Stars line up for Children in Need

SUFFOLK stars will be at Ipswich Regent on Sunday night for a show in aid of Children in Need. EMMA LEE spoke to BBC Look East presenter Stewart White about what the night holds in store and JAMES MARSTON asked singer Nate James.

SUFFOLK stars will be at Ipswich Regent on Sunday night for a show in aid of Children in Need. EMMA LEE spoke to BBC Look East presenter Stewart White about what the night holds in store and JAMES MARSTON asked singer Nate James.

Co-presenting BBC Look East's nightly show, its anchorman Stewart White always seems cool, calm and collected.

But despite having more than 20 years' experience of working on live TV programmes, he admits that he's a little nervous at the prospect of taking to the stage at the Ipswich Regent Theatre on Sunday.

Stewart, a household name in the region, is hosting an evening of light entertainment to raise money for Children in Need. Billed as “Parkinson meets Pudsey Bear” a galaxy of stars from stage and screen, including Suffolk actress Ruthie Henshall, Steve Harley and the Operababes, are giving their time for free to put on a stellar night's entertainment.

“It's very different doing a show in front of a live audience. I've presented things like the EDP Business Awards before but nothing really like this. On Saturday I'll be thinking of all the things that can go right rather than what can go wrong. But I'm going to be surrounded by people who are very talented and used to doing it,” he smiles.

Stewart will also be chatting with Ipswich Town boss Jim Magilton - plus, as it's the day of the East Anglian derby, hopefully a representative from Carrow Road too.

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More music will come from author Louis De Bernieres who will be playing with his band and up and coming singer-songwriter Nate James, and members of Cambridge Footlights will be treading the boards.

Sunny Look East weathergirl Julie Reinger will be looking after the Children in Need mascot Pudsey Bear - and there could be one or two other special guests.

Stewart warns that it might not all be a treat for your ears, though.

“I'm thinking of putting two big dustbins in the foyer at the theatre - one to put your money in if you want me to sing, and one for if you don't want me to sing, and whichever raises the most money I'll do. It's not a pretty sound - my singing is awful. If I do end up singing it'll have to be a song by someone who doesn't have a good voice themselves,” he joked.

“But if we fill the theatre, or even half fill it we'll make loads of money for Children in Need.”

As well as hosting an Evening with Stewart White, he will once more be presenting the east's regional segments on Children in Need night, which this year is on November 16. The BBC East team started planning this year's coverage back in the spring.

The outside broadcast is going to be coming from Tattersall's auctioneers in Newmarket and fittingly, given the location, jockey Frankie Dettori is going to be among the guests. But, as Stewart points out, the real VIPs are going to be those that have given up their time to raise money to help the country's disadvantaged young people.

“I think this will be my 23rd Children in Need,” he said. “The east is a very generous region and the important thing is that people who raise money get the chance to come along and present their cheques - we get everyone, from kids who've given up their pocket money to people who've been dressed up as nuns all day. That's what makes it special for me - people work so hard to raise money and I like to get as many people on telly as I can.”

He says that he has collected some fond memories of Children in Need night over the years - and the key to keeping cool under pressure is to expect the unexpected.

“It's very different to presenting Look East. Because Look East is news-based there's a degree of formality to it. Children in Need is more like being on the radio, more free-form,” he explains.

“We used to have the street party outside our old BBC building in All Saints Green. We've had some funny things happen. We used to have people lying on beds of nails, people dressed in all sorts of strange costumes, someone bungee jumping in the car park. I always really enjoy it. And you can see from the films that are made how well-used the money is. And a little goes a long way for a lot of organisations, so Children in Need is able to help a lot of people.”


Children in Need day is Friday November 16. If you have a fundraising idea visit Tell us what you're up to by phoning the Newsdesk on 01473 324789.

NATE James said today looking forward to a night in Ipswich.

He said: “I'm really looking forward to it. It will be good to get out of London.”

Joining the line up, Nate said he'll perform a couple of songs including hit Back To You.

The former Suffolk boy added: “For me it will be coming back to my home town. I'll do some songs from my old albums and a few from my new album. It will be an evening of music and fun.”

Speaking from his home in East London, the 28-year-old said he is happy to support Children In Need.

He added: “I watch it every year. I am happy to donate my time for such a great cause.”

Nate spent the summer performing abroad including Nice's Jazz Festival, the Festivalbar in Sicily and the Venice Music Awards. “I performed alongside Sly and The Family Stone,” said Nate, “those guys are some of my all-time idols.”

He returned to discover he's up for two gongs at the upcoming Urban Music Awards including Best Album for Kingdom Falls. The follow up album to 150,000 selling debut Set The Tone features a stunning set of songs and has been described as 'glorious', 'fantastic', 'masterful' and even a 'masterpiece' by UK critics.

This winter, Nate is on a series of high profile gigs across the country, then headlines the Indigo O2 in Greenwich on December 4.

Do you have an unfulfilled ambition?

“To swim with dolphins.”

What's the highlight of your career?

“Winning an international artists award in Italy.”

What's your most embarrassing moment?

“Getting stuck at the back of the stage when I was singing in a concert when I was 8.”

Tell us something about yourself which our readers won't know?

“I was a student at Suffolk College.”

What's your diva demand in the dressing room?

“I'm not very rock and roll. I like a hot honey and lemon though.”

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