Comic Relief raises record £57 mln


June 18, 2010 Updated Mar 14, 2009 at 1:11 PM EDT

Comic Relief raised a record £57 million for charity on Friday night with even more donations expected to flood in.

The BBC event, which involved sporting, television and music stars, collected £57,809,938, surpassing the £40.5 million raised in 2007 and the highest amount in the 21-year history of Red Nose Day.

"Masses of fundraising money isn't in yet," host and comedian Graham Norton said, announcing the figure.

"Last time we added £20 million to our end-of-night total."

One donor, who wished to remain anonymous, reportedly contributed £6 million.

Sainsbury's, which sold official Comic Relief merchandise, handed over a cheque for more than £9 million - the biggest single donation ever presented in the event's history.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown congratulated the organisers, saying the money would make a difference to children in need in Africa and Britain.

"To everyone that was involved in raising money on Red Nose Day, I send a message of thanks," he said on Saturday.

"That figure is testament both to their hard work and also to the outstanding generosity of the British people."

The biennial event on BBC1 saw stars including footballer David Beckham, supermodel and businesswoman Kate Moss and popstar Robbie Williams take part in comic sketches, fundraising stunts and musical performances.

Cohosts Davina McCall and Doctor WHO star David Tennant went head-to-head in a special edition of Mastermind with Tennant coming out on top.

Comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders performed a parody of the smash hit "Mamma Mia! The Movie."

Early during the night, "Have I Got News For You" presenter Angus Deayton inadvertently swore on air, saying "bugger" during a sketch, and prompting McCall to apologise to viewers.

"No offence was intended and Davina McCall clearly mouthed 'sorry' into the camera," a BBC spokeswoman later said.

England footballers Beckham, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch appeared in a sketch with James Corden, one of the stars of the sitcom Gavin and Stacey.

Corden's costars Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones joined with Tom Jones to perform (Barry) Islands in the Stream - a cover of the Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton song - during a sketch called Comic Relief Does Top Of The Pops.

Other performers included Oasis, Take That, Franz Ferdinand and James Morrison with Annie Lennox, The Saturdays, Elbow and The Script.

A documentary was also shown on nine celebrity climbers, including Take That's Gary Barlow and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles, who raised £1.5 million by climbing Africa's highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro.

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