Claudia Winkelman, one of the hosts of BBC1’s marathon show, Face The Funny, said that it was the highest total that had ever been raised on Red Nose Day. Meanwhile, Richard Curtis, who co-founded Comic Relief with Lenny Henry in 1985, said he was “enormously proud” of the charity’s achievements.
He added: “This is a very strange moment for me. When a bunch of comedians got together all those years ago we dreamed of raising a million or two, and never imagined the generosity that would be shown by the British public for so many years.”
Before the show, which was held for the first time at the London Palladium, the charity had raised £960million since its launch. By the end of the show, the day’s total had exceeded more than £78million, pushing Comic Relief’s fundraising well over the £1billion mark.
Face The Funny was kicked off by Lenny Henry, who has hosted the show since it started in 1988, and featured Dermot O’Leary completing a 24-hour danceathon. The Radio 2 DJ raised more than £643,336 by dancing non-stop outside BBC Broadcasting House in London.
Rowan Atkinson reprised his role as Mr Bean, while Dawn French returned as Geraldine Grainger in The Vicar Of Dibley. The sketch, which saw the Geraldine hoping to become a bishop also featured Harry Potter star Emma Watson, One Foot In The Grave’s Annette Crosbie, actresses Maureen Lipman and Ruth Jones, and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade.
Among the other highlights of the evening were a mockumentary claiming that Daniel Craig’s voice is dubbed in the James Bond films and a One Direction tribute band called No Direction featuring the much more mature assemblage of comedians Johnny Vegas, Patrick Kielty, Vic Reeves, Jack Dee and Mick Helm.
John Bishop, Eddie Izzard, Davina McCall and David Walliam gave Monty Python’s classic Yorkshiremen sketch a modern edge, and there was a special edition of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice which saw four Star Bakers from The Great Comic Relief Bake Off series compete against each other. And it was Victoria Wood who emerged victorious!
As usual, there was a series of short films to remind us of the serious side of Comic Relief’s work, with appeals presented by Peter Capaldi, Olivia Colman, Idris Elba and Lenny Henry.
But one of the most anticipated sketches of the night featured David Walliams returning as his Little Britain character Lou Todd. In the comedy series, Lou was the carer of Andy Pipkin, who usually only ever said “I want that one” and “I know”. But in this one-off skit, Lou was on a day out with none other than Professor Stephen Hawking who turned into a Transformer to attack an Irish nun played by Catherine T