Claudia Winkleman gears up for Sport Relief

Claudia Winkleman reveals what to expect from Sport Relief’s Night of TV on March 19 – and how the smallest donations can make the biggest difference…

You’ve recently returned from Bangladesh, where you made a short film for Sport Relief. Tell us about your trip.

“It was incredibly difficult but it was also a good thing to do. I met lots of children who work for a living, they are very young but it soon becomes apparent that it’s the lucky ones that have jobs because they are earning money and they can feed themselves. There are lots of unlucky children who have to pick through rubbish dumps to find things they can sell in order to feed their brothers and sisters. When you watch these films at home you think these people lives must be awful but actually being there and seeing it is something else.”

Last year, Sport Relief raised £28 million – do you think we can top that total this year, even in a recession?

“I hope we can. What’s extraordinary about the great British public is that just when things are tough, people realise things are tougher elsewhere and they give more. I’ve manned the phones before and, more often than not, it’s people who don’t have a lot that are ringing up and donating £10 or £20. It’s an amazing thing.”

Do small donations really make a difference to the work Sport Relief can do?

“What’s amazing about Sport Relief is that they make £1 stretch so far. In a country like Bangladesh, it costs less than £5 to pay for school stationary for a week, and to pay for a teacher costs less than £10 a week. So, the smallest amount of money can make the biggest difference.”

What are some of the highlights we can expect to see on Sport Relief’s Night of TV?

“I’m going to be there on night with Davina McCall, Gary Lineker, Richard Hammond, James Corden, Fearne Cotton. There’s a Strictly Come Dancing Special, A Question of Sport Relief and Sport Relief Does MasterChef. There’s also an Ashes To Ashes Special and lots of hilarious sketches featuring Smithy (James Corden) from Gavin and Stacey. If you provide people with really good entertainment, they’ll want to put their hands in their pockets. People might think: ‘James Corden made me laugh, I’ll give a tenner!'”

Will you be doing anything else for Sport Relief?

“I’m definitely doing the Sport Relief Mile, which takes place after the Night of TV on Sunday, March 21. I’m not very good at exercise so I’ll be walking it very slowly – possibly in high heels!”

*Sport Relief’s Night on TV starts from 7pm on Friday March 19, with coverage on both BBC1 and BBC2*

To donate, go to or call 03457 910 910.