The BBC’s annual Children In Need telethon has raised over £26.7m following this year’s star-studded extravaganza on Friday night.

By 2am on Saturday morning when the seven-hour telethon ended, the total raised was £26,757,446 – narrowly beating the £26.3m raised on the night during the 2011 show.

And the final total is expected to rise further once all the donations have been received.

The show, hosted by Terry Wogan, Fearne Cotton, Tess Daly and Nick Grimshaw, featured performances from the likes of One Direction, Leona Lewis and Susan Boyle – while Girls Aloud also made their long-awaited comeback performing the official Children In Need single Something New.

Other highlights included Lord Sugar paying a visit to Albert Square in an EastEnders spoof, while Russell Grant and Anne Widdecombe took to the floor in a special one-off edition of Strictly Come Dancing.

There was also a sneak preview of the trailer for the festive edition of Doctor Who – featuring new sidekick Jenna-Louise Coleman in her first official appearance.

Wogan also made reference to the current crisis surrounding the BBC in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse allegations.

“As you know by now, we are going to be asking you to help us support disadvantaged children all over the UK,” he said as the show began.

“You have been amazing so many times before and we humbly hope that we can count on your help once more.

“We know that children are vulnerable. In the news in recent weeks there has been an awful reminder of just how true that can be. We have been supporting… victims all of all kinds of abuse, including sexual abuse, for many years now. We will continue to do so.”

The show also featured a film of workers from Children In Need-funded projects who give help and support to young victims of sexual abuse.