Sir Lenny Henry will host Comic Relief for the final time when it airs on the BBC in March. After presenting the comedy telethon on and off for 39 years, he is stepping down to give opportunities to a wider range of talent.
“When we started Comic Relief in 1985, I never imagined we would still be here today,” Henry said. “I thought we’d probably do three shows and that would be it, but almost 40 years later, and that enthusiasm and determination to step up and help others has never wavered.
“As Life President of Comic Relief, I’m delighted to see new and familiar faces now coming forward to present the big night and lead us into the next chapter.”
Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day 2024 will be broadcast live from Salford on Friday March 15. It will be preceded by a live comedy event to “celebrate and say thank you to Sir Lenny”. Comic Relief – Live at the London Palladium takes place on Monday February 26, with artists including Aisling Bea, Fatiha El-Ghorri, Joel Dommett, Mawaan Rizwan, Rosie Jones and Sara Pascoe.
“Right now we know there is a cost of living crisis and people are struggling,” Henry said. “But we also know that the British public are brilliant – they are so kind and generous, if anyone has a problem they always want to help them.
“Let’s make this an unforgettable moment and show that laughter really can make all the difference.” Do something funny for money, join me at the London Palladium, wear your Red Nose with complete pride – whatever you do, thank you!
This year’s Comic Relief launched last night with an online skit featuring Henry calling up numerous celebrities to quiz them about their fundraising plans. Alison Hammond says she’ll do something ‘sweetheart for money’ because she’s an ‘iconic sweetheart’, Simon Cowell suggests experiencing listening to Amanda Holden perform covers, Joan Collins says she’s going to do a sponsored skydive and Gemma Collins asks: “How did you get the GC number?” »
Other contributors include Nick Grimshaw, Davina McCall, as well as Vogue Williams and Spencer Matthews.
“Red Nose Day is a special cause for me because I have such fond memories of it,” said Nick Grimshaw. “I loved watching it on TV when I was a kid and I loved that feeling of everyone doing something together for the common good.
“I liked the feeling of involvement from everyone at the school; everyone on your street is involved; everyone in the entire country watches TV the same night and donates.