The best of ‘Red Nose Day 2024’!

Hugh Bonneville and Jessica Hynes reunite for Red Nose Day 2024. Photo: BBC

Once again,Red Nose Day has distinguished itself as the single most brilliant example known to man and/or woman of how an entire country demonstrates the ability to create brilliant content and 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. Since its inception, total donations have surpassed an astounding £1.5 billion, with funds raised to help people in the UK and around the world tackle poverty, and provide food, healthcare and safe shelter.

In true Red Nose Day/Comic Relief fashion, RND2024 saw the stars align for what proved to be a great night of telly as the stars of the brilliant BBC sitcom W1A reunited for a special as part of this year’s Comic Relief effort. As the BBC’s Head of Values Ian Fletcher, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Dick Turpin) was tasked with having to deal with everyday problems and long term questions about the broadcaster’s future.

He, begrudgingly, ‘worked’ alongside Brand Consultant Siobhan Sharpe (Jessica Hynes), Senior Communications Officer Tracey Pritchard (Monica Dolan) and personal assistant Will Humphries (Hugh Skinner).

The four actors saw their W1A characters scramble to find a presenter to replace the outgoing Sir Lenny Henry, who is stepping down after this year’s show. Sir Lenny has been a part of Comic Relief and RND since the beginning, almost four decades ago.

If that wasn’t enough to get you to ring up a donation, how about Kate Winslet reading a very special bedtime story that probably won’t find its way to CBeebies anytime soon.

Raising a reported preliminary total of £40 million, Red Nose Day! 2024 has only just ended and I already can’t wait for March 2025!

In: Comedy