Comic Relief raises record £75m sum

A record £75m has been raised for Comic Relief following this year’s Red Nose Day – with a star-studded line-up doing their bit for the charity on the annual telethon.

The evening’s entertainment saw comedian Peter Kay travelling the length of the country, Simon Cowell taking part in a wedding with a difference and singer Jessie J raising more than £500,000 by shaving her head.

She described her newly shorn locks as ‘the weirdest feeling’ and added: “It’s so liberating. But this isn’t about this,” she said, pointing to her head, “It’s about donating.”

The show also featured the return of a number of TV favourites including Dawn French’s Vicar Of Dibley – who appeared in a special one-off sketch – and Ricky Gervais as The Office’s David Brent, showing off his new career as a band manager.

The cast of Call the Midwife also appeared in a spoof version of the show, while its star Miranda Hart filled viewers in on her Mad March, during which she undertook a string of challenges to raise money for the cause.

And Simon Cowell’s Comic Relief contribution saw the mogul rejecting advances from the likes of David Walliams, Olly Murs, Louis Walsh and Dermot O’Leary – and to ultimately marry himself.

Meanwhile studio guests on the night included One Direction singing the official Comic Relief song One Way Or Another (Teenage Kicks) – with band member Louis Tomlinson sporting newly dyed red hair for the occasion – while others taking part included James Corden, who reprised his beloved Gavin and Stacey alter ego Smithy, and Hollywood actor Will Ferrell, who appeared in a sketch as Anchorman newsreader Ron Burgundy.

The likes of Kate Moss, Hugh Grant. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ronnie Corbett and Frank Lampard also popped up to do their bit, while a host of personalities took on presenting duties in the studio – including Michael McIntyre, David Tennant, Davina McCall, Claudia Winkleman, John Bishop and Russell Brand.

And Peter Kay revealed highlights from his own intrepid challenge, which involved spending a week sitting down to raise money for the charity.

There was also a serious side to proceedings however, with the comedic highlights interspersed with films of those people the charity helps, from malaria victims in Africa through to victims of domestic violence in the UK/

Lenny Henry kicked off proceedings at 7pm, to mark the 25th anniversary of the telethon.

Appearing in a gold suit festooned with red noses he paid tribute to “25 years of truly incredible fundraising, comedy and truly incredible suits.”


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