Comic Relief 2013 telethon raises record £75 million with Red Nose Day antics
This year’s Comic Relief charity telethon raised a record £75 million ($120 million) so far.
Comedian Lenny Henry, the founder of the Red Nose Day fundraiser which is now in its 25th year, kicked off the live show on BBC One.
Simon Cowell, Jessie J, comedian Peter Kay and One Direction all made appearances.
There were also reinterpretations of hit TV shows The Vicar of Dibley and Call the Midwife.
Ricky Gervais resurrected his David Brent character in a mini-episode of The Office.
David Walliams featured in a sketch alongside the likes of supermodel Kate Moss, footballer Frank Lampard, Gwyneth Paltrow, Hugh Grant and veteran comedian Ronnie Corbett.
Meanwhile, across UK people dressed up during the day to help raise money for good causes in the country and Africa.
The television broadcast began at 19:00 GMT, with Lenny Henry revealing a special gold Red Nose suit.
Lenny Henry said it had been “25 years of truly incredible fundraising, truly incredible comedy and… truly incredible suits”.
Shortly after 01:30 GMT, comedian Russell Brand announced the money raised stood at £75,107,851 – passing 2011′s total of £74.3 million.
This year’s total includes a UK government pledge to match the £16 million Comic Relief has committed to help more than half a million of the poorest women and girls in Africa.
The money will go on improving literacy, helping girls go to school, provide care for expectant mothers, help women farmers, promote women’s rights and be used to help reduce violence and harmful traditional practices against women and girls, such as genital mutilation.
The UK government had previously said it would give Comic Relief the equivalent of whatever VAT is paid on sales of the official Red Nose Day single.One Direction performed the single, a cover version medley of Blondie’s One Way Or Another and the Undertones’ Teenage Kicks, on the show.
Hosts on stage included Dermot O’Leary, Claudia Winkleman and Jonathan Ross.
David Tennant and footballer David Beckham were among those to appeal to the public to make donations.
Jessie J made good on a long-standing pledge to shave her head for charity.
Celebrities including Dara O Briain, Melanie C, Jack Dee and Greg James took on the five-day Hell and High Water challenge, travelling down the 100 km Zambezi River to raise £1 million for children in Zambia.
The group appeared on the telethon to tell viewers about their experiences in Africa.
Others to help out included Miranda Hart, who completed a “Mad March” challenge each day this week in different cities across England.
Miranda Hart also organized a real-life wedding ceremony in a matter of hours for Claire Gilchrist, 26, and Ben Springett, 28, at Old Marylebone Town Hall in central London – she only found out on the morning that she had to do it.
There was also an appearance by James Corden, who reprised his role as Smithy from Gavin and Stacey.
Highlights from Mark Watson’s recent 25-hour stand-up gig and Graham Norton’s Big Chat talk show marathon were shown.
Will Ferrell appeared as San Diego “anchorman” Ron Burgundy in a one-off specially-recorded sketch.
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