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Sport Relief is back

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Carl Doran | 09:06 UK time, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Wednesday 20 January marks the launch of the biggest ever Sport Relief.

Since it began in 2002, the biennial event has raised over an incredible £60m for good causes in the UK and around the world.

We've been planning this year's Sport Relief since the last one finished and things are really taking starting to take shape now. We're so excited about what's happening over the next few weeks and there will be a series of phenomenal challenges and some unmissable programmes across TV, radio and online.

Sport Relief logo

It all reaches a thrilling climax during Sport Relief weekend, 19-21 March, which will start with the Sport Relief Night on BBC One and BBC Radio 5 live, featuring a wealth of celebrities and films showing how your money helps to make lives better, and conclude on Sunday with the now established Sport Relief Mile event where thousands of people up and down Great Britain and Northern Ireland will run a mile, or even 3 miles and 6 miles.

As I mentioned above, there are some fantastic Sport Relief programmes coming up.

Remember when the England football team got some extra coaching from Smithy of BBC's Gavin and Stacey? Well, we have the sequel coming up featuring some of the biggest names in British sport.

Cult BBC children's classic We Are The Champions is being revived with Paddy McGuinness as host, the Match of the Day team are rising to the challenge in the kitchen in a special edition of Masterchef, while Dragons' Den will get a Sport Relief makeover.

There is a Question of Sport Relief, with comedian Frank Skinner taking over from Sue Barker in the famous hot-seat, and we also have a very special Strictly Come Dancing from the O2 Arena featuring two much loved celebrities very much out of their comfort zone!

Talking about celebrities being out of their comfort zone, the hilarious Let's Dance returns - with a host of celebrities donning on their dancing shoes and hoping to follow in the footsteps of comedian Robert Webb. Remember his tribute to Flashdance?!

The challenges this year are simply remarkable. For example, former England rugby star Lawrence Dallaglio will be cycling around every Six Nations venue, accompanied by celebrity friends and supporters.

Another equally spectacular cycling challenge will see comedy actor David Walliams, who swam the English Channel for Sport Relief, on an 875-mile bike trip from John O'Groats to Land's End. He'll be joined by the likes of comics Jimmy Carr and Miranda Hart on the epic journey, which he hopes to complete in just four days.

walliams_pa595.jpg

Christine Bleakley will leave the comfort of The One Show studios to water-ski across the Channel, while Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton is undertaking a monumental challenge - all will be revealed on Thursday's Blue Peter at 1635 GMT.

One man who began the ball rolling for this year's Sport Relief was Eddie Izzard. The comedian took everybody's breath away including me by running 43 marathons in just 53 days. I salute him and everybody else who is taking part in a challenge.

Of course we don't all have to go to such lengths. My three kids will be taking part in the Sport Relief Mile again along with thousands of other people. They're also getting excited because their schools are also coming up with their own fundraising ideas. My little boy is insisting on running in his beloved Everton kit and wearing his Marouane Fellaini wig!

So why are we doing it? You can find out at our website www.bbc.co.uk/sportrelief

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