Star-studded sketches help Comic Relief raise over £31m on Red Nose Day

A host of sketch comedy, musical performances and a special message from the Prince of Wales helped raise nearly £32m for Comic Relief, it was announced at the end of the BBC live broadcast.

The charity fundraiser, hosted at Salford’s MediaCity on BBC One, saw presenters David Tennant, AJ Odudu, Joel Dommett, Paddy McGuinness and Zoe Ball directing the event.

The opening credits saw Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry regenerate into Doctor Who star Tennant, following a sketch that showed him feeling ill in his dressing room and calling out for a “doctor”.

Tennant, 51, said: “For the first time in Comic Relief history, we will be flying without our captain, Sir Lenny Henry.

“He’s in the middle of another project, but before he regenerated, he made a little movie for us and you’ll see that later.”

The evening’s comedy skits included sketch never-before-seen Eurovision audition clips in which chat show host Graham Norton, Eurovision winner Lulu and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder judged to find the Eurovision entrant for the UK for this year.

After facetiming Abba singer and Eurovision winner Bjorn Ulvaeus, the sketch saw comedian Miranda Hart sing and dance badly to Mariah Carey’s Hero, while Fifty Shades Of Gray actor Jamie Dornan, she had “lost her voice” and was holding large cards with the words to Adele’s Something on it. Like you.

Singer Fleur East also appeared in the skit in which Norton described her as a “runner up” following her appearance on X Factor and other reality shows, and saw her humorously leave the stage.

TV chef Gordon Ramsay played the recorder and comedian David Walliams, clad in a leather suit, sang Survivor’s Eye Of The Tiger and played his own “golden chime”, referencing Britain’s Got Talent.

There were also performances by Zara Larsson, Tony Hadley, Bono, Richard “Dick” McCourt and Dominic “Dom” Wood, Cheryl Baker and Bucks Fizz, a Dalek from Doctor Who and French TV star Fred Sirieix posing as British.

Dermot O’Leary was placed outside to give hugs to the contestants, in reference to his previous role on X Factor, and the judges left before Ed Sheeran auditioned with a song called To Love Is To Win.

O’Leary later teamed up with Jamie Demetriou’s Stath Charalambos and the cast of Stath Lets Flats for a sketch. In the skit, the bumbling real estate agent gave an incredulous O’Leary a special “sponsored flat tour.”

After failing to lease the property to O’Leary, Stath and company persuaded him to use his “X-Factor connections” to help them produce a charity single for Comic Relief featuring former X Factor contestants Honey G, Ben Haenow, Stevi Ritchie and Andy. Abraham.

Another sketch comedy saw pop superstar Kylie Minogue appear with the cast of the BBC sitcom Ghosts.

The singer and her live agent, played by Tanya Moodie, arrived at the haunted Button House to see if it was a suitable concert venue, shocking the supernatural inhabitants.

Minogue was forced to “prove” that she was the real deal to the skeptical ghosts, though she ultimately chose a different haunted location, with a guest appearance from her Neighbors co-star Jason Donovan.

The 54-year-old went on to sing her hit song I Should Be So lucky.

Sir Tony Robinson also reprized his famous role as Blackadder Baldrick’s goofy sidekick in a Comic Relief skit in which the 76-year-old read a humorous Cinderella-inspired tale.

Sir Tony Robinson returned as the character of Baldrick to read a bedtime story during Friday night’s Comic Relief (BBC/Comic Relief/PA)

Newscasters such as Clive Myrie, Kay Burley, Huw Edwards and Naga Munchetty, as well as Susanna Reid, Piers Morgan and Richard Madeley, also appeared during a skit featuring the UK’s most serious people cracking jokes.

The evening’s musical performances were led by Swedish singer Larsson with a rendition of the new song Can’t Tame Her and girl group B*Witched sang the fan favorite C’est La Vie while host Paddy McGuinness performed Irish dances alongside dancers dressed as shamrocks in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Meanwhile, the cast of Mrs Doubtfire The Musical gave their first UK performance of Make Me A Woman from the new stage show and Tom Grennan closed the show with the new song You’re Not Alone.

Musical comedy duo Flo and Joan, whose real names are Nicola and Rosie Dempsey, also poked fun at Comic Relief in a catchy song that rattles off memorable moments from past years.

Another comedy sketch saw several famous faces also appear in a parody of the popular BBC show The Traitors for Comic Relief.

Red Nose Day 2023

Dame Mary Berry, Claudia Winkleman, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (Comic Relief/PA)

Comedian Dawn French posed as Claudia Winkleman, the “half woman, half fringe” host, joined by This Morning host Alison Hammond, actor Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Olympic swimmer Ellie Simmonds.

TV star Big Zuu, comedian Rosie Jones and Stephen Merchant gathered for a panel discussion alongside Danny Dyer, who appeared as EastEnders’ Mick Carter, to decide who was the traitor.

Series one contestants Maddy and Wilf also appeared in the skit, along with comedians Jennifer Saunders, Anne Robinson and Dame Mary Berry.

Meanwhile, People Just Do Nothing comedian Asim Chaudhry reprized his role as Chabuddy G to star in a Love Island spoof where his character was an explosive contestant entering the famous villa.

In the skit, Chabuddy G described himself as the “kebab shop heartthrob” in his introduction before walking into the villa in a leopard print outfit voiced by Iain Stirling.

After taking contestant Ava on a date, he “grossed out” while talking about an ex-girlfriend and was also forced to sleep outside after locking himself in the yard.

The presenter Maya Jama entered the village for a reunion ceremony in which Chabuddy chose himself “because self-esteem is very important”, disqualifying himself from the reality show.

“If you can’t love yourself, then you can’t love anyone else. The island of self-love,” she said.

At the end of the live broadcast, the hosts of Comic Relief announced that the show had raised £31,952,141 so far, which is £8 million less than the total at the same point in the show last year.

Comic Relief Red Nose Day is a UK charity seeking a “just world, free from poverty” and was co-founded by Richard Curtis and Sir Lenny in 1985.

This year, the fundraiser will support people battling the cost of living crisis and address issues like homelessness, mental health issues and food poverty.

Sir Lenny appeared at the end of the Comic Relief broadcast in an appeal to help starving African communities. The comedian showed a montage of clips from his recent trips to Africa with the charity.

Red Nose Day 2023

Sir Lenny Henry wearing the new transforming red nose, in support of Red Nose Day 2023 (Richard Davenport/Comic Relief/PA)

“The only good thing was that I saw for myself how the communities came together and how you came together with incredible generosity,” he said.

“Everyone seemed to understand that we all have an equal right to dignity and security, and we can actually help. It’s something we can all be proud of.”

He added: “I was very young when I went to Somalia all those years ago. I was in my 30s.

“But I think what I said then still rings true to me now. Forget geography. These are your neighbors.

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