The BBC has banned Children in Need’s Pudsey Bear from being alone with kids over fears of “improper conduct” accusations.
Dozens of Beeb staff nationwide are expected to dress up as the mascot and his pal Blush for Friday’s TV charity spectacular, hosted by Terry Wogan. The BBC’s guidelines include not initiating hugs because “a handshake or a wave is better”. The bears should also keep hands visible in pictures and never be left alone with children.
They must not approach kids and each will be accompanied by a “companion” who will “act as your eyes and ears and answer any questions”. The mascots must also never sit down with children or hold them, for “health and safety” reasons. The rules add that Pudsey and Blush “would never kiss or cuddle as they are not boyfriend and girlfriend (so please make sure your heads never touch)”.
A source said: “Everyone is being extra careful after everything that has happened. These rules are to protect everyone.” A BBC spokeswoman denied that the Savile scandal meant Pudsey must now shake hands with children instead of hugging them. “These guidelines were last updated in August 2011 and have not changed since,” she said.