Comic Relief: 7 Highlights From This Year's Red Nose Day Telethon

Including surprise celeb cameos, amazing A-list performances, political gags and one very sweary nan.

Friday night saw the return of Comic Relief, with a star-studded night of fundraising for charities in the UK and across the world.

As ever, the Red Nose Day telethon featured an array of sketches and celebrity appearances, which included international musicians, Oscar-nominated stars and a return of the UK’s most famous nan.

More than £52 million was raised for Comic Relief over the course of the evening, which was hosted by David Tennant, Alesha Dixon, Paddy McGuinness, Davina McCall and Sir Lenny Henry.

Alesha said at the end of the broadcast: “You have made an incredible difference to the lives of people here in the UK and across the world.

“Your generosity tonight will create lasting change for those who need our support now more than ever.”

Sir Lenny Henry and Alesha Dixon
Sir Lenny Henry and Alesha Dixon

Sir Lenny added: “After a year of lockdowns, we hope we have given you laughter and joy.”

Here are just seven of our personal highlights from this year’s show...

1. Our two favourite TV vicars finally share the screen

The night began with a lip sync performance from Dawn French, in character as The Vicar Of Dibley’s Geraldine Granger. She paid homage to Lizzo with a rendition of her upbeat track Juice, which featured a special appearance from one of our other favourite TV ministers.

Yep, during the performance Gogglebox’s own Reverend Kate Bottley joined Geraldine for a dance, showing off their moves in matching glittering vestments.

2. A star-studded lip sync that summed up how we’ve all been feeling this past year

Mel Giedroyc led the way in this tribute to life in lockdown, which paid homage to the classic rom-com Bridget Jones’s Diary.

As she recreated Bridget’s iconic All By Myself lip sync, she was joined by a number of other celebrities getting in on the fun, including Strictly Come Dancing champion Oti Mabuse, Ant and Dec, David Schwimmer (who made a well-timed appearance during the “I think of all the Friends I’ve known” line) and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Even Zig and Zag were feeling separation anxiety.

One person who wasn’t getting in on the fun, though, was Mel’s comedy partner Sue Perkins, who told her via Zoom: “Look, this ‘I’m Bridget Jones’ thing might have been cute when we were in lockdown 1. But it’s lockdown 6 now – you need to face the world.”

3. 2020 The Movie

Honestly, it’s probably a bit soon for us to sit through a whole film based on the events of 2020, but this four minute mock trailer was just enough.

Comic Relief managed to rope in big-name actors like Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Doctor Who’s Jodie Whittaker to play regular people affected by the events of the pandemic, and a number of other stars played key public figures.

Russell Brand kicked things off playing Joe Wicks, with a quick dig at Dominic Cummings for good measure, and HuffPost fave Ainsley Harriott made an appearance as superhero Marcus Rashford.

Later in the clip, KSI played a frustrated Bill Gates, pondering why everyone had ditched Skype in favour of Zoom, while Sanjeev Bhaskar was a very convincing “Chris Whitty’s ‘next slide’ guy”.

Look out for an extremely camp appearance from Dame Joan Collins towards the end, too, playing the first woman to be vaccinated.

4. James Bond well and truly meets his match in Catherine Tate’s Nan

If anything was going to get Daniel Craig back into his 007 tux it was Comic Relief, and he was joined on screen by Catherine Tate, who reprised her Nan character for the telethon.

Nan played MI6’s new cleaner in the sketch, and had no bother telling Bond exactly what she thought of him.

Stick around for a very silly twist at the end, too.

5. David Tennant and Michael Sheen put a Comic Relief spin on Staged

While many of us struggled up to muster up enough enthusiasm to stick around for the end of a Zoom quiz during the early days of lockdown, actors David Tennant and Michael Sheen put their heads together and came up with a whole sitcom.

Staged – which centres around the two actors playing themselves and talking to one another via video-link – debuted last summer, with a second series airing earlier this year, and the pair came up with a special five-minute episode just for Comic Relief.

And while past guests have included Dame Judi Dench, Whoopi Goldberg and Samuel L Jackson, there was only ever going to be one guest star suited to joining the show for Red Nose Day, wasn’t there?

6. The Normal People and Fleabag crossover we didn’t know we needed in our lives

Originally filmed for RTÉ’s Red Nose Day in the summer of 2020, Friday night saw the UK television debut of a Fleabag and Normal People crossover starring Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Andrew “Hot Priest” Scott.

The skit begins with Connell and Marianne wanting to make confessions to the Priest about their past romance and, naturally, ends in a brilliant musical number.

Are there no end to this lot’s talents?

7. But it wasn’t just the comedy that kept us entertained

As ever, Red Nose Day featured performances from international stars, including Brit Award winner Rag’n’Bone Man and a special appearance from Justin Bieber on the day of his latest album’s release.

We have to say, though, our fave performance of the night is this one from Joel Corry and Raye, who gave a great rendition of their latest collab, Bed.

Find out more about Comic Relief on their official website.


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