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Millions watch Henry’s final Comic Relief show

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Millions watch Henry's final Comic Relief show

Sir Lenny Henry’s final Red Nose Day show rakes in 3.6 million viewers

Sir Lenny Henry’s final time co-hosting Comic Relief’s star-studded Red Nose Day show was watched by an average of 3.6 million viewers, according to overnight figures.

The annual fundraising programme, which featured a host of comedy sketches, musical performances and tributes to Sir Lenny, saw a notable rise in viewers compared to last year’s average of 2.9 million.

It also garnered a peak audience of 4.3 million, up from last year’s 3.4 million, the BBC has said.

Appearances from Hollywood actors and a performance by Sir Lenny during the show helped to raise £38,631,548 for Comic Relief so far, the charity has announced.

Dudley-born actor Sir Lenny, who co-founded Comic Relief in 1985 alongside Love Actually screenwriter Richard Curtis, praised the public for donating “so generously”.

“My last time hosting the show has been incredibly special and I’m already thinking about what we can do to make next year, our 40th anniversary, even more so”, he said.

“The money raised tonight is phenomenal. For the British public to give so generously whilst struggling through a cost of living crisis is, for me, one of the most beautiful things about this country. We never stop caring.”

Sir Lenny co-hosted the show alongside Davina McCall, Love Island presenter Maya Jama, Doctor Who star David Tennant, actor and comedian Romesh Ranganathan, The Masked Singer host Joel Dommett, Take Me Out star Paddy McGuinness and podcaster Rosie Ramsey.

Reflecting on Sir Lenny’s legacy, McCall told the British TV star during the show that he was “irreplaceable”.

“On behalf of all of us here tonight, and of course the entire nation, I’ve got to say you are 100% totally, utterly – am I right when I say – he’s irreplaceable,” she said.

Sir Lenny said: “I don’t want to make too much fuss, it’s been an honour and a joy… it’s so not about me, it’s about the mirth and the money, it’s about comedy and compassion.”

The show also surprised Sir Lenny by filling the audience with people whose lives had been positively impacted by his work with Comic Relief.

Addressing the audience members, Sir Lenny said: “It’s lovely to see you all, thank you so much.”

McCall added: “We could’ve filled a thousand studios with people that you and Comic Relief have helped.”

McFly opened the show with a medley of songs including Walk This Way by Run-DMC featuring Aerosmith, One Way Or Another by Blondie, Uptown Girl by Billy Joel and the group’s hit song All About You.

Elsewhere on the show, Hollywood actors including Julia Roberts, Olivia Colman, Hugh Grant and Liam Neeson made a special appearance to argue among each other to be named the most famous in a comedy sketch.

The cast of spoof comedy series W1A, including Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville and Spaced actress Jessica Hynes, reunited to search for a new host and Steve Coogan appeared as his alter-ego Alan Partridge alongside comedian and actor Tim Key.

There were also musical appearances from Paloma Faith and the West End stage show Just For One Day, based on the 1985 benefit concert Live Aid, organised by Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure.

A spoof of hit show The Traitors also aired, and showed celebrities including comedians Catherine Tate, David Walliams and Bridgerton actor Jonathan Bailey playing contestants from this year’s series.

In a music video, Sir Lenny joked he would turn 10 Downing Street into a “dope ass Premier Inn” while singing a spoof of the Oscar-nominated song I’m Just Ken from blockbuster film Barbie.

The comedian wore a white fur coat and blonde wig as he sang I’m Just Len and contemplated becoming Prime Minister, following his final stint as host of Red Nose Day.

After the video aired, Sir Lenny joked he had been planning the song “way before” Barbie actor Ryan Gosling performed it at this year’s Academy Awards.

Money raised by Red Nose Day goes towards organisations helping to tackle homelessness, poverty and mental health along with other causes in the UK and throughout the world.

Comic Relief is a UK charity that aims “to help put food on plates, roofs over heads and keep little ones safe”.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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