Richard Curtis hails ‘extraordinary’ generosity after Comic Relief raises £42m


Comic Relief co-founder Richard Curtis has praised the British public for their “extraordinary” generosity after the charity’s Red Nose Day celebrations raised more than £42 million.

Tom Holland, Courteney Cox and Lulu were among the special guests to feature during the night of comedy, dance and music on BBC One.

Appearing on BBC Breakfast on Saturday, screenwriter Curtis thanked those who had donated to the charity, which he founded in 1985 with Sir Lenny Henry.

He said: “The highlights are all the comedy, and we know that in advance, but then (there is) the outpouring of generosity when you hear the phones ringing and that people are still being generous and enjoying the show.

“After all these years even, I still think there are four of us here and we helped 11 million people last year.”

Curtis, whose films include Four Weddings And A Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually, said the total raised on the night will continue to “shoot up”, adding: “You just think as the night goes on and the money keeps coming in, you think it is an extraordinary public that is being extraordinarily generous.”

Comic Relief chief executive Samir Patel praised the “legendary generosity of the British public”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Times are tough. We have had a pandemic, the cost of living crisis, the situation in Ukraine, and we are so grateful for every single pound that came in – and that is what’s amazing – people will come out to help other people at times of crisis.”

Reflecting on the total, Mr Patel added: “We are completely astounded – given everything that is going on – at how much people came out to support other people.”

It was announced after midnight that the show had raised £42,790,147 with some further donations still to be counted.

Sir Lenny Henry, David Tennant, Paddy McGuinness and Alesha Dixon presented the fundraising show, which was broadcast from the BBC studios in Salford for the first time.

Broadcaster Zoe Ball was due to be part of the line-up but had to withdraw on the day after testing positive for Covid, with Dixon filling in on her segements.

Kylie Minogue and comedian Joel Dommett were also forced to pull out after catching the virus.

The evening featured sketches from Matt Lucas, David Walliams, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders.

Strictly Come Dancing champions Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice also gave an emotional dance performance to a rendition of Ellie Goulding’s How Long Will I Love You.

It was also revealed during the broadcast that the endurance challenges undertaken by Olympian Tom Daley and BBC Radio 1 presenter Jordan North in the lead up to the show had raised nearly £2 million of the total combined.

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