Lenny Henry to host Red Nose Day for final time on Friday 15th March

Wednesday 31st January 2024, 12:01am

Comic Relief. Lenny Henry
  • Red Nose Day 2024 will take place on Friday 15th March
  • It will be the final time Lenny Henry hosts the BBC TV show. He says: "I'm excited to see some new and familiar faces come forward now to present the big night and lead us into the next chapter"
  • A special comedy show, Comic Relief - Live at The London Palladium, will take place on Monday 26th February

Red Nose Day 2024 is confirmed for Friday 15th March.

Lenny Henry has launched the annual Comic Relief fundraising campaign via a sketch featuring a number of celebrities.

The two minute video sees callers offering up ideas for how they could raise money. Those taking part include Alex Jones, Alison Hammond, Davina McCall, Gemma Collins, Dame Joan Collins, Jonathan Bailey, Nick Grimshaw, Rosie Jones and Simon Cowell.

It has also been revealed today that this March's telethon will be the final time Comic Relief co-founder Lenny Henry hosts the programme.

The charity explains: "For nearly four decades, Sir Lenny has been the leader of laughter and united millions of people to raise over £1.5billion for Comic Relief so far, proving that comedy and compassion can change lives. Sir Lenny has decided that now is the time to see some new names take the presenter reins, while he continues to support Comic Relief and Red Nose Day on other projects throughout the year."

The comedian himself says: "When we first started Comic Relief back in 1985, I never dreamed we'd still be here today. I thought we'd probably do three shows and that would be it, but fast-forward nearly 40 years, and that enthusiasm and determination to step up and help others has never wavered. As Life President of Comic Relief, I'm excited to see some new and familiar faces come forward now to present the big night and lead us into the next chapter."

The TV show will come live from Salford on BBC One on Friday 15th March. BBC executive Charlotte Moore says: "Sir Lenny Henry has been the face of Comic Relief for nearly four decades and I would like to personally thank him for his incredible contribution, the way in which he has entertained and inspired the nation on the BBC cannot be overstated. Lenny's commitment has been awe-inspiring, he has been instrumental to its enduring appeal and shone a light on so many worthwhile causes using the power of comedy and laughter to raise millions of pounds. This year's Red Nose Day will be his last on screen but it promises to be extra special as we take the opportunity to mark his remarkable achievements on the night."

Comic Relief Live At The London Palladium

Aside from the TV show, "to celebrate and say thank you to Sir Lenny", comedians will take to the stage for "a wild and wonderful one-off evening of live comedy". Comic Relief - Live at The London Palladium will take place on Monday 26th February, featuring Aisling Bea, Fatiha El-Ghorri, Joel Dommett, Mawaan Rizwan, Rosie Jones and Sara Pascoe.

Rosie Jones says: "Supporting Red Nose Day is so important to me because it does so many great things for people all around the world, it brings people together and I'm proud to be a part of it. This year, I'm excited to be taking part in Comic Relief - Live at The London Palladium to celebrate the amazing Sir Lenny Henry. We'll be joined by so many amazing comedians to raise some money for an amazing cause, so I hope you're coming. Tickets are available right now, so, buy them, go on!"

Comic Relief. Rosie Jones

Meanwhile, in terms of merchandise, a brand-new plant-based Red Nose range has been launched via Amazon. The charity explains: "This year's Red Noses promise to be the funniest bunch yet as for the first time they tell jokes. Each Nose comes with a QR code that takes you to the Red Nose Day Joke Generator, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services, which reels off joke after joke to make you smile. There are four fun characters to collect as well as a limited edition rare 'Gold' Nose, all of which can be recycled at home for the very first time." Some of the stars modelling "the little Red Nose that makes a really big difference" include Jayde Adams, Self Esteem, Tommy Jessop and Vick Hope.

Jayde Adams says: "In my experience, during good times and bad - laughter is always the best way to do anything in your life and it's the only way to get people motivated and it's gert lush that I'm a part of the Red Nose Day crew again."

Comic Relief. Jayde Adams

This year's official Red Nose Day t-shirt and sweatshirt collection from TK Maxx features the much-loved characters from the iconic Aardman Animations family. From Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep to Morph and Feathers McGraw, the colourful new range is available for both adults and children in TK Maxx stores and via their website.

Speaking about the charity aims behind all the Comic Relief initiatives, Sir Lenny concludes: "Right now, we know there is a cost-of-living crisis and people are struggling, a lot of people are struggling here and around the world. But we also know that the British public are brilliant - you're so kind and generous, if somebody has a problem, you always want to help out. Without you, we couldn't do what we do. I'd love nothing more than if you joined me in getting involved this year. Let's make it one to remember and show that having a laugh can actually make a world of difference. Do something funny for money, join me at The London Palladium, wear your Red Nose with complete and utter pride - whatever you do, thank you! Let's go!"

You can find out more about how to donate and/or get involved via comicrelief.com/rednoseday

Comic Relief. Lenny Henry

Lenny Henry is due to be the subject of the latest edition of the Little People, BIG DREAMS children's book series. Due to be released in February, the 32 page book focuses on the comedian and tells the "inspiring story of courage and goodwill". 50p from each book sold will be donated to Comic Relief.

Little People, BIG DREAMS: Lenny Henry

By Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara

In this book from the critically acclaimed, multimillion-copy bestselling Little People, BIG DREAMS series, discover the incredible life of Sir Lenny Henry, the multi-talented comedian, actor, writer and activist.

Ever since he was small, Lenny Henry wanted to be a comedian. At home in Dudley, England, he would pretend to be the characters he watched on TV, copying scenes from his favourite shows to entertain his six brothers and sisters. But life wasn't always easy, and at school Lenny found himself the subject of racist bullying - until he figured out a way to beat the bullies using humour. This was when he realised he had a gift: he could make people laugh. He shot to fame aged 16 and the following decades were full of great successes, such as his hugely popular TV programme The Lenny Henry Show.

Lenny co-founded the charity Comic Relief in response to a terrible famine in East Africa. Over 25 years later, Lenny and the charity remain committed to creating a just world, free from poverty, and have raised millions of pounds. An actor, a comedian, an author and a champion of inclusivity, Lenny is a much-loved figure whose story encourages us to keep smiling.

First published: Tuesday 6th February 2024

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