You know you’ve arrived when the likes of Comic Relief and the brilliant minds behind Red Nose Day target you for a parody sketch. Word is that such is the case for the ITV hit, Downton Abbey, this year. The creative minds behind the overall Comic Relief effort, which began in 1985, are Richard Curtis (Mr. Bean, Blackadder, Vicar of Dibley, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually) and Alexander Mendis. Need I say more?
Held every other year, in odd-numbered years, Red Nose Day ‘premiered’ in 1988 as a small, but integral, part of the UK’s overall Comic Relief effort to both create awareness of and raise money to end hunger in Africa. Over the past 20+ years, Red Nose Day, the BBC telecast telethon, has become the flagship event for Comic Relief helping to raise over 650 million pounds for it’s efforts since its’ inception. Virtually every comedian and star in the UK lends their talents and efforts to the cause with every year seeming to top that last.
This years colossal efforts are no exception with the addition of the recent 24 Hour Panel People, a marathon collection of the UK’s most popular panel show hosted entirely by David Walliams of Little Britain and Come Fly with Me fame and TwitRelief, whereby individuals can eBay bid to have their favorite celebrity follow them on Twitter for 90 days, retweeting their tweets, along with other ‘extras’. The level of participation of this effort is staggering right out of the gate.
Red Nose Day 2011, which is set for BBC broadcast on Friday, 18 March, in the UK, will be nothing short of brilliant again this year with parodies being lined up left and right throughout the evening. Two, particularly to watch, will be of particular interest to viewers on both sides of the pond. One, a special, Steven Moffat penned, short Doctor Who episode and the other being a reunion, of sorts, of Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley in Downton Parody, also starring Kim Cattrall, Victoria Wood and Harry Enfield. Not to worry if you are outside broadcast range, much of the parody sketches find their way to the Red Nose Day YouTube channel not long after broadcast. It’s well worth the time to check out. 2011 will be no different. If you’re in the UK, let us know over here highlights of what we’re missing in the States this time around.