Sunday, 13 March 2011

Comic Relief (1988-2011) - My Best Comedy Bits

Comic Relief has always captured my comedic imagination more than Chilrdren in Need ever has. Maybe it's because its being held every other year adds to the excitment of its coming each time a delicious new installment of this now legendary telethon is offered to us.

Since the Comic Relief charity was launched on Christmas Day 1985, it has raised over £650m for good causes around the world.

Along the way, it has made us laugh...and laugh loudly...

The first Red Nose Day was held in February 1988 and the second was in 1989. Since then, they have fallen one every other year - usually in the 2nd or 3rd week of March. The next is this Friday, 18th March 2011.

So, I'm dedicating two blog posts to celebrate this truly British tradition of supporting charity through comedy. This first one revolves around the comedy, my second will revolve around the music.

So, here are some of my Comic Relief Red Nose Day 'Best Comedy Bits'...

It all began here, in 1988.

In fact, it began 240 years earlier. In 1648 to be precise. Here, Blackadder: The Cavalier Years  finds our famous favourite at the heart of the English Civil War - on the doomed side of the Royalists!

Best moment - King Charles I (played with a good touch of Prince Charles by Stephen Fry) meeting Oliver Cromwell (an excellent Warren Clarke!). Brilliant!

From that original programme also, University Challenge with The Young Ones!

Moving on to 1989, Rowan Atkinson again takes the chair but this time as the host of the 'Master Member' quiz with Lord Hailsham, David Owen, Gerald Kaufman, Kenneth Baker, Leon Britton, John Smith, David Steel and Shirley Williams.

Love it!

Again from 1989, a special Who's Line Is It Anyway, hosted by Clive Anderson with guests Stephen Fry, Josie Lawrence, Paul Merton, and John Sessions.

From 1991, a Hugh Laurie news sketch. Whatever happened to him?!

1993 saw Mr Bean's Red Nose Day.

It also saw Victor Meldrew take a bath and ask that immortal question - 'Is Nicholas Parsons dead?!'

1993 also saw a special Mr Bean's Blind Date!

In 1995, we saw a new skating star take to the ice. It's Torvill & Bean!

Moving forward, 1999 saw The Vicar of Dibley meet Johnny Depp!

1999 also saw Alan Partridge sing Kate Bush!

2001 saw Eastenders get in on the Comic Relief act - keep an eye out for some of the good old characters from a decade ago! Also, gotta love the writers in the 'Story Conference'!

2003 saw comedic turns in a Comic Relief Blankety Blank by, amongst others, Matt Lucas as Su Pollard, David Walliams as Ruth Madoc, Martin Freeman as Johnny Rotten and Simon Pegg as Freddie Starr. Peter Serafinowicz meanwhile perfected Terry Wogan!

2005 saw Little Britain's Daffyd interview Elton John!

Here, Lou and Andy meet George Michael!

2007 saw the Nan Taylor take on the Banker in Deal or No Deal!

It also saw the return of a now married Vicar of Dibley in a Celebrity Wife Swap with Sting!

The latest installment in 2009 saw Davina McCall Vs David Tennant at Comic Relief Mastermind!

There's so much more that I could've chosen but it gives at least, a glimpse of our comedic talent doing good through the ages.

Keep an eye out for my next installment - Comic Relief (1988-2011) - My Best Musical Bits


  1. Like you, Children in Need doesn't do that much for me either.

    As a society, the Government and Social Services tend to throw so much of its resources to children, but the same doesn't quite go to those who are less able to stand up and speak for themselves, the elderly.

    Many assume that they have their marbles and a family network, to look after their relatives. But when you watch programmes like Heir Hunters, you see how many elderly people live on their own and often without family nearby.

    Also, we tend to find more elderly people are isolated as the children no longer tend to live near their parents, as they may go to University and most go for jobs MANY miles from where they were brought up, as thats where the good jobs are!

    I have ALWAYS thought that we should do far more for the elderly as they are often forgotten and lonely. As Comic Relief is held every 2 years with Sports Relief in between, I have always wondered why the BBC only targets children, when they could alternate it with The Elderly in Need.

    As the BBC doesn't, I tend to only concentrate my interest on Comic Relief and throughly enjoyed Comic Relief does Let's Dance. The final was good last night and I would have loved to have seen Lee Nelson and Omlette in the final as I loved his series on BBC3, where much of the comedy talent seems to appear and doesnt always get the high profile it deserves.

  2. Brilliant Stuff!

    I too have always prefered Comic Relief - but I put this down to a higher standard of programming on the night.

    I've also been featuring Comic Relief on my blog recently with posts on some of this years efforts: