Dermot O’Leary will be replacing Sir Terry Wogan as the host of tonight’s Children in Need fundraiser.
Wogan, 77, was forced to pull out for “health reasons” at the last minute after fronting the TV charity extravaganza every year since its launch in 1980.
He is undergoing treatment on his back and is believed to have withdrawn his involvement on doctors’ orders. Wogan said in a statement that he would miss the “wonderful, inspiring evening” but will still be “watching, cheering and donating”.
O’Leary will now lead the event from 7.30-10pm on BBC One, along with Tess Daly, Rochelle Humes, Fearne Cotton and Nick Grimshaw.
“It’s a huge honour to be asked to step into Sir Terry’s shoes tonight; he is one of my broadcasting heroes and has been a source of support for me down the years,” he said.
“I'd like to add my best wishes to Sir Terry for a speedy recovery, and I hope I do him justice and do my small part to make the night a success and make as much money as we can for disadvantaged children across the country.”
O’Leary memorably took part in a 24-hour dance marathon in aid of Comic Relief earlier this year, so seems a natural choice.
A BBC spokesperson said: “We are so sorry that Terry won't be with us as we know how passionate he is about Children in Need.
“But we wish him a very speedy recovery and know he'll be watching from home and enjoying the show.
“We are incredibly grateful to Dermot for stepping in at such short notice but know he'll do us and Sir Terry proud.”
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This year’s show will feature a special Star Wars sketch, with Sherlock’s Martin Freeman, Doctor Who’s David Tennant and singers Ellie Goulding and One Direction all expected to take part.
More than £32.6m was raised during last year’s Children in Need, which in total has raised over £790m for the UK’s children and young people.
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