The BBC’s Big Night In has raised £28m for charities helping fight the coronavirus crisis.
The government had already pledged to match the money raised at the event, which saw Comic Relief and Children In Need collaborate on a broadcast for the first time.
The two charities will share the money raised on the night. The government’s match-funding scheme means that it will donate £20m to the National Emergency Trust, with the additional £8m split between Comic Relief and Children in Need.
The total from the Big Night In, which was broadcast live over three hours last night, is expected to rise due to proceeds from a charity single. The song, a cover of the Foo Fighters track Times Like These performed by artists including Chris Martin from Coldplay and Ellie Goulding, was given its television debut as part of the show.
The funding will go primarily to charities which work distributing food and other essentials, addressing loneliness, and local organisations tackling "hidden" problems exacerbated by the crisis like domestic abuse and mental health crises, according to the BBC.
Some funds will also go to NHS Charities Together, which has already raised more than £50m to support frontline NHS staff during the crisis.
The BBC has not yet said how the money raised will be distributed, but has promised to release some funds to charities “within weeks”.
The Big Night In was arranged in under two weeks with a skeleton production crew to comply with social distancing rules.
Highlights include: Prince William having a Zoom chat with Stephen Fry, a coronavirus-themed Little Britain sketch, a skit from comedian Peter Kay, and a closing performance by former Take That frontman Gary Barlow.
The most recent Comic Relief Red Nose Day in 2019, which took nearly a year to plan and was broadcast over eight and a half hours, raised £63m. Children In Need 2019 raised £47m.
Ruth Davidson, the acting chief executive of Comic Relief, said that the funds “will help our charity partners continue their vital work at a time when vulnerable people need our support more than ever.
“The money raised will allow us to keep vulnerable people safe, warm and fed. It will also be put towards helping people who are struggling with their mental health and those at risk of domestic abuse.”