The funniest Red Nose Day moments in Comic Relief history

Brian McIver
·Contributor
·3-min read
Ali G, Mr Bean, and Catherine Tate have all made iconic Comic Relief sketches (BBC/Comic Relief)
Ali G, Mr Bean, and Catherine Tate have all made iconic Comic Relief sketches (BBC/Comic Relief)

It’s billed as the funniest night of the year, and has seen some of the best celebrity pratfalls, guest appearances and mash ups of all time.

Comic Relief is back for another round of laughs, fundraising and charity work, with Sir Lenny Henry leading an all-star cast of comics and actors giving it their funniest to elicit donations from the general public.

The 2021 edition will feature David Tennant and Michael Sheen doing Staged, Paddy McGuinness with a Top Gear special, viewers will be treated to action from Back to the Future: The Musical, a Normal People vs Fleabag special and even a comedy version of Gordon Ramsay’s Bank Balance.

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They’ll be joining a rich history of Comic Relief sketches and gags, from Borat and Ali G to the birth of carpool karaoke.

Here are some of the best moments from down the years:

Doctor Who gets bovvered

In 2007, David Tennant – now a regular fixture presenting Red Nose Day – wowed fans with a brilliant Doctor Who sketch featuring future companion Catherine Tate as annoying schoolgirl Lauren ‘Am I bovvered’ Cooper.

When Ali G met the Beckhams

Multiple Oscar nominee Sacha Baron Cohen was the clear star of 2001’s RND when he sat down with David and Victoria Beckham for a hilarious ‘grilling’ poking fun at his voice, the football songs sang about them and a long list of rude and awkward questions.

The couple showed amazing ability to laugh at themselves and won great credit for taking part, while Ali G has rarely been funnier.

Graham Norton speaks to Borat

Cohen was back for more anarchic insanity in 2007 with a ‘Live from Kazakhstan’ special interview. It’s brilliantly awkward and painful to watch as poor Norton struggles to keep a straight face dealing with the bonkers comic creation talking about charity work where he is from – mainly involving cages and pubic hair.

Mr Bean does Blind Date

The 1993 edition saw Cilla Black and Rowan Atkinson create a special one-off version of the classic dating show featuring the clunky character famed for his physical comedy and awkward goofiness. A young Alan Cumming is a notable spot as one of the other hopeful daters, but Mr Bean takes the win, of course, and ends up proposing to the lucky lady before it all ends in a mess.

How Bodyguard should have ended

Richard Madden reprised his role as protective officer David Budd in 2019, paying tribute to the hit thriller series which made the Scots actor’s name – this time protecting new Prime Minister Joanna Lumley.

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But it was Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar with a guest appearance as Ted Hastings that stole the sketch.

The Royle Family Comic Relief Special

Any extra scenes from the best family sitcom ever made in the UK are diamonds to be found, and Caroline Aherne’s fantastic six-minute special from 2009 delighted fans.

The sketch saw poor dad Jim complaining he can’t get any sympathy when feeling ill because the family are too busy talking about their fundraising efforts and helping properly needy people.

Smithy and Friends

In 2011, James Corden stole the show with a recreation of his character from Gavin and Stacey being called in to help Richard Curtis and Lenny Henry sort out that year’s show.

One of the biggest ever clips, it featured him driving around with George Michael – as a precursor to carpool karaoke – as well as talking to England football team players, Keira Knightley, former PM Gordon Brown, the Harry Potter cast, Paul McCartney and JLS.

Comic Relief’s night of TV is set to broadcast live on BBC One on Friday from 7pm. Make a donation here.

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