Comic Relief fundraising reaches £1 billion mark

Stephen Hawking, Daniel Craig, Lenny Henry, Dermot O'Leary and more helped to raise over £78 million during last night's live show

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Comic Relief fundraising reached the £1 billion mark during last night’s Red Nose Day coverage on the BBC.

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The charity – which first began 30 years ago – raised over £78 million during Friday night’s live show which featured the likes of Stephen Hawking, Daniel Craig and co-founder Lenny Henry who joined Claudia Winkleman and Russell Brand on stage to announce the landmark total. 

“This is a very strange moment for me,” said Comic Relief co-founder and vice chair Richard Curtis of the landmark amount. “When a bunch of comedians got together all those years ago we dreamed of raising a million or two, and never imagined the generosity that would be shown by the British public for so many years.” 

“Figures tell us that the billion pounds have helped around 50 million people in the UK and overseas, 50 million people whose lives have been changed or saved by the generosity of people they’ve never met.”

The new total – £1,047,083,706 – comes 27 years after the first Red Nose Day was held in 1988 and includes over £640,000 raised by X Factor presenter Dermot O’Leary’s 24-hour dance marathon

Also on last night’s bill was a return for comedy favourites Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley, plus a 007 mockumentary featuring current Bond star Daniel Craig with Sir Roger Moore, Rory Kinnear, Ben Whishaw and director Sam Mendes.

The winner of Comic Relief Bake Off was also unveiled, and the BBC screened special appeal films from the likes of Peter Capaldi, Olivia Colman and Idris Elba.  

Musical entertainment came in the form of John Legend and Sam Smith, along with a One Direction spoof comprised of Johnny Vegas, Vic Reeves, Patrick Kielty, Jack Dee and Nick Helm who took to the stage as No Direction. 

Read more: Richard Curtis: Comic Relief makes me unbelievably proud of our country

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