little. He was a true gentleman and I can clearly remember my conversation with him. He would want to support children across the country, for sure, so if you remember him fondly, give tonight in Sir Jimmy's name.
Dan's happy, Karen Gillan's finally turned up. We're agreed that childhood cancer AND being a Man Utd fan is a cruel double blow for any child. Seriously, 03457 33 22 33 to pledge what you can, and support work in Great Britain and over in Northern Ireland.
Nearing the midnight hour, and the cast of Crazy For You are here. Personally, I was hoping for a live performance from Let Loose, but that's OK. It seems a little harsh that the musical casts tend to get brought out so late in the night - but I suppose that's the way of the world.
Eek, it's time for a grand total... prepare the schnapps...!
Two more hours to go, and we're on 22 shots of schnapps here. Yikes.
Luckily we're into post-midnight repeats territory, it's Outnumbered and then Will's story, introduced by Gary Barlow. As hard-hitting as it was earlier in the night, but you don't need me to hold your hand through it - we've been here before, right?
And I'm welling up, not for the first time tonight, as Adele sings Make You Feel My Love. Get it here, if you're one of the few people left who don't already have it downloaded or on CD.
The briefest of appeals from Downton Abbey, and we're into a rerun of Children in Need Strictly Come Dancing. This is well and truly repeats territory, people - if you're still with us, you're truly committed to the cause!
12:24am, and it's finally time for Matt Cardle. I'm not judging - he had enough of that on The X Factor, and there's something truly admirable about the performers who wait up into the early hours to perform live. It's actually a decent song, even if I suspect it was written with half a mind towards using the instrumental version as The X Factor backing music...
Run for Your Life on iTunes.
And we move into a new half-hour with Tulisa, Matt Cardle and Jessie J's various tales of woe. It's a triple-whammy of tragedy, and a stark reminder of the importance of the work done by Children in Need.
What the fuck? Is that Justin Lee Collins?? I've never wanted him more... or, wait, is it just a blonde chick from Rock of Ages? She looks pretty amazing, either way. This could be the best medley of the night so far.
And straight from that (was that Shayne Ward, too? I'm not really totally sure... it's been a long night) into a rerun of The Muppets' Mah Na Mah Na. Brilliant.
Sometimes when I see Lady Gaga singing a fairly stripped-back version of Edge of Glory, I have to wonder whether Stefani Germanotta would prefer for that to be her full-time persona. It's a fine song, and she sings it well. Add a million gimmicks into the mix though, and I'm not so sure.
If you like Edge of Glory - and I'm very much with you, if you do - you can get it here.
Another rerun, this time of the EastEnders Queen medley, and again it's linked straight with Jo Joyner's moving appeal. I mean, I know she's from EastEnders, but I find her particularly moving, not because of the character she plays, but because she's a real-life mum, and it's obvious how much she cares about other families. I hope her appeal isn't undermined by being linked with an EastEnders singalong every time.
Into the final hour, still with us? Will Young's raced over from his Cambridge gig, what a hero. I suspect, from the lyrics, that he's singing Come On - if so, you can get it here.
And it's total time - Dan, you chose the right moment to go to bed, heaven only knows how many shots are about to be required.
Two more shots. Only two?? Come on people, we can give more than that! One last big push for Children in Need. Come on.
And it's a rerun of Dragons' Den vs Alan Sugar - and a chance for me to send in a donation, I suspect.
Professor Green - and you know what, the more I hear this song, the more I like Emeli Sande. It's a pretty powerful song, even when it's not in the middle of a Children in Need appeal. Get it here.
Another rerun, this time of Gok Wan. I'm off to donate again...
OK, donated. Another rerun, this time the Children in Need choir singing Avril Lavigne's Keep Holding On. An epic effort, and if you want the original, you can get it here.
Coming up on 1:30am, and it's time for some highlights of Children in Need Rocks Manchester. But also, if you want to donate £5 via your phone bill, text DONATE to 70705. Y'know what? Even if you've donated already, just text it. Do it once. It probably won't break the bank for you, but it could change a life somewhere else.
Harley. Your story is not easy to see or hear, by any means. But you're an inspiration to all of us. I raise a glass to you, my friend.
Oh shit. I'm definitely not emotionally equipped for One Day Like This right now, but Elbow, I'm glad to see you once again.
I'm both sad and relieved that they cut that song off halfway through - I would have been in floods of tears by the end, without a doubt. Can't see that happening with JLS, funnily enough...
At this point, I'd like to say, courtesy of Leigh Baird, that this is the best Children in Need ever, full of tears, love and laughter. I'd agree with that sentiment, no questions asked - well, the latter part at least. Is it the best Children in Need ever? I suppose that's measured purely by the amount raised, and that's well on track to break the records.
Wow, it's hard to believe we're approaching the last 15 minutes of the show. Almost all that's left is the inevitable montage of great moments from the night so far, and the final total. More than ever, I hope it's huge. I've seen Children in Need fail to break its previous record only once, and Sir Terry's "It's OK" speech was one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever seen or heard.
We're in the depths of a recession, as everyone knows - but to think that we might be able to give more than ever, even in these straitened times, would be an incredible notion. Please, please, please. Please? We'll find out soon enough.
And yet there's still time for a live performance, Caro Emerald with A Night Like This. She's good, too - these performances are why it's always, always worth staying up till the last moments of Children in Need. Love the song? You can get it here.
Sigh. It's the montage. Parts I'd forgotten. Parts I'm not yet ready to let go of. I can't tell you how much this night means to me each year. I can't give much, but I give what I can afford - and I know many of you do too. Every year, it's an unprecedented outpouring of generosity. Well done, all of you.
And we're coming up on the end of the night, so it must be time for the final total. Place your bets now on what it may have reached...
OK, here we go... the final total is:
Sir Terry says these are tough times, and to come together to give more than ever - well, that's enough for anybody. Fearne mostly sticks to a simple "goodnight!" but, as the camera shot fades out at 2am, she turns and hugs Sir Terry, and I properly lose it for the first time tonight.
Truthfully, it's not that much more than the previous total, but it's still a record-breaker. And that brief glimpse of Sir Terry and Fearne embracing sums up how much it means to the people who give up their time for free. Some of you will never really care about Children in Need, and that's OK. But some of you feel every year's total, feel it like a new benchmark in your life, a measure of whether the world's headed in the right direction or not.
I love Children in Need. I love the principle of it more than the good work that it does. I love Sir Terry Wogan, I always loved Gaby Roslin, and I've learned to love Fearne Cotton and Tess Daly - and, this year, Alesha Dixon.
I love that it's 2:08am before we join the BBC News channel, because, presumedly, Children in Need overran. And it should overrun, shouldn't it? Heaven forbid the year Children in Need is cut off early in order to switch to the 24-hour news...
So yes, it's the end of the night. If you stuck it out to the end, well done. If you joined us during this live blog, thank you. And if you donated - you have changed the world. You may never know exactly how, but you have had an indelible positive impact on a child's life, and for that you should be very proud.
Goodnight, you excellent, excellent British people.