Comic Relief news

Red Nose Day 2009 smashes record

Red Nose Day 2009

Red Nose Day raised an incredible £59,187,065 this year, surging past 2007's £40m. The total after all donations have been counted will be announced later in the year.

Watch highlights from French and Saunders' version of Mamma Mia here and here. Then check out the making of Mamma Mia.

French and Saunders do funny for money

Mamma Mia

Here they go again! But Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders will perform as a double act for the last time on Red Nose Day.

It's wigs and dungarees all round for their final performance - a parody of the movie musical Mamma Mia. It's all in aid of Comic Relief which helps disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK.

Mamma Mia

Also featuring in the sketch are Philip Glenister, Sienna Miller, Alan Carr and Matt Lucas. Watch French and Saunders sashay into Red Nose Day on Friday 13 March from 7pm, BBC One.

Mamma Mia

Photos: Giles Park

The all-new Red Nose Day total

RND 07

The Comic Relief team has been busy adding up all this year's donations and has announced that 2007's total is a whopping £63,019,955.

The money will now be put to use helping people in Africa and the UK.

Celebrity single rolls to chart summit

(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles

There are Comic Relief singles at number one and two in the singles chart this week. Peter Kay and Matt Lucas (as Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin) and the Proclaimers are the new chart kings with a new version of (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles.

The song is based on the 1988 original with the addition of vocals and quotes by Potter and Pipkin, who roll rather than walk the 500 miles.

Sugababes vs Girls Aloud are at number two this week. This chart arrangement mirrors that of 2005's events when Amarillo took over Number One duties from the first Comic Relief single that year, All About You by McFly.

You can find the new Comic Relief singles on CD or by download. iTunes has some special content for Comic Relief including podcasts and celebrity playlists from the likes of Russell Brand, Jimmy Carr, Davina McCall and Richard Curtis.

Walk This Way to Number One

Walk This Way

Sugababes vs Girls Aloud have stepped straight in at the top of the singles chart with Walk This Way.

It is also a landmark success as the tenth number-one Comic Relief single. Profits from the song go to the appeal, but there's a secoond Red Nose Day charity single just round the corner.

After the success of 2005's Amarillo, Peter Kay has masterminded another musical rebound. He's collaborated with The Proclaimers on their 1988 hit (I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles, this time featuring Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin (aka Peter Kay and Matt Lucas from Phoenix Nights and Little Britain).

The music video features a full outfit of celebrity faces including Tess Daly, David Tennant, Louis Walsh and, if you believe the credits, Osama bin Laden and Lord Lucan.

Tara wins and Dawn French drops in

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson

Tara Palmer-Tomkinson has won Celebrity Fame Academy, beating Tricia Penrose to the title. In just under two weeks of singing, dancing and judging, phone votes and texts raised over £780,000 for Comic Relief.

Meanwhile, Dawn French joined Chris Evans in to the studio to help introduce the final episode of The Vicar of Dibley, made specially for Red Nose Day. She reflected on her thirteen years in the role and revealed she had a quiet weep in the car after filming her final scenes. In the mini-episode, a visit from Sting leads to an unusual offer for the Vicar and a surprise for Sting and wife Trudi Styler.

Red Nose Night live

The Big One logo

Red Nose Day is up and running and reaching its climax in gargantuan style.

From Radio 1, the Rallyoke tour has now raised £600,000 directly from public text messages and cash donations. This year Radio 1 had no corporate sponsors; it all comes from people using their mobiles and putting their money in a bucket. The Breakfast Show team shows up at RND HQ later tonight.

Last night the Fame Academy students were reunited with those expelled over the last two weeks, to decide the final. Colin Murray received the fewest phone votes, leaving the student vote to decide the next expulsion: Shaun Williamson. The grand final between Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and Trisha Penrose takes place tonight.

Comic Relief Does The Apprentice

The Apprentice celebrities

Late in 2006, Comic Relief challenged two teams of celebrities to impress the boss in a special edition of The Apprentice. In a girls-versus-boys showdown, they must use their their ruthlessness, cunning and celebrity contacts when taskmaster Sir Alan Sugar charges the teams with running rival attractions at a funfair.

In the boys' team are Danny Baker, Alastair Campbell, Ross Kemp, Piers Morgan and Tim Campbell.

For the girls it's Maureen Lipman, Jo Brand, Trinny Woodall and Karren Brady.

In his Live magazine column, Piers Morgan gave his opinion of his fellow apprentices:

  • Ross Kemp - Tough, disciplined, and just gets on with it as others dither around.
  • Danny Baker - Sharp, funny, always positive and a great team player.
  • Alastair Campbell - Really quite nice. Far more considerate than I wanted to be, keen to praise the opposition when I wanted to wring their scrawny female necks and humbly apologetic when things went wrong. All very, very disappointing, frankly.
  • Trinny Woodall - A rabid tiger with relentless energy.
  • Karren Brady - A superbly cunning and well connected businesswoman.
  • Jo Brand and Maureen Lipman - Bloody funny.
  • Cheryl Cole - A quick-witted, ballsy Geordie lass.

What about Alan Sugar? "He really is as bad-tempered, confrontational, rude and obnoxious as everyone thinks he is. But then that's why I like him."

Sir Alan and his advisors Nick Hewer and Margarent Mountford assess the teams' progress as the competition unfolds. The winner will be announced on Red Nose night.

Comic Relief Does The Apprentice starts Thursday 15th March, 9pm, BBC One. Click here to see a clip of the show.

Red Nose Night lineup

Russell Brand and Lenny Henry

Friday 16th March is Red Nose Day and from 7pm you can join in the fun as Comic Relief takes over BBC One for eight hours of fundraising and extraordinary TV. Here's the nitty-gritty of what's on:

  • 7.00 Lenny Henry and Fearne Cotton kick off the night by introducing Sugababes and Girls Aloud who perform the official Comic Relief single. Also, Mr Bean attends a wedding with all his usual social grace (featuring Michelle Ryan and Mathew Macfadyen).
  • 7.30 Comic Relief Does Fame Academy final, Harry Hill's Comic Relief TV Burp.
  • 8.00 A Creature Comforts special, plus Lauren the teenager encounters a new teacher.
  • 8.30 Highlights from the Little Britain Live sketches featuring Russell Brand and Kate Moss mixing with the usual outrageous characters.
  • 9.00 The winner of Fame Academy is crowned live. Then, a look at the Geraldine's progress in the final ever outing for the Vicar of Dibley in a mini-episode specially made for Comic Relief.
  • 9.30 Will Carol Vorderman and Johnny Ball meet their match in the nonsensical, random goodness of maths game Numberwang (a sketch from That Mitchell and Webb Look)?
  • 10.00 On BBC Two during the news Top Gear of the Pops where Top Gear meets Top of the Pops. Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond bring their motoring mettle to bear on the world of pop.
  • 10.35 Sir Alan Sugar issues his final sacking and seals a win for one of teams in the Comic Relief Does The Apprentice final.
  • 11.30 Graham Norton takes over hosting duties. Borat says, "Jagshamesh," and Dawn French appears in Little Britain Live.
  • 12.30am Russell Brand takes charge for an hour including Mitchell and Webb's version of Lady in Red, The Mighty Boosh and a Pimp My Ride Special.
  • 1.30 Golden moments from past Comic Reliefs rise, zombie-like from the grave and are introduced by stars of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

You can make a donation by calling 08457 910 910 or at

Walk This Way on sale

Walk This Way

From today you can get your hands on the official Comic Relief single, Walk This Way by Sugababes vs Girls Aloud.

Read more about the single.

With production by Dallas Austin, the ultimate girl supergroup puts a catchy new spin on the 1986 original by Aerosmith/Run DMC. 2005's official song was by McFly with an additional record provided by Tony Christie's Amarillo, championed by Peter Kay.

The single is available on CD or as a download and all profits go to Comic Relief.

Academy weekend expulsions

Tim Vine

Crowd favourite Tim Vine made a shock exit from Fame Academy on Friday 9th March after facing the judges' votes with Zoe and Mel. After Richard Park's casting vote saved Zoe, Tim then lost to Mel by just two votes in the student vote. He described himself as "gutted" to be leaving.

Zoe's reprieve did not last long, as on Saturday she fell to a student vote between her and Angellica. Trisha was saved by the judges.

Who will leave on Sunday?

Comic Relief's charity auctions


Once again this year Comic Relief is partnering with eBay UK to run a series of fundraising auctions. Right now the bidding is underway for a gaggle of one-of-a-kind memorabilia from Andrex puppies signed by French and Saunders to the Cortina used in the TV series Life on Mars.

Head over to eBay's Comic Relief pages to see everything on offer in the special auctions plus items from regular members which raise money for Comic Relief.

Woman's Hour Needs a Man

RND 07

Radio 4's popular magazine show Woman's Hour is supporting Comic Relief by electing a man to co-present the programme for a day. Listeners are being asked to choose between Kelvin Mackenzie (radio presenter and former Sun editor), Andy Hamilton (writer) and Richard Hammond (Top Gear presenter).

The winner will join regular host Martha Kearney on the Red Nose Day (16th March) edition of the show.

Don't decide yet, though; the contenders put forward their reasons why you should choose them on Radio 4's Red Nose Day page, which also tells you how to vote.

The Big Welsh Joke

Red noses

BBC Wales is running a series of programmes to find the funniest joke in Wales. The Big Welsh Joke invites people from all over Wales to show off their amateur joke-telling skills and invites a panel of professional stand-ups to judge them.

On Tuesday 13th March the tour takes in Cardiff, Swansea, Llanelli and Newport and on Thursday 16th March the best quippers will battle it out in the studio for their joke to be best in Wales.

The Big Welsh Joke continues on Thursday 8th, Tuesday 13th and Thursday 15th March on BBC Two Wales, 11.20pm. Satellite viewers from outside Wales can watch on channel 973.

Comic Relief Does Car Booty

French and Saunders

There was brisk business in a special edition of lifestyle show Car Booty for Comic Relief. Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders were one of six celebrity pairs competing to raise the most money through the dirty capitalists' favourite -- the car boot sale.

All the teams tempted bargain-hunters with a mix of artefacts collected over the years, including a book featured in the film Notting Hill and the Diddy Dick and Dom in Da Bungalow puppets. Particularly desirable items were set aside for auction later in the day.

Ultimately, thanks to 24 years' worth of memorabilia including props, posters and signed pictures, it was team French and Saunders that ruled the car boot.

Here's how much the teams raised through their car boot stalls and auctions:

  • French and Saunders £6,110 (£3,705.50 from the car boot stall)
  • Kirsty Allsopp and Phil Spencer £1,781 (£1,523)
  • Dick and Dom £1,772 (£1,233.50)
  • Mariella Frostrup and Jason Donovan £1,454 (£937)
  • Charlie Dimmock and Alan Titchmarsh £1,175 (£885)
  • Kim and Aggie £1,148 (£978.50)

The total amount raised for Comic Relief was £13,430.

Fame Academy night 1: Entrance exam

Rowland Rivron

Rowland Rivron was the casualty of the first night of Celebrity Fame Academy.

Along with him in the bottom three with the lowest votes were Angellica and Miranda. After Angellica was saved by the judges, the eleven remaining students chose Miranda over Rowland by a landslide 10-1.

Ironically, Rowland Rivron's next song was due to be... School's Out by Alice Cooper. Here is a look at what the students will sing in the next programme:

Shaun - In the Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett)
Angellica - Better the Devil You Know (Kylie Minogue)
Mel - September (Earth, Wind and Fire)
Fred - Crazy (Gnarls Barkley)
Miranda - Physical (Olivia Newton-John)
Colin - Always On My Mind (Willie Nelson)
Tara - Clocks (Coldplay)
Ray - Going Underground (The Jam)
Trisha - Save the Best for Last (Vanessa Williams)
Tim Vine - Lucky Number (Lene Lovich)
Zoe Downtown (Petula Clark)
Linda - Dancing in the Moonlight (Toploader)

In the launch show French and Saunders spoke up for comedy actress Miranda Hart. "Miranda? Not particularly funny, but a fabulous singer," said Dawn French.

Comic Relief Does Fame Academy returns daily starting from Wednesday 7th March.

Revisit the Harry Potter special

Harry Potter

Chris Moyles launches Rallyoke

Chris Moyles

The Radio 1 breakfast show unveiled its latest offensive to raise Comic Relief cash this morning. Red Nose Rallyoke continues the idea of 2005's successful Red Nose Rally with the added ingredient of karaoke.

Chris Moyles announced that he and the team will tour the UK with special guests singing badly in the following places:

  • Bournemouth 9th March
  • Swansea 10th March
  • Liverpool 11th March
  • Belfast 12th March
  • Glasgow 13th March
  • Loughborough 14th March
  • London 15th March

Lenny Henry and Jonathan Ross were on hand to help launch the week-long rally. For the chance to win tickets see the Chris Moyles Rallyoke pages.

Who's who in Fame Academy

Angellica Bell

The students are filing in for Comic Relief's Celebrity Fame Academy. The final list of stars looks like this:

  • Angellica Bell (CBBC presenter)
  • Colin Murray (Radio 1 DJ, TV presenter)
  • Fred MacAulay (DJ, broadcaster)
  • Linda Robson (actress)
  • Mel Giedroyc (comedienne, writer)
  • Miranda Hart (comedy actress)
  • Ray Stubbs (BBC Sport presenter)
  • Rowland Rivron (comedian/presenter)
  • Shaun Williamson (actor, Extras)
  • Tara Palmer-Tomkinson (personality/TV presenter)
  • Tim Vine (comedian)
  • Tricia Penrose (actress)
  • Zoë Salmon (Blue Peter presenter)

The thirteen students will enter the Academy when it opens its doors this weekend, singing for your votes to stay in the competition and raise cash for Comic Relief.

Comic Relief does Fame Academy starts Saturday 3rd March at 5.55pm on BBC One.

Red Nose Day 2007 launches

RND 07

Today (Wednesday) saw the press launch of Red Nose Day 2007, with details released of what we can expect. Those present at the London Eye included Russell Brand, making his Comic Relief debut, Girls Aloud, the Sugababes, Jennifer Saunders, Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, Graham Norton and Fearne Cotton. Highlights of his year's appeal include:

  • Comic Relief does Fame Academy is back with 13 new celebrity students singing for votes.
  • Comic Relief does The Apprentice Danny Baker, Alastair Campbell, Ross Kemp, Piers Morgan, Maureen Lipman, Jo Brand, Trinny Woodall, Cheryl Cole, Karren Brady try not to get fired.
  • The Official Comic Relief Single is a melting pot of pop. The UK's two biggest girl groups, Girls Aloud and the Sugababes, join forces in their version of 'Walk this Way', originally by Aerosmith and Run DMC. Released on 12th March.
  • Chris Moyles and his Radio 1 breakfast show team bring us Rally-oke. The breakfast team tours the UK with singing celebrities and the famous Truck of Luck, packed with prizes. The rally starts on 9th March and visits Bournemouth, Swansea, Liverpool, Belfast, Glasgow, Loughborough, and London.
  • French and Saunders themselves will be presenting a special edition of Comic Relief does Car Booty! and hoping to turn someone's unwanted clutter into a goldmine.

Red Nose Day 2007 happens on 16th March. The official website has loads of information about what's on and how to get involved.

Comic Relief download tops chart

Mouldy Lookin' Stain's comedy track Guns Don't Kill People (Wabbits Do) has shot to the top of the Official UK download chart. The song, which was only available for one week, knocked mightly Irish popstrels U2 off the chart summit. Proceeds from the track, which was made by Chris Moyles and his breakfast show team, go to Comic Relief.

UPDATE 14.11.2004: The song has earned Mouldy Lookin' Stain a Guinness World Record for being the biggest selling download single in a week in the UK!

Download music and raise money for Comic Relief

Mouldy Lookin' Stain's debut single Dogz Don't Kill People (Wabbitz Do) is available for download in aid of Comic Relief.

The group, aka Chris Moyles and his Radio 1 breakfast show team, created the song as a parody of Goldie Lookin' Chain's debut hit Guns Don't Kill People (Rappers Do).

Although the track was intended only for the airwaves, it's become so popular with listeners it's now available to buy from a number of music download services. It is also eligible for inclusion in the UK's official download chart.

For all the info you need to get your hands on the track and raise money for Comic Relief's 2005 appeal, visit Radio 1's Mouldy Lookin' Stain download page.

A Little Comic Relief

There's early news of a Red Nose Day '05 fixture. Matt Lucas and David Walliams bring a Little Britain special to next year's fundraiser. A guest appearance by George Michael has been filmed for a sketch featuring characters Lou and Andy.

The most successful Comic Relief ever

Comic Relief's 2001 Say 'Pants To Poverty' campaign made the most successful ever Red Nose Day last March, with £22.5m donated on the night.

Now the Comic Relief team has announced that the campaign total, including proceeds from fundraisers round the country, has reached over £52 million. That compares with 1999's total of £35 million.

CLICK HERE to revisit some of the entertainment highlights of the appeal including French & Saunders cooking with Delia Smith, the Big Brother Celeb Special and Billy Connolly playing his part in Piccadilly Circus.

From this year, Comic Relief benefitted from even more cash thanks to the Gift Aid initiative. The UK Government gives the tax paid on donations back to the charity. Dawn French was handed a cheque for £4.3 million by Prime Minister Tony Blair at Number Ten, Downing Street.


Dawn said, "Everyone out there should give themselves an extremely large pat on the back for helping to raise a record-breaking total."

Lenny Henry, a trustee of Comic Relief adds: "Because of the thousands of amazing people all over the UK that supported us, Comic Relief can carry on helping some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK to help themselves. To everyone that did something - big respect."

Stars go pop this Red Nose Day

Don't make plans for Friday night. This year's Red Nose Day has much to stay in for. Don't miss Joanna Lumley, Kate Winslet and star of 'Billy Elliot' Jamie Bell in a very special edition of 'Popstars'. They join Emma Bunton, Ronan Keating and Robbie Williams in a parody of the TV show that followed the manufacture of a pop group. Rowan Atkinson is the popmeister they must impress at audition.

Lumley attends as her 'Absolutely Fabulous' character Patsy Stone and chokes through a version of Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water', while Winslet performs a version of 'My Heart Will Go On' from her movie, 'Titanic'.

Elsewhere in the night's roster, watch Posh Spice and David Beckham squirm as they face Ali G, and we discover who wins out in celebrity 'Big Brother'. Watch out too for special editions of 'EastEnders', 'One Foot In The Grave', 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' and 'Goodness Gracious Me'.

Ant and Dec are our comperes from 7pm while hosting duties move to Lenny Henry, Zo� Ball, Jonathan Ross and Graham Norton as the 8-hour broadcast runs into the night. You can phone in your donation right now on 08457 910 910 or by clicking If you know of a Comic Relief event, or just want to make a deserved boast about your donation, post a message in the Comic Relief forum.

You can get news and pics in our Red Nose Day microsite HERE.

Looking ahead to Comic Relief

As we prepare ourselves for the biannual extravaganza that is Red Nose Day, previews a little of what's ahead in this year's Appeal.

A sure highlight of the campaign is a celeb-studded edition of 'Weakest Link', the quiz show that has taken Britain by storm and is being snapped up by broadcasters around the world.

Contestants answer questions to build a prize fund, but round by round vote off one of their number whose poor performance makes them the Weakest Link. The team can usually look forward to a verbal bashing by the show's schoolmistress-like host, Anne Robinson, who despatches outgoing players with the caustic phrase, "You are the Weakest Link. Goodbye."

Reprimands given so far include, "Aaron, you had a surprisingly good round. Was that a mistake?"; "Jon, all four questions wrong - couldn't you be bothered to answer them?" and "You're a former member of Mensa.... did they throw you out?" Famous faces taking part include Bob Geldof, Loyd Grossman and ITN newscaster Dermot Murnaghan.

Meanwhile Dale Winton will host '1001 to 1', a gameshow in which 1000 people compete for prizes donated by Comic Relief's sponsors. The programme raises awareness of the campaign over five Wednesdays, culminating in a live final on Red Nose Day.

Comic Relief also aims to create a lot of noise on the internet this year. can exclusively reveal that the new campaign website, launching at its new address,, will offer new ways to 'turn the web red' from 6 February onwards.

The charity raised more than �27m last year, and has collected a total of �139m since its launch in 1985. Two thirds of the money raised goes to charitable projects in Africa, while the remainder goes to British charities. You can discuss the Appeal HERE.

Comic Relief books Harry Potter

Harry Potter is to weave his magic to raise money for next year's Comic Relief appeal.

Author JK Rowling was approached by award-winning writer Richard Curtis to put her name to the Appeal and responded with an offer to write two spin-off editions of 'Potter' specially for Comic Relief. The as-yet-untitled books will be published in the run-up to Red Nose Day 2001 on March 16.

The franchise about a teenage wizard has become a worldwide phenomenon with a movie version of 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' currently in production. Rowling said: "I have always had a secret hankering to write these two books. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to be involved with a charity I have always supported."

Official Comic Relief website relaunches

The morning of April 19 marked the launch of Comic Relief's all-new website. While the charity's web presence has existed for some time, having been used for online donations on Red Nose Day 1999, the new website is unlike any other. The extensive site showcases the Comic Relief mission statement, projects, fundraising, corporate partners and competitions.

Comic Relief is a unique charity organisation which funds projects in Africa and the UK. Its success is based upon harnessing the public's participation and having fun, underpinned by a strong humanitarian message and its beautiful partnership of charity and commerce.

Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have always contributed their humour to Comic Relief, together with a host of other comedy talent including that of Red Nose frontman and Mr. Dawn French, Lenny Henry. The next Red Nose Day has been announced as 16 March 2001. The new site conveys the fun-loving nature of Comic Relief's very serious work and shows that the Comic Countdown has begun!

Visit the site at

There is a chance to catch up with the results of Comic Relief 1999 in a special update programme airing Easter Monday on BBC1 (UK only). You can post your thoughts about all things Red Nosed HERE.