Red Nose Day has to be the single most brilliant example known to man and/or woman of how an entire country demonstrates the ability to rally around a charitable cause. To label Red Nose Day in the UK as a cultural phenomenon is doing it an injustice. It’s an institution. The entire country gets involved. The entire British acting community in all genres lend their time and talents to this effort.
Comic Relief was launched on Christmas Day in 1985 by comedian Sir 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 1986 raising an impressive £15 million.
Fast forward 35 years to 2021 where, no matter how you slice and dice it, we all need a laugh right now which makes the fact that Red Nose Day is back on BBC One, Friday 19th March even better! While the importance of the mission and impact of Comic Relief has continued to grow each year since its inception in 1986, it’s never felt more important this year to have some fun and raise money to support people living incredibly tough lives.
As we are all acutely aware, times are tough right now and as the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect people all over the world in so many different ways, there’s never been a better time to make a difference, no matter how big or small. To signal the importance of this year, the big guns are being trotted out as the likes of Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Karim Zeroual, Joe Lycett, Saffron Barker, Joe Sugg, Mo Gilligan, Roman Kemp, Katherine Ryan, Shappi Khorsandi, and co-founder, Sir Lenny Henry, launch Red Nose Day 2021.
Of particular note as part of this year’s Red Nose Day broadcast on BBC One, David Tennant and Michael Sheen will reunite for a special edition of their lockdown series Staged, and Dawn French will revive her much loved character from The Vicar of Dibley.
In true Dame Judi Dench form, she noted the important role that RND plays by saying: “I absolutely and implicitly believe in laughter being the best medicine. Red Nose Day is something we can all enjoy, and goodness knows during this lockdown everyone has relied so much on television and seeing as many films as they can. I look forward to it enormously. I hope we all have a wonderful laugh and at the same time donate something as it goes to a very, very good cause.
It’s been a long, long time since RND 2019. Thankfully, Red Nose Day 2021 is just around the corner, taking place in the U.K. on Friday, March 19. The money raised will support people in the U.K. and around the world, with a focus on tackling homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse, and mental health stigma.