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COMEDY G LD! pounds 74m record for Red Nose Day.


A HOST of red-faced celebrities helped the BBC's Red Nose Day extravaganza rack up a record pounds 74m for Comic Relief good cases.

Famous faces, including David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Susan Boyle and a quintet of comedians spoofing Take That, helped entertain viewers during the night.

In one of the best publicised stunts, slender radio star Fearne Cotton stripped to her swimming costume after Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles' 52-hour broadcasting stunt broke through the pounds 2m barrier on its own.

The total so far - pounds 74,360,207 - is the most raised on the night in Red Nose Day's 23-year history, and the figure is likely to rise.

One TV comedy sketch saw Gavin & Stacey star James Corden, in character as Smithy, pick up singer George Michael in his car as he tried to rally celebrities for a trip for Africa.

The skit also saw ex-PM Mr Brown suggesting boy band JLS join him for a pint.

Last night the Government pledged pounds 10m to Comic Relief as Mr Cameron did his bit to help by making an appearance in a sketch.

The Prime Minister followed in the footsteps of his predecessor Tony Blair when he featured in the BBC One Red Nose Day extravaganza in a Master-Chef skit. Showing off his acting skills, Mr Cameron made approving noises as "chefs" Miranda Hart, Ruby Wax and Claudia Winkleman served him a three-course meal.

Winkleman's chilli con carne had tough competition though. The Prime Minister said: "My wife does a fantastic chilli con carne."

And he confessed that Hart's gummy bear-topped trifle was so alcoholic he felt the need to lie down afterwards.

In showing himself game for a laugh on the BBC show, Mr Cameron proved he was the true heir to Mr Blair, whose 2007 appearance saw him pitted against Catherine Tate's formidable Lauren Cooper character, famous for her "Am I bovvered?" catchphrase.

The funding promised by the Government on this year's Red Nose Day will go towards Comic Relief's work in improving health and education across Africa. Its contribution matched Comic Relief's own commitment to spend pounds 10 million in these areas.

International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell said: "Even in these tough economic times, the British public has given an incredible response to Comic Relief's appeal, showing yet again their compassion and generosity."

Other highlights of Red Nose Day included comedians Alan Carr, Catherine Tate, David Walliams, Corden and John Bishop becoming would-be boy band Fake That, auditioned by real band Take That.

Another saw comedian Peter Kay, in character as singer Geraldine Mc-Queen, team up with Britain's Got Talent star Susan Boyle for a duet.

Viewers also watched Kim Cattrall, Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley and Victoria Wood join forces for Uptown Downstairs Abbey - a spoof of the hit period dramas.
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Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 20, 2011
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