Friday’s Red Nose Day appeal raised £52m for Comic Relief, which is £11.5m less than the amount the telethon raised in 2019.
Red Nose Day took place on Friday and the telethon on BBC1 included: Catherine Tate’s Nan briefing James Bond on his latest mission; a spine-tingling celebrity rendition of Nessun Dorma led by Charlotte Church; and HRH The Duke of Cambridge share a personal message with the nation.
The programme also featured a series of films led by people who have been supported by Comic Relief projects showing how donations have been used.
Comic Relief co-founder, Sir Lenny Henry said: “Red Nose Day was always going to be a bit different this year, but tonight we’ve been able to show just how powerful humour can be by raising an amazing sum of money that’ll help so many people in the UK and around the world.
“Big respect to everyone who’s helped – kids, mums, dads, teachers – we love you. From us all, thank you, for your kindness and generosity, and being able to donate when times are so tough right now, thank you. You are going to make such a difference in the world.”
Third fall in amount raised on the night
Pandemic restrictions meant much of the usual fundraising activity that takes place in schools and workplaces could not go ahead.
Comic Relief hosts Red Nose Day and Sport Relief on alternate years, and last year’s Sport Relief raised £40m on the night, shortly before Covid-19 led to strict social distancing restrictions.
Last year Comic Relief also worked with Children in Need to host a one-off telethon last year to raise money to help people affected by the pandemic, which raised £28m on the night. The final total for the event was £74m, including government match funding.
This year’s Red Nose Day appeal night total was £52m, which is the lowest amount raised this decade, and marks the third successive decline in the amount raised via the telethon.
A spokesperson for Comic Relief says it expects the final total to "increase significantly" over the coming weeks.
The fundraiser peaked in 2015 when it raised £78m on the night. In 2018 Comic Relief revealed it was aiming to become less reliant on television appeals and focus more on year-round activity.
This article has been updated to include extra detail about the final amount raised by the Big Night In as well as line from a Comic Relief spokesperson saying that they expect the final total to "increase significantly".