Coronation Street, arguably television’s most famous road, welcomes one of Britain’s biggest pop stars for ITV’s Text Santa appeal on Friday 20 December, when Girls Aloud singer Cheryl Cole appears in a sketch specially written to raise money for Text Santa’s six chosen charities.
Scriptwriters have penned a storyline that sees Cheryl Cole arrive in Weatherfield and head for the Rovers Return, looking for her childhood friend, barmaid Tina. Cheryl expects to be travelling home to Newcastle with Tina for her mum’s Christmas party, but this is Coronation Street where nothing ever goes to plan.
Appearing with Cheryl will be Corrie regulars including Tina (Michelle Keegan) Steve (Simon Gregson), Michelle (Kym Marsh), and Kirk (Andy Whyment).
Cheryl said: “It (Coronation Street) has always been part of my life, we’d all watch it as kids every night. It’s surreal to be part of something I’ve watched my whole life. It’s great to be able to support six wonderful charities and I really hope that this year’s appeal makes a difference to many lives.”
Presented by Ant & Dec, Phillip Schofield & Holly Willoughby and Christine Bleakley & Paddy McGuinness, Text Santa kicks off with a spectacular all-singing, all-dancing opening. The Text Santa entertainment extravaganza will feature an exclusive performance by Robbie Williams. Plus other special guest performances to be announced shortly.
Throughout the night, there will be emotional true-life films from the six UK based charities, who will benefit from all money raised, with guest celebrities telling the viewers about the moving stories. Suranne Jones highlights the work of Age UK; Colin Salmon speaks up for Barnardo’s; Amanda Holden visits the people behind BeatBullying; Jonathan Ross examines the work of the British Heart Foundation; Richard E Grant profiles CLIC Sargent; Jim Carter explains the role of Help the Hospices.
December sees the launch of the Text Santa online Advent Calendar, with exclusive messages and behind-the-scenes footage including Corrie stars preparing for ‘Fairytale In Weatherfield’ and Strictly’s Len Goodman and choreographer Arlene Phillips provide tips for Christmas Dancing. Boyzone share their favourite Christmas moments and an insider’s peek at the Text Santa photo shoot.
Viewers can make donations throughout the appeal via text; thanks to Text Santa partner Vodafone by using their JustTextGiving service, which ensures 100% of your donation goes directly to Text Santa and lets you add Gift Aid easily. Vodafone will also be operating the landline technology on the night, and taking calls if viewers want to donate by phone. Text Santa’s banking partner, Santander will be getting behind the appeal by taking donations in their 1,200 branches as well as offering this year’s ‘must have’ Christmas accessory, the Text Santa character pin badges, Holly, Rudy and Tinsel. Donations can also be made online at itv.com/textsanta. To donate £5 text SANTA to 70070.100% of donations raised will be distributed equally between the six charities.
** Texts cost £5. Full details, charity numbers & terms can be found at www.itv.com/textsanta, stv.tv and u.tv. You should be 16+. Please ask the bill payer’s permission. Closes 10.01.14 at 5pm.