Gary Barlow and Take That will be hosting a special concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall to kick off this year’s BBC Children in Need appeal. Here, the singer-songwriter hints at what people can expect…

What prompted you to organise this special concert for Children in Need?
“A friend of mine at the BBC said they’d never held a concert for Children in Need, so I made some calls and within a week I had half the line-up! Everyone I’ve asked has said yes – Children in Need is such a highly regarded charity that it wasn’t difficult getting acts to sign up. It’s going to be a great show.”

What acts will be performing on the night?
“Top of the bill is Sir Paul McCartney. We’ve also got Lily Allen, Leona Lewis, Dame Shirley Bassey, Mika, Muse, Dizzee Rascal, Paolo Nutini… oh, and Take That! Everyone will be performing an old song and a new song, and there will be four collaborations. There will also be three surprises.”

Might one of the surprises be a certain Mr Robbie Williams?
“You’ll have to keep your eyes peeled, that’s all I can say.”

And what will you and the Take That boys be doing?
“We’ll be doing a couple of duets and a song on our own – it’s going to be a busy night for us! We’ve got the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on stage that night and there will be lots that hasn’t been seen before in this show. But no mechanical elephants!”

Which act are you most looking forward to seeing?
“I think Sir Paul is the one everyone’s looking forward to – all the acts are staying to watch him. To see a Beatle up there is going to be amazing, especially in a small venue like the Royal Albert Hall. I can’t wait to see him.”

Are you surprised by people’s generosity in the current economic climate?
“People give a lot in this country. Children in Need is an all-round good cause; that’s the reason artists don’t hesitate to get involved. I always feel I don’t do enough for charity and I know other artists feel the same. The entire music industry is behind the concert, which sends out a good message.”

What are Take That up to for the rest of 2009?
“We’ve got our Circus Live DVD and CD out at the end of November. We’ve never done a live CD before so it’s a first for us. I think we’ll be around for a while. We’re still enjoying what we’re doing and the shows in the summer were the best we’ve ever done. Why wouldn’t we want to do that again?”

Is it true that Take That are in talks to record the official 2010 World Cup single?
“Do you know what, if it is, no one’s phoned me about it. So if you can give them my number that’ll be great.”

*Children in Need Rocks The Royal Albert Hall is on Thursday, November 19 at 8pm on BBC1.