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Sir Lenny Henry deemed ‘irreplaceable’ as he hosts final Red Nose Day

TV presenter Davina McCall called Sir Lenny Henry “irreplaceable” as he began hosting his final Red Nose Day after almost four decades at the helm.

The comedian and actor, 65, co-founded Comic Relief in 1985 alongside Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis and will continue to serve as life president.

At the beginning of the programme, McCall said: “On behalf of all of us here tonight, and of course the entire nation, I’ve got to say you are 100% totally, utterly – am I right when I say – he’s irreplaceable.”

Sir Lenny said: “I don’t want to make too much fuss, it’s been an honour and a joy… it’s so not about me, it’s about the mirth and the money, it’s about comedy and compassion.”

McFly opened Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day with a medley of songs including Walk This Way by Run-DMC featuring Aerosmith, One Way Or Another by Blondie, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel and their hit song All About You.

Love Island presenter Maya Jama, Doctor Who star David Tennant, actor and comedian Romesh Ranganathan, The Masked Singer host Joel Dommett, former Big Brother presenter McCall, Take Me Out star Paddy McGuinness and podcaster Rosie Ramsey are hosting the 2024 BBC show.

Hollywood actors including Julia Roberts, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson made a special appearance to argue among each other to be named the most famous in a comedy sketch for the fundraising programme.

Also on the show, the cast of spoof comedy series W1A including Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville and Spaced actress Jessica Hynes reunited to search for a new host.

Money raised by Red Nose Day goes towards organisations helping to tackle homelessness, poverty and mental health along with other causes in the UK and throughout the world.

Comic Relief Red Nose Day is a UK charity that aims “to help put food on plates, roofs over heads and keep little ones safe”.