A spokesperson for the BBC has confirmed that Pudsey Bear has been admitted to hospital after suffering from liver failure during rehearsals for Friday night’s Children In Need TV marathon.

In a brief statement, the BBC also confirmed that he is in a ‘critical condition’ and is currently surrounded by close family at an undisclosed private hospital.

A source at Television House told Southend News Network’s Chief Reporter that concerns were raised during rehearsals this evening after Mr Bear had arrived in London looking ‘far yellower than usual.’

He added: ‘We have known for a number of years that he has been battling a heavy drinking problem, but today he arrived in the studio looking almost the same colour as a copy of the Yellow Pages – he stank of booze and couldn’t even read the autocue properly.’

‘He disappeared to take a toilet break at around 7pm, and the production team found him hunched over a toilet about 45 minutes later.’

‘Fortunately, we have been able to get Superted to stand in for Pudsey on the big night, and everyone at the BBC would like the wish him well in his recovery.’

With Pudsey’s health starting to decline in recent years, a number of executives at the BBC have called for the charity marathon to take the same approach as Comic Relief and become a bi-annual event.