It’s time, once again, to don the bright red nose and get ready to settle in at 7p on Friday, 15 March on BBC1 and BBC2 when Red Nose Day 2019 brings some of the comedy’s best and brightest to telly. Who can forget some of the comedic brilliance from years past such as Dawn French’s 1999 chance encounter with Johnny Depp. Then, there was the unforgettable moment where Rowan Atkinson resurrected Mr. Bean for an appearance on Blind Date with Cilla Black in 2009.
Then, in 2011, the early days of Downton Abbey inspired Uptown Downtairs Abbey, Call the Midwife meets Doctor Who (2013), James Corden and George Michael in the sketch that became the inspiration for Carpool Karaoke (2015) the Great British Bake Off smack down featuring Dame Edna v. AbFab v. Lulu (2015) and the Love Actually reboot in 2017!
Just in case you are wondering how the sausage is made when it comes to the history of the red noses, here’s a quick look….
Red Nose Day has to be the single most brilliant example known to man of an entire country rallying around a charitable cause. Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985 by comedian Lenny Henry and writer/director Richard Curtis and aired live on the BBC to highlight the famine crippling Ethiopia. Not long after, the concept of “Red Nose Day” was created to focus attention on Comic Relief’s activities with the first ever RND event in 1988 raising an impressive £15million.
Curtis seemed a bit overwhelmed at the thought of raising such a sum over the years following the conclusion of the 2015 event. “This is a very strange moment for me. When a bunch of comedians got together all those years ago we dreamed of raising a million or two, and never imagined the generosity that would be shown by the British public for so many years. Figures tell us that the billion pounds have helped around 50 million people in the UK and overseas, 50 million people whose lives have been changed or saved by the generosity of people they’ve never met.”
Red Nose Day in the UK is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon. It’s an institution. The entire country gets involved. The entire British acting community lends their time and talents to this effort. I don’t know about you but it’s not even March 15 yet and I already can’t wait for Red Nose Day 2021!
In: Odds & Sods