Comic Relief scores 12.2m viewers

This year’s Comic Relief telethon proved to be a hit with viewers, scoring impressive viewing figures when it took over BBC One on Friday night.

According to overnight figures a peak audience of 12.2m tuned in between 8.15 and 8.30pm as Peter Kay was undertaking his gruelling week-long sit-down challenge for the charity.

And it was a good night for the rest of the broadcast, which attracted an average viewing figure of 9.8m during the first half of the show which ran from 7pm-10pm.

The telethon also pulled in an audience of 4.4m when it switched to BBC Two for half an hour at 10pm – making way for the 10 O’Clock News on BBC One.

However the figures for the second half of the show – which ran from 10.35 until 2am – were understandably lower, with around 2.4m viewers tuning in to its late night slot.

This year’s extravaganza – which also marked the 25th anniversary of Comic Relief – raised over £75m – a record amount for the appeal – to help needy causes both in Africa and at home.

Highlights of the evening included Jessie J raising £500,000 by shaving her head on air, Simon Cowell starring in a wedding sketch with a difference, and the return of the Vicar of Dibley.

Ricky Gervais’s David Brent also made a comeback, appearing in a new ten-minute video focusing on his time since leaving Wernham Hogg, while David Walliams starred in a sketch which saw him confronting all the people he had allegedly slept with in the past year – from Gwyneth Paltrow to Orville The Duck.

Presenters on the night included Michael McIntyre, John Bishop, David Tennant, David Walliams, Jonathan Ross, Davina McCall and Russell Brand.

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