Comic Relief: Red Nose Day raises £42m in star-studded show

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Image caption,
Alesha Dixon (centre) worked a "double shift" to cover for Zoe Ball

More than £42.7m has been raised in Comic Relief's latest Red Nose Day broadcast, with a host of stars taking part in sketches and stunts.

The charity show was broadcast from BBC studios in Salford for the first time.

Highlights included Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders visiting The Repair Shop, and Matt Lucas and David Walliams reviving their Rock Profiles sketches.

But stars Zoe Ball, Kylie Minogue and Joel Dommett had to pull out of the show after catching Covid.

At shortly after midnight, Red Nose Day announced it had raised £42,790,147 for good causes in the UK and around the world.

Some of the money will benefit organisations providing aid in Ukraine.

Comic Relief co-founder Richard Curtis thanked the "extraordinary public" for their "outpouring of generosity". He said the charity helped 11 million people last year.

The show's presenters sent their love to Ball, who was due to be one of the hosts, with actor David Tennant saying: "We will miss you tonight Zoe, we are sending you loads of love."

Ball said she would be "watching & supporting from bed".

Image caption,
The Vivienne, Nikki Lily, Roman Kemp, Maya Jama, Lady Leshurr and Snoochie Shy in Glow Up Does Red Nose Day

Minogue told followers she wouldn't be able to take part in a planned sketch with the cast of BBC sitcom Ghosts.

And the event's co-host Dommett said he was "super annoyed" to have caught the virus before Red Nose Day.

Dommett was replaced by Vernon Kay, while Ball said Alesha Dixon would "work the double shift tonight" to fill in for her.

"I owe you lady love," she told her on Twitter.

Covid-19 infections have continued to increase in England, with about one in 20 people in private households estimated to have had the virus in the week to 12 March, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Image caption,
Rob Rinder, Claire Richards, Deborah Meaden and Ricky Hatton in a This Is My House celebrity special

Sir Lenny Henry, Tennant, AJ Odudu and Paddy McGuinness were Comic Relief's other presenters, and were rotated during the broadcast which lasted nearly four hours.

It was announced during the programme that Tom Daley's Hell Of A Homecoming challenge - in which the Olympic diver rowed, swam, cycled and ran for 290 miles over four days from London to his hometown of Plymouth - had raised £1,027,111.

The show also saw comedian Jack Whitehall playing England footballers Declan Rice and Mason Mount in a mini-golf challenge - with Whitehall coming in last place as West Ham midfielder Rice won.

The lifelong Arsenal fan was forced to post a photo on Instagram of himself in a West Ham shirt as a forfeit.

Image caption,
French and Saunders pay a visit to The Repair Shop

Strictly Come Dancing champions Rose Ayling Ellis and Giovanni Pernice performed to a rendition of How Long Will I Love You.

Reviving their Rock Profile comedy sketch show for a one-off special, Lucas and Walliams impersonated stars such as Adele, Miley Cyrus and Lady Gaga.

French and Saunders reprised characters from their sketch show - two overacting film extras - as they visited the Repair Shop, asking host Jay Blades and his team of skilled artisans to fix their toaster, "a family heirloom".

The sketch also featured Dame Judi Dench as a character who arrived at the shop to have an old doll from her childhood repaired, only for French and Saunders to smash its head to pieces.

Last year, the annual event raised more than £55m for good causes in the UK and around the world.

Image caption,
Matt Lucas and David Walliams doing a Rock Profile of Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus

Other famous faces to appear during the fundraising show include Tom Holland, Courteney Cox, Lulu, Paul Rudd, Chris Kamara, Vic Reeves, Jeff Goldblum, Clive Myrie, Jamie Dornan and Gordon Ramsay.