Wow! What a night! Amidst the Team Starkid mayhem and newly released Glee spoilers, us in the UK were sat down with a cup of tea watching Comic Relief Red Nose Day’s telethon broadcast!
The approximately 7 hour telethon was opened by a montage of clips in celebration of Comic Relief’s 25th anniversary, before co-founder and comedian Lenny Henry (in a shiny gold suit, decorated with light-up red noses – a bold statement if ever I saw one) took to the stage to open this year’s show, and introduce the first hosts of the night, Dermott O’Leary and Claudia Winkleman.
The opening leg of the show included hilarious sketches, beginning with Simon Cowell’s wedding, in which the entire congregation (featuring appearances by plenty of judges, contestant and winners from Simon’s many reality shows, as well as a number of men in wedding dresses…) ended up declaring their love for Simon, only to be rejected for the person he really loves… himself. Yes, in true Sue Sylvester style, Simon Cowell is marrying Simon Cowell. I hope the couple will be very happy together!
A unique TV collaboration followed this, starting as popular midwife documentary, ‘One Born Every Minute,’ but featuring special appearances from everyone’s favourites at BBC period drama ‘Call The Midwife,’ and finally, when called for, The Doctor appears!
Following this, Rowan Atkinson appears in an address as the Archbishop of Canterbury, attempting to be ‘relevant’ to the teenagers of today (making sure they know how much Jesus loves One Direction), but still point out the true, spiritual meaning behind tonight’s show.
In between the hilarity came singer/songwriter Jessie J who, almost a year ago, pledged to shave her head for the charity. And wow, she did it, raising over £500,000 in the process!
Miss. Piggy also graced the stage! And, apart from massively flirting with Dermott O’Leary, she introduced One Direction with this year’s Comic Relief single, ‘One Way Or Another.’
Comedians Michael McIntyre and Rob Brydon hosted the second hour of the broadcast, which opened with cooking TV competition ‘Masterchef,’ featuring contestants Jack Whitehall and Micky Flanagan, and judged by Dame Edna Everage (Barry Humphries). In between the many jokes from this cast of comedians came some truly horrendous food, but, in the second half of the show, Jack Whitehall was crowned winner. Congratulations, Jack!
Another comedian to appear in the show was Peter Kay, who mocked the various celebrities (including David Walliams, Eddie Izzard and John Bishop) who have undertaken sporting challenges to raise money, by travelling across the country whilst sat on the sofa, raising £149 in total. Personally, I didn’t find this spoof that funny, but each to their own.
A comedian I do find hilarious, however, is James Corden, who appeared on the show in character as Smithy from British sitcom ‘Gavin and Stacey.’ Smithy’s speech called out the show’s reliance on celebrities and TV shows and brought it back to the British public and the importance of donating.
Next to the stage as hosts were John Bishop and Davina McCall.
Following a ten-year absence, Ricky Gervais donned a cheap suit and reprised his role as ‘The Office’ character David Brent in support of Comic Relief. David Brent is still selling stationery in order to find his work in the music industry, and, alongside young rapper Dom Johnson, debuts his political reggae song ‘Equality Street’.
This leg of the show also showed Peter Kay’s music video to James’ hit ‘Sit Down,’ featured an appearance by Brendan O’Carroll’s character Mrs. Brown, and mentioned Miranda Hart and her Mad March tasks, which included planning someone’s wedding!
In addition to this, characters of British sitcom ‘The Vicar Of Dibley’ returned for a one-off special, featuring ‘Homeland’ star Damian Lewis, Snow Patrol performed, and host John Bishop was treated to a very special surprise kiss from David Tennant.
The reigns of the telethon were then handed over to hosts Jonathon Ross and Jack Whitehall, whose leg of the show featured a very special Anchorman sketch from Will Ferrell, an appearance from British favourites ‘The Royle Family,’ more comedy from Mrs. Brown, and the best bits of the 2013 ‘Great Comic Relief Bake-Off’. A further sketch followed, named ‘David Exes’, featuring David Walliams and TV personalities he’s been ‘intimate’ with in the past year, such as Kate Moss, David Schwimmer, Gwenyth Paltrow, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman, and Hugh Grant.
David Tennant joined the hosting team as BRIT award winner Tom Odell sang, and magician Dynamo performed from the heart of BBC Television Centre. Zoe Ball also presented the best bits of the Zambezi River Comic Relief challenge, and met the celebrities who had undertaken it, including Spice Girl Mel C, Jack Dee, and Phillips Idowu.
Famously risqué comedians David Walliams and Alan Carr took over as hosts as the show entered the early hours of the morning, featuring a special Comic Relief edition of ‘Russell Howard’s Good News’, the cast of Channel 4 comedy ‘Fresh Meat’, and the highlights of ‘Comic Relief’s Big Chat With Graham Norton’, the BBC3 marathon chat-show.
Russell Brand then took to the stage to talk about his sell-out ‘Give It Up For Comic Relief ‘concert, and present the best bits of Comic Relief 2013.
The show came to a close with ‘Grimmy’s Comic Relief Late Nighter’, which featured Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw (who recently died his hair bright pink in support of Comic Relief) presenting some of the best sketches from the last 25 years of the telethon.
Overall, the ‘comic’ element of Comic Relief 2013 may not have been as strong as previous years, and a lot it was in quite bad taste, for what used to be a family show. Plenty of schools raised money for this charity, and it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable to know they may have been watching certain segments of the show. As an (almost) adult, I found it quite funny, but I’m not sure it was entirely appropriate for this occasion.
As Rowan Atkinson said, however, “behind the fun there is a more serious message,” and the message behind the charity was abundantly clear. The telethon featured clips from One Direction, David Tennant, Rob Brydon and Davina McCall (amongst others) visiting Africa and witnessing first hand the importance of vaccinations for life-threatening issues such as malaria, pneumonia and tetanus.
Comic Relief also supports charities in the UK, including ‘Body and Soul’, an organisation helping young people who were born with HIV, as well as discussing domestic abuse, and the ever-growing problem of cyber bullying.
By the end of the night, total donations stood at £75,107,851, with more still to be counted, the highest total in the show’s 25-year history! Founder of the charity Richard Curits said, "Once again the extraordinary generosity of the British public has put Comic Relief in a position to be able to serve thousands upon thousands of people with very hard lives in Africa and the UK”, before adding "It’s almost impossible to thank enough all those who took part in the event, all the members of the public who fundraised and all those who gave so generously on the night."
So there you have it! Did you watch the Red Nose Day telethon? How do you think it compared to previous years? Let us know!