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. And, thanks to organizers, RND will now be every year as opposed to every two years!
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 36 years to 2022 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 18th 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 continue to be tough right now and as the impact of COVID-19 affects 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.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) February 2, 2022
Sir Lenny put it very well recently when he told BBC Breakfast: “When everybody has not seen their mums and their grans, when everybody is struggling because of the pandemic, the fact there is something they can plug into that is familiar, that has heart and love and comedy at its core. We all love to laugh. I think Comic Relief provides a space we can gather together and watch things and go ‘Well actually things aren’t so bad, I’m going to help out with that.”
Henry added: “That’s what Comic Relief has always ben about – moment’s of true sincerity where you are moved to something you wouldn’t normally do. I think the public’s generosity in times of great hardship – when they see somebody that’s worse off than themselves they just want to help. And it’s something we should be very proud of.”
To signal the importance of this year, the big guns are once again being trotted out as the likes of Harry Judd, Hugh Bonneville, Jamie Demetriou and Dame Joanna Lumley launch Red Nose Day 2022 with some of their ‘not so best’ work with a new spoof video of ‘leaked audition tapes’ for Red Nose Day, showing stars such as Absolutely Fabulous star Dame Joanna Lumley and Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville auditioning for Comic Relief.
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 only been a year but it seems like a long, long time since RND 2021. Thankfully, Red Nose Day 2022 is just around the corner, taking place in the U.K. on Friday, March 18 on BBC One. 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.
Red Nose Day 2022 airs Friday, 18 March on BBC One.