Events Red Nose Day Main Article Image

Published on March 14th, 2019 | by Sam Rose

Red Nose Day 2019 – A View Through The Years

Grab your novelty Red Nose and get ready to do something funny for money – it’s the return of Red Nose Day to our screens this week!

Taking place every two years, Red Nose Day is an event packed full of mayhem, laughter and emotion as the UK gathers together for a night of entertainment and hard-hitting stories in order to help raise money for charity.

Organised by the major UK charity Comic Relief, Red Nose Day has gone through several changes over the years since it first aired in 1988.

Beginning its legacy as a stand-up comedy extravaganza, more recent editions of the show has seen famous faces and other pop culture icons from across the entertainment industry get involved to ‘do something funny for money’.

Join us as we take a closer look at some of the milestones achieved by Red Nose Day through the years below!

Red Nose Day in the 80’s & 90’s

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1988 was the year in which the very first broadcast of Red Nose Day took place.

After creating the Comic Relief charity in 1985, Comedy Greats and icons of the entertainment world such as Lenny Henry, Richard Curtis and other famous friends encourage the public to take part in the first ever Red Nose Day on Friday 5th February 1988.

Over 150 celebrities and comedians took part in the first Red Nose Day, as over £15 million was raised towards charitable causes thanks to the donations of 30 million viewers glued to their television screens for one of the biggest nights of TV on the BBC.

The event was so popular and successful that it was brought back the next year on the 10th of March 1989. Now adding the likes of legendary presenter and radio DJ Terry Wogan into the mix, over £27 million was raised towards more fantastic causes.

It was at this point that Red Nose Day soon became a regular groundbreaking televised event, with each event now coming attached with its own unique tagline whilst the public continued to donate in their millions.

The Stonker’ in 1991, ‘The Invasion of the Comic Tomatoes’ in 1993, ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’ in 1995 and ‘Small Change – Big Difference’ in 1997 all continued to pull in monetary contributions towards Comic Relief.

In 1999, on the Seventh Red Nose Day, Comic Relief broke its very first record in the history of the event by raising over £35 million. It was also the year that supermarket retailer Sainsbury’s became a leading partner, with the supermarket quoted to have sold almost 50 million Red Noses alone!

Red Nose Day in the 2000’s

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Once Red Nose Day entered the millennium, the event’s viewing figures, and the donations that stemmed from it, continued to rocket to record-breaking levels. 2001’s event on the 16th of March managed to raise a staggering £55 million as the UK says, ‘Pants to Poverty’ and generously dip into their pockets for a number of great causes.

Due to the overwhelming success of the Red Nose Day event, Comic Relief decided in 2002 to launch the very first Sport Relief. Instead focusing on raising money through taking part in a number of different sporting activities, Sport Relief raises £14 million in yet another display of the UK’s generous spirit!

From this point, donations towards Comic Relief continue to further skyrocket including £61.6 million being raised in 2003, £63 million in 2005 and £67 million in 2007.

The final event to take place during the ‘noughties’ in 2009 manages to amass a jaw-dropping £82 million!

Red Nose Day in the 2010’s

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Now combining both Sport Relief and the Red Nose Day event, Comic Relief stepped into the 2010’s with high ambitions – and certainly managed to achieve them!

2011 and 2012 were highlighted by yet two more monumental occasions. In another outrageously impressive showing, the public defy all expectations and manage to donate another record-shattering total of over £108.4 million by the end of proceedings.

Additionally, Sport Relief went global for the very first time in 2012, being broadcast in 170 different territories across BBC’s Worldwide channels.

The last three events in recent history were all just as memorable for their own reasons.

Red Nose Day 2013 was headlined by the brave efforts of celebrities Jack Dee, Dara O Brian and other friends as they attempted to tackle the might Zambezi river. Following their heroic exploits, the country is equally inspired to do something for money and raise over £100 million in the process.

Showcasing just how monumental the efforts of Comic Relief, Red Nose Day and Sport Relief have been throughout the years, a grand reveal was made toward the end of 2015’s television broadcast to display the phenomenal grand total raised since its introduction – just over a whopping £1 billion!

America also got it’s first taste of fun and fundraising in the same year, when Red Nose Day USA officially launched and raised over $23 million (approx. £17.5 million) whilst featuring some huge stateside stars and Coldplay’s Chris Martin collaborate with the Game of Thrones cast to perform a musical based on the popular show!

The great work by the public and other fundraising channels continued in 2017, with the total on the night reaching another colossal amount of £76 million.

Red Nose Day in 2019

Red Nose Day 2019 Logo

As for this year? Well, who knows who will show up as the UK and the rest of the world gathers together as one to help highlight and raise money towards important charitable causes once again!

Whilst Comic Relief are keeping tight-lipped on the majority of what sketches and famous faces we can expect, we do know that the cast of the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ are set to reunite in a special short-film titled ‘One Red Nose Day and a Wedding’!

As a result, we can expect to see the likes of Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell and Rowan Atkinson in the one-off special but some other secret special guest stars are teased to appear too – so keep your eyes peeled!

More Funny for Money Facts

Check out our infographic below for a few more fun facts about Comic Relief and Red Nose Day!


Red Nose Day Through The Years Infographic Final Cropped

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