Comic Relief announces total of more than £19m at show’s halfway point
Professional dancer Oti Mabuse has announced the total raised on Comic Relief is just shy of £20 million at the midway point of the show.
The three-hour live annual charity fundraiser has seen comedy sketches, musical performances and a special message from the Prince of Wales with presenters David Tennant, AJ Odudu, Joel Dommett, Paddy McGuinness and Zoe Ball.
The opening credits saw Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry regenerate into Doctor Who star Tennant, following a sketch which saw him feeling sick in his dressing room and asking for a “doctor”.
Who is Lenny regenerating into?? 👀 pic.twitter.com/riqK1xTo8o
— Comic Relief (@comicrelief) March 17, 2023
Appearing from Salford’s MediaCity on BBC One, 51-year-old Tennant said: “For the first time in Comic Relief’s history, we are flying without our captain, Sir Lenny Henry.
“He is in the thick of another project, but before he regenerated, he did make a little film for us and you’ll see that later on.”
Swedish singer Zara Larsson also delivered the first musical performance of the evening, giving an electrifying rendition of her new track Can’t Tame Her.
Meanwhile, pop superstar Kylie Minogue appeared in the first sketch of the night with the cast of BBC sitcom Ghosts.
The singer and her live agent, played by Tanya Moodie, arrived at haunted Button House to see if it is a suitable concert venue, shocking the supernatural inhabitants.
The ghosts gathered around her, describing her as “beautiful as her verse” and “rather fabulous”, before Minogue revealed she was able to see the ghosts.
“You know the roller skating montage and the Spinning Around video? I had a fall, I banged my head and now I can see ghosts,” she said.
Minogue was forced to “prove” she was the real deal to the sceptical phantoms, though ultimately chose a different haunted venue.
She went on to sing her hit song I Should Be So lucky in the sketch alongside actors Mathew Baynton and Charlotte Ritchie.
Sir Tony Robinson also reprised his famous role as dimwitted Blackadder sidekick Baldrick in a Comic Relief sketch.
The 76-year-old read a humorous bedtime story inspired by Cinderella accompanied with cartoon illustrations.
Broadcaster Gethin Jones also became emotional when discovering he had raised £1,192,298 during his 24-hour dancing challenge.
The emotional 45-year-old, who completed the Gethin Keeps Dancing challenge, said: “Everything is stinging, I haven’t been able to touch my toes since 2am. It’s been an epic effort. What really kept us going was the donations.”
Meanwhile, a host of famous faces appeared in a Eurovision unseen audition clips sketch.
Chat show host Graham Norton, Eurovision winner Lulu and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder made up the judging panel for the sketch – which saw them facetime Abba singer and Eurovision winner Bjorn Ulvaeus.
The sketch saw comedian Miranda Hart sing and dance to Hero by Mariah Carey while Fifty Shades Of Grey actor Jamie Dornan had “lost his voice” and had big cards with the words to Adele’s Someone Like You.
Singer Fleur East also appeared in the sketch in which Norton described her as a “runner-up” following her appearance in X Factor and other reality shows, and saw her humorously storm off stage.
The sketch also saw TV chef Gordon Ramsay play the recorder and comedian David Walliams dressed in a leather ensemble singing Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor hitting his own “golden buzzer” referencing Britain’s Got Talent.
There were also performances from 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 pretending to be British.
Dermot O’Leary was placed outside to give contestants hugs – referencing his previous role on X Factor – and the judges left before final star Ed Sheeran was set to audition with a song called To Love Is To Win.
O’Leary later teamed up with Jamie Demetriou’s Stath Charalambos and the cast from Stath Lets Flats for a sketch.
The skit saw the bumbling estate agent give an incredulous O’Leary a special “sponsored flat-viewing”.
After failing to lease the property to O’Leary, Stath and co persuaded him to use his “X-Factor connections” to help them produce a charity single for Comic Relief with former X Factor contestants Honey G, Ben Haenow, and Stevi Ritchie and Andy Abraham.
Let @joeldommett and us know if you're loving the show so far tonight by hitting reply. 👇 pic.twitter.com/ptPy7ZMYGK
— Comic Relief (@comicrelief) March 17, 2023
Musical comedy duo Flo and Joan, real names Nicola and Rosie Dempsey, also made light of Comic Relief in a catchy song reciting memorable moments from over the years.
The cast of Mrs Doubtfire The Musical delivered their first UK performance of Make Me A Woman from the new stage show which had the audience on their feet.
News broadcasters including Clive Myrie, Kay Burley, Huw Edwards and Naga Munchetty as well as Susanna Reid, Piers Morgan and Richard Madeley also appeared during a sketch which saw the UK’s most serious people telling jokes.
The show also saw presenter McGuinness wish viewers a “happy St Patrick’s Day” Irish dancing alongside dancers dressed as shamrocks while girl group B*Witched played C’est La Vie.
Famous faces also appeared in a parody of popular BBC show The Traitors for Comic Relief.
Comedian Dawn French posed as the show’s “half woman, half fringe” host Claudia Winkleman joined by This Morning presenter 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 roundtable discussion alongside Danny Dyer, who appeared as EastEnders’ Mick Carter in the sketch.
Contestants Maddy and Wilf from series one also appeared in the sketch, alongside comedians Jennifer Saunders, Anne Robinson and Dame Mary Berry.
Comic Relief Red Nose Day is a UK charity that aims for 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 struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and tackle issues such as homelessness, mental health problems and food poverty.