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Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon: All the highlights to look out for

Rachel McGrath
·5-min read
The Comic Relief 2021 Night of TV hosts. Paddy McGuinness, Alesha Dixon, Sir Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, David Tennant. (BBC/Comic Relief/Claire Harrison/Nicky Johnston)
The Comic Relief 2021 Night of TV hosts: Paddy McGuinness, Alesha Dixon, Sir Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, David Tennant. (BBC/Comic Relief/Claire Harrison/Nicky Johnston)

With star-studded sketches, the return of numerous much-loved characters and a special performance from a West End cast, tonight’s Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon will provide plenty of laughs – and hopefully raise heaps of cash.

This year’s event kicks off tonight (Friday March 19) at 7pm on BBC One, and you can expect to see plenty of familiar faces on screen as the fundraising gets underway.

Alesha Dixon, David Tennant, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness and Sir Lenny Henry will be presenting the show, while numerous A-listers will be getting out of their comfort zones and offering up something a little different, all in the name of charity.

Read more: The funniest ever Red Nose Day moments

From star-studded mini films to hilarious sketches, here are all the best bits to look out for…

Normal People vs Fleabag

Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in 'Normal People'. (Credit: BBC)
Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones) and Connell (Paul Mescal) in 'Normal People'. (Credit: BBC)

This heavenly mash-up will see the stars of two huge BBC Three hits join forces as Connell and Marianne seek guidance from a certain ‘hot priest’. But what will he make of the lovestruck teenagers’ confessions?

Watch this space.

Watch: Max Greenfield Talks About His Involvement in Red Nose Day

Nan meets James Bond

Nan and Bond come together in the sketch (BBC/PA)
Nan and Bond come together in the sketch (BBC/PA)

Catherine Tate is reuniting for another Comic Relief sketch with James Bond star Daniel Craig after their winning 2007 dating skit. Nan has spurned retirement and taken up a part-time job as a cleaner, for Comic Relief’s big night of TV.

Read more: The best James Bond films according to its biggest films

She finds herself face-to-face with 007 when he pops up on screen for his security briefing, while she is cleaning the office of the head of the secret intelligence service – aka M.

2020: The Movie

KSI in Comic Relief - 2020 The Movie - (BBC/Mickey Bishop)
KSI in Comic Relief - 2020 The Movie - (BBC/Mickey Bishop)

This star-studded mini film will see A-listers including Michael Sheen, Keira Knightley and KSI transformed into everyday heroes – and we’re sure there will be more than few extra surprises thrown in too.

The BBC’s cryptic blurb explains: “After a year like no other, prepare for the biggest blockbuster movie NEVER made (yet).”

The Vicar Of Dibley

James Fleet and Dawn French are bringing back their 'Vicar of Dibley' characters. (BBC/Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd/Des Willie)
The lockdown mini-episodes of The Vicar Of Dibley, featuring James Fleet and Dawn French, were a huge hit. (BBC/Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd/Des Willie)

Following the success of The Vicar of Dibley In Lockdown mini-series released last year, Dawn French is once again sporting her dog collar and returning as Geraldine Granger.

The all-new sketch will see the Vicar deliver a special message and take on a fundraising challenge: lip-syncing to her favourite song, 'Juice' by Lizzo.

Granger isn’t going it alone though and the sketch will see her joined by a very special guest, former Gogglebox star Reverend Kate Bottley.

Staged

David Tennant and Georgia Tennant in BBC's Staged. (GCB Films/Infinity Hill - Photographer: Paul Stephenson)
David Tennant and Georgia Tennant in BBC's Staged. (GCB Films/Infinity Hill - Photographer: Paul Stephenson)

Lockdown comedy Staged became a firm favourite last year and – via Zoom, of course – Michael Sheen and David Tennant have reunited for a special Red Nose Day sketch.

The BBC has teased that the duo will offer “a hysterical historical take” with special guest Sir Lenny Henry also joining the call.

Comic Opera

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Stand-up is far from easy but there are some things that countless nights in comedy clubs can’t prepare you for… like in performing opera.

That’s not about to stop five (seriously brave) comedians from giving it a go though, and with the help of mentor Charlotte Church, the comics will join forces with the English National Opera’s award-winning chorus and orchestra to sing live in front of the nation. Oh, and they only have 24 hours to get performance ready. Rather them than us.

All By Myself: The music video

Ex-Bake Off host Mel Giedroyc takes the lead in this parody of the opening scene from Bridget Jones’ Diary. Thankfully, she won’t technically be completely alone as a whole host of famous faces will join in via video.

Jack Whitehall’s Zoom Meeting

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As this star-studded moment will prove, it’s not just us regular folk who have struggled through awkward Zoom meetings in the past 12 months.

Jack Whitehall will attempt to host a special Comic Relief video call with some of his most famous celeb pals, but as he soon finds out, even Oscar winners can struggle with the mute button. Olivia Colman, Guz Khan and Anya Taylor-Joy will feature.

Back To The Future: The Musical

Olly Dobson and Roger Bart are set to star in 'Back to the Future: The Musical'. (Credit: Manchester Opera House)
Olly Dobson and Roger Bart are set to star in 'Back to the Future: The Musical'. (Credit: Manchester Opera House)

It’s been far too long since stage show casts have been able to perform together but this evening, the BBC will welcome Marty Doc and Jennifer from the West End production of Back To The Future to the studio.

The trio will take to the stage for a special bespoke sketch devised by Bob Gale, one of the creators of the hit film trilogy, which will feature a new song from the show, ‘Put Your Mind To It’, and the classic hit 'Power Of Love'.

The Red Nose Day 2021 telethon starts at 7pm on BBC One.

Watch: Denise Van Outen and Eddie Boxshall meet Mark Johnstone, psychoenergetic therapist, in their new podcast, Before We Say I Do...