Sir Lenny Henry, Dame Judi Dench and Benedict Cumberbatch help show how powerful humour can be in the toughest of times as Red Nose Day returns

2nd February 2021

Dame Judi Dench wearing a red nose
  • As Covid-19 continues to impact people all over the world, we’ve never needed laughter and a reason to smile more

  • Red Nose Day returns on Friday 19th March

  • This year is all about bringing the country together through the power of humour, to help others, and with the launch of Share a Smile, get the country smiling one household at a time

  • Money raised this year will help tackle issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health stigma, and support those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Joe Lycett, Mo Gilligan, Shappi Khorsandi, Sir Lenny Henry discuss how comedy has helped them personally in different ways

  • BBC One night of entertainment is back with a brand-new format hosted by Alesha Dixon, David Tennant, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuiness and Sir Lenny Henry

  • Dawn French revives her much-loved character, Reverend Geraldine Granger, for joyful Vicar of Dibley special

  • David Tennant and Michael Sheen join forces once again for a special instalment Staged

  • Brand new plastic free, plant-based Red Nose now on sale at Sainsbury’s and

  • Chance to win the ultimate at-home family night-in with Disney and their latest upcoming release

  • For more info visit

WATCH FILM HERE(opens in new window)

Red Nose Day is back on Friday 19th March and hopes to bring the UK together (although we may be apart) through laughter and helping others, showing just how powerful humour can be through the toughest of times.

As Covid-19 continues to impact people all over the world, it has never felt more important to raise smiles and money for those who are struggling more than ever. For 35 years, Comic Relief has shown how laughter can make a difference, raising over £1.4bn to help change millions of lives, all thanks to the enormous generosity and kindness of the British public.

Comic Relief co-founder, Sir Lenny Henry, said: “We all need cheering up, so this year Red Nose Day will be a bit different. Of course we want to raise as much money as possible for people who really need it in the UK and around the world. But we also want to make you smile and bring you some laughter over the coming weeks!"

A new short film, which can be watched here, has been released today featuring projects supported by Comic Relief alongside supporters, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dame Judi Dench, Karim Zeroual, Joe Lycett, Mo Gilligan, Roman Kemp, Shappi Khorsandi and Sir Lenny Henry, who discuss how comedy has helped them personally in different ways.

Barrie, aged 70, features in the film and explains how attending Inverclyde Shed, a project in Glasgow that is supported by Comic Relief, has helped combat loneliness. He said: “I joined Inverclyde Shed about 18 months ago, and at that time I was coming out of a fairly dark place, I’d had quite a few problems. I lost my wife in 2004 and I’ve also got a debilitating condition in my spine which means I’m in a wheelchair a lot of the time now."

About his time spent at the Shed, Barrie said: "I discovered something that had been missing in my life, that I didn’t realise had been missing. It was the social aspect of being in the Shed. It was a real eye opener for me. Very quickly I found myself in an environment where there was a lot of banter and a lot of humour. Sometimes, I think you can be very lonely without realising how lonely you are until you experience something else. I really started to enjoy the social aspect of things - being there with the other men, for me was very enlightening."

Benedict Cumberbatch said: “I think laughter is a panacea, it’s always been a national medicine. I think people reached out for it in lockdown; it’s a way of getting through life’s difficulties and release the tension to just have a moments respite from it; and that relief is much needed now."

Dame Judi Dench said: “I absolutely and implicitly believe in laughter being the best medicine. Red Nose Day is something we can all enjoy, and goodness knows during this lockdown everyone has relied so much on television and seeing as many films as they can. I look forward to it enormously. I hope we all have a wonderful laugh and at the same time donate something as it goes to a very, very good cause."

Joe Lycett said: “Laughter is such a great tool. Literally every bad thing that has happened to me in my life, I have been able to get around it with humour. Comedy is such a vital tool in all of our lives, and I think if you lose that then you’ve lost something really profoundly useful. Life is hard, and there’s lots of really dark stuff about it, but if you can laugh at it then it loses all of its power."

Mo Gilligan said: "There’s just something so special about laughter and its ability to bring people together. Comic Relief has never felt more needed, especially when so many people have had it so tough right across the last year. I’m proud to do whatever I can to help this year’s incredible campaign."

Shappi Khorsandi, said: “No matter what, if you’re able to get that feeling of sharing a laugh with someone, then you’ve got a grip on who you are, and you’ve got a grip on hope. When I’m low, or when I’ve gone through the worst points in my life, sitting down with my brother, or a close friend, and laughing about the thing that is happening, laughing about the tragedy with someone who knows you and gets your humour is exactly what you need."

While this Red Nose Day will feel different, there will be lots of exciting ways to support if you feel able to, from celebrity challenges, buying a Red Nose and official Red Nose Day t-shirt, watching BBC TV specials, and much more in store...

Heart-warming moments of kindness and community strength have shone through even the hardest of times in the past year, with people rallying together to support their neighbours and strangers, family, friends and frontline workers, with seemingly small acts that have made a huge difference.

And so, this Red Nose Day sees the launch of Share a Smile, in collaboration with BBC Children’s, to bring a little more joy to homes across the country. Laughter can offer some temporary release from problems and so by encouraging people to put their favourite joke in their window, people power can get the nations laughing right across the UK, one home at a time. An interactive Red Nose map on the CBBC website will show just how smiley we’ve got, and some of the best ones will appear across CBeebies and CBBC shows including Blue Peter, Saturday Mash Up, Newsround and CBBC HQ over the weeks leading up to, and also on the BBC One night of TV.

Red Nose Day 2021 will culminate in an unmissable evening of television that will be broadcast live on BBC One as some of the nation’s favourite faces come together for a very special night of comedy, entertainment, music and much more besides. The Red Nose Day night of TV will feature hilarious sketches, live performances and one-off comedy specials whilst showcasing the incredible impact donations have in the UK and across the world. With lots of exciting news still to be announced in the lead up to the big day, it’s been revealed today that Alesha Dixon, David Tennant, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness and Sir Lenny Henry will present the show plus viewers will be treated to a joyful appearance from Reverend Geraldine Granger, as Dawn French revives her much-loved character for a very special treat from the Vicar of Dibley. The jam-packed evening of entertainment will also see David Tennant and Michael Sheen join forces once again for a special instalment of their hit comedy series, Staged. The Red Nose Day night of TV is made by BBC Studios Productions.

Also as part of this years Red Nose Day campaign, a very special challenge in partnership with BBC’s The One Show will see two celebrity team captains going head to head by competing in a race with a difference. More will be revealed on The One Show soon.

The first in a series of extraordinary prizes created exclusively for Red Nose Day can today be revealed. To help raise money to change lives in the UK and around the world, Disney Studios are offering the ultimate screening experience of its latest upcoming animated adventure release, Raya and The Last Dragon. One lucky family can win a Samsung 65-inch 8K Ultra HD Smart TV, one year of Disney+ membership, a year’s cinema pass, a £100 Deliveroo voucher to be spent on dinner for a big night in, and much, much more. To be in with a chance of securing this prize, enter online at

The new and improved Red Noses, beautifully modelled by Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Roman Kemp, Saffron Barker and Shappi Khorsandi are now 100% plastic free and plant-based, made from a by-product of sugarcane called Bagasse. There’s 10 woodland characters to find in your local Sainsbury’s stores, and on now, and online at from 10th February. Some tips on how to enjoy Noses safely can be found on the Comic Relief website.

Red Nose Day donations will help tackle important issues including homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse, and mental health problems, all of which have been exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic. Money raised will support some of the most vulnerable people and communities in society who have been hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, including those now reliant on food banks, and provide vital funding to under resourced front line charities as they adapt and navigate through these difficult uncertain times.

There are lots of ways to get involved if you feel able to. To find out more, and for covid-safe fundraising ideas, visit


Assets available:

  • Film – short film featuring Comic Relief funded projects and celebrity supporters discussing how comedy has been powerful in their life

  • Quotes from – Sir Lenny Henry, Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mo Gilligan, Joe Lycett, Shappi Khorsandi, Saffron Barker, Joe Sugg and Karim Zeroual

  • Selection of images of Dame Judi Dench, Benedict Cumberbatch, Joe Sugg, Shappi Khorsandi, Roman Kemp, Saffron Barker modelling the new and improved Red Noses

  • Images of Sir Lenny Henry

  • Images of the new 100% plastic free and plant-based Red Noses

  • Images of Barrie, Tash and Oluremi – from projects funded by Comic Relief and who all feature in the short film

  • Case studies – for more info, quotes and pics of case studies available on request


  • Red Nose Day Media Team

  • 020 7820 2500


About Red Nose Day 2021

  • Red Nose Day is back on Friday 19th March 2021 and will aim to bring the UK together to show just how powerful humour can be through the toughest of times and create lasting change with the power of funny

  • It has never felt more important to raise smiles and money for those who are struggling more than ever, as the continued impact of COVID-19 brings unprecedented challenges to many

  • The money raised by Red Nose Day will support people in the UK and around the world, and help tackle homelessness, hunger, domestic abuse and mental health stigma

  • Visit or follow @ComicRelief on social media for the latest Red Nose Day content, news and information

About Comic Relief

Comic Relief raises money to support people living incredibly tough lives. Through humour and stories of hope, we’ve shown that people can make a massive difference. We fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems.

For information about Comic Relief and the work it carries out, please visit in new window)

Comic Relief, which is the operating name of Charity Projects, registered charity 326568 (England/Wales); SC039730 (Scotland)