The three-hour extravaganza hosted by Davina McCall, Lenny Henry, Matt Baker, Paddy McGuinness and Zoe Ball featured an incredible array of famous faces who offered some light relief and entertainment whilst celebrating and rewarding those going the extra mile to support their communities in these troubled times.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their Royal Highnesses Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all made a very special appearance during The Big Night In to join the nation in the weekly ‘Clap For Our Carers’ dedicated to all NHS and frontline workers and carers. And Prince William featured in an exclusive Blackadder sketch alongside Stephen Fry who played the role of Lord Melchett (the grandson of his famous character General Melchett) to telephone the Duke of Cambridge and offer him some advice on how to home-school his young family.
Prince William featured in an exclusive Blackadder comedy sketch starring Stephen Fry as the grandson of the his iconic character General Melchett counselling the Duke on home-schooling via a video call. Written by the show’s co-creator, Richard Curtis, the piece concluded with The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their Royal Highnesses Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis gathering outside their family home to join the nation in the weekly ‘Clap for our Carers’ – dedicated to all NHS and frontline workers and carers.
The Big Night In featured a huge number of comedy sketches from Little Britain, Miranda, The Vicar of Dibley, Catherine Tate and David Tennant, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, Jack Whitehall in Bad Education with Mathew Horne and world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua, People Just Do Nothing, EastEnders, Peter Kay and the British public remake of Amarillo, Romesh Ranganathan, Joe Wicks and Doctor Who.
There was the first play of the Radio 1 Stay Home Live Lounge video featuring Dave Grohl and 5 Seconds of Summer, AJ Tracey, Anne-Marie, Bastille, Biffy Clyro, Celeste, Chris Martin of Coldplay, Dermot Kennedy, Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Grace Carter, Hailee Steinfeld, Jess Glynne, Mabel, Paloma Faith, Rag’n’Bone Man, Rita Ora, Royal Blood, Sam Fender, Sean Paul, Sigrid, YUNGBLUD and Zara Larsson with their cover of Foo Fighters’ Times Like These
There were other musical performances from Sam Smith, Celeste, Matt Lucas and The BBC Concert Orchestra performing The Baked Potato Song, Gary Barlow who was joined by a huge host of names including Liam Payne, Olly Murs, Leona Lewis, Nicole Scherzinger, Freya Ridings, Katherine Jenkins, Alfie Boe and Gregory Porter.
There were appearances from Judi Dench, Sting, Marry Berry, Maya Jama, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Stephen Merchant and many more.
Every penny generously donated to The Big Night In by the public will be split equally between Comic Relief and BBC Children in Need and will go on to support local charities and projects in the UK, so they can continue to provide vital emergency support.
Appeal films looked at the devastating impact that Covid-19 has had on families up and down the country and the vital work partners are doing to help. The films tackled hunger, domestic violence and isolation and showed how everyday heroes are stepping up to get medicines and food to those who can’t leave the house.
The real stars of the night however have been the children and adults of all ages who shared their stories and brought to life how money raised this evening will go on to make a difference to people in urgent need of support across the UK. One of the films featured Sam, who is on the autism spectrum, with severe sensory issues which can overload him. When he was just six years old, Sam was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. In 2018, his life was transformed with the arrival of Willow, an autism assistance dog whose training was funded by BBC Children in Need. The fear and isolation of Coronavirus means that Sam’s anxiety has returned and his film highlighted why he needs his best friend now more than ever.
The elderly are amongst the most vulnerable and most impacted by the current crisis, and our film telling the story of 94 year old Brin, who has been self-isolating, was a prime example. The Comic Relief funded project ‘United Welsh Group’ works to bring the outside world to Brin and other elderly people in the community, including an intergenerational choir with local school children, helping combat loneliness and isolation. Since the pandemic, the choir has had to stop, but the children involved in the project have been writing letters and sending messages to their older friends and helping drop off care packages. The film highlights how this support through such difficult times is an absolute lifeline.
Charlotte Moore, Director BBC Content says: “It was a real joy to see Comic Relief and Children in Need come together in this time of need for a wonderful evening of entertainment to help the nation laugh. I would like to say a special thanks to Richard Curtis and to all those involved for pulling the whole three hour show together at break neck speed and in such challenging circumstances. And to the British public for their incredible generosity at this time.”
Peter Davey, Executive Producer BBC Studios, says: “It has been an amazing experience and somewhat of a challenge producing the show. Being able to bring these two major charities together and such a phenomenal array of artists to entertain the nation, recognise the exceptional work people are doing and raising funds to help those that need it, has been a real privilege.”
Simon Antrobus, Chief Executive of BBC Children in Need, says: “Tonight has been a truly remarkable evening, we have laughed, we have cried, we have celebrated those who have truly gone above and beyond during these unprecedented times, and perhaps most importantly, we have given hope to children and adults of all ages, who are going through unimaginable difficulties at this time. Tonight people across the UK have come together in a beautiful way, and the remarkable generosity shown will go on support children and adults in communities the length and breadth of the UK who urgently need our help. We simply cannot thank you all enough.”
Ruth Davison, Chief Executive of Comic Relief, says: “This amazing show has helped lift the spirits of the nation and delivered much-needed light relief whilst highlighting the spirit of resilience and kindness we have seen throughout the country. I want to thank every single person who tuned in to watch this incredible show and everyone who was able to donate during this unprecedented time. This funding will help projects around the country that are doing vital work to support vulnerable, isolated people throughout the pandemic.”
The Big Night In also offered three money can’t buy prizes which asked for voluntary donations of £10 to help people who need it most right now. These prizes included having your name featured in David Walliams’ new book; tickets to meet Little Mix on set at their new BBC One show, as well as a video call with them in advance; and a Morgan Plus Four sports car. The prizes draws can be entered via text message and are open until 2pm on 30 April 2020. For more information visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/bignightin
It’s not too late to get involved, either by calling the donation line on 0345 607 3333 or visiting https://donation.bignightin.tv/