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

A host of comedy sketches, musical performances and a special message from the Prince of Wales helped to raise nearly £32 million for Comic Relief, it was announced at the end of the live BBC 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 helm the event.

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”.

Tennant, 51, 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.”

Comedy skits on the night included a Eurovision unseen audition clips sketch which saw chat show host Graham Norton, Eurovision winner Lulu and Eurovision runner-up Sam Ryder judging to find the UK’s Eurovision entrant for this year.

After facetiming Abba singer and Eurovision winner Bjorn Ulvaeus, the sketch saw comedian Miranda Hart sing and dance badly to Hero by Mariah Carey while Fifty Shades Of Grey actor Jamie Dornan had “lost his voice” and held up 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.

TV chef Gordon Ramsay played the recorder and comedian David Walliams dressed in a leather outfit singing Eye Of The Tiger by Survivor and 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 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, Stevi Ritchie and Andy Abraham.

Another comedy sketch saw pop superstar Kylie Minogue appear 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.

Minogue was forced to “prove” she was the real deal to the sceptical phantoms, though ultimately chose a different haunted venue, with a special guest appearance from her Neighbours co-star Jason Donovan.

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

Sir Tony Robinson also reprised his famous role as dimwitted Blackadder sidekick Baldrick in a Comic Relief sketch which saw the 76-year-old read a humorous bedtime story inspired by Cinderella.

Comic Relief – 2023
Sir Tony Robinson returned as the character of Baldrick to read a bedtime story during Friday night’s Comic Relief show (BBC/Comic Relief/PA)

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.

Musical performances on the night came from Swedish singer Larsson with a rendition of new track Can’t Tame Her and girl group B*Witched sang fan favourite C’est La Vie while presenter Paddy McGuinness performed Irish dancing alongside dancers dressed as shamrocks in celebration of St Patrick’s Day.

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

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.

Another comedy sketch saw a number of famous faces also appearing in a parody of 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 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, to decide who the traitor was.

Contestants Maddy and Wilf from series one also appeared in the sketch, alongside comedians Jennifer Saunders, Anne Robinson and Dame Mary Berry.

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

In the humorous sketch, Chabuddy G described himself as the “kebab shop heartthrob” in his intro before entering the villa in a leopard print outfit with voiceover from Iain Stirling.

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

Host Maya Jama entered the villa for a recoupling ceremony which saw Chabuddy chose himself “because self-love is very important”, disqualifying himself from the reality show.

“If you can’t love yourself then you can’t love anybody else. Self-love island,” he said.

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

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 will tackle issues such as homelessness, mental health problems 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 past trips to Africa with the charity.

Red Nose Day 2023
Sir Lenny Henry sporting 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 there pulled together and how you rallied with incredible generosity,” he said.

“Everyone seemed to get that we all have the same right to dignity and safety, and we actually can help. It’s something we can all be proud of.”

He added: “I was so 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 neighbours.”