French was joined on screen at the start of the fundraiser by Gogglebox star Kate Bottley, dancing around the old living room of sitcom favourite Geraldine Granger, in a sketch that proved popular with many on social media.
Several described the skit as ‘hilarious’, with one viewer adding: ‘Well this has made my Friday!’
The BBC‘s night of comedy is being hosted by TV presenters Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry and singer Alesha Dixon.
Keira Knightley, Olivia Colman, David Walliams and Idris Elba were among the stars to appear on the annual fundraiser, which is being aired on BBC One, and has raised a total of £25,406,076 so far.
Knightley appeared alongside Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Jodie Whittaker in a sketch for the programme.
The stars featured in a joke trailer for the film 2020 The Movie, which also featured appearances from comedian Matt Lucas, singer Gary Barlow, actor Sanjeev Bhaskar and YouTuber KSI.
Justin Bieber also gave an exclusive performance of his song Hold On during the programme.
Comedian Jack Whitehall also hosted a Comic Relief Zoom call with Elba and Colman.
During the programme, comedian and children’s author Walliams joined Sir Lenny to meet schoolchildren, who were discussing the recyclable red nose being sold for Red Nose Day.
It was also revealed during the programme that double amputee racing driver Billy Monger raised £2,376,183 for Comic Relief.
Monger, who previously completed a 140-mile triathlon-inspired challenge for the charity, was told the fundraising total by the presenters.
He said he was ‘speechless’, adding: ‘That’s completely out of what I thought was possible, so thank you everyone.’
The programme opened with Dawn French singing Lizzo song Juice as her character from The Vicar Of Dibley
French was joined on screen at the start of the fundraiser by Gogglebox star Kate Bottley, dancing around the old living room of sitcom favourite Geraldine Granger, in a sketch that proved popular with many on social media
Prince William has recorded a special message for Comic Relief to thank the Great British public for their generosity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris, the hosts of Top Gear, appeared on Comic Relief together this evening
Comedian Russell Brand starred as fitness guru Joe Wicks in a joke trailer for the film 2020 The Movie on the programme
Keira Knightley (pictured), Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Jodie Whittaker also featured in a sketch for the programme
Double amputee racing driver Billy Monger raised £2,376,183 for Comic Relief, adding that he was ‘speechless’ by the total
The fundraiser was hosted by TV presenters Davina McCall (pictured) and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry and singer Alesha Dixon
Comic Relief will later feature an appearance from the Duke of Cambridge, praising viewers who helped raise millions last year.
In a video message, William highlighted how some of the money raised has gone to the National Emergencies Trust, which he supports as patron.
The duke said in his video message: ‘Your incredible generosity raised over £74 million for so many brilliant charities, including the National Emergencies Trust, at a time when Covid was first really taking its toll. Thank you all so much.’
William’s message introduced a powerful film that highlights the huge increase in the number of people experiencing mental health issues over the past year and the support being provided by organisations funded by Comic Relief.
As part of their emergency response, Comic Relief helped deliver a special one-off fundraising campaign in April 2020, the Big Night In, which raised more than £74 million for UK charities and was split between Comic Relief, BBC Children in Need and the National Emergencies Trust.
During The Big Night In, which aired last April, Prince William appeared in a hilarious Blackadder sketch with Stephen Fry, who reprised his iconic role as Lord Melchett.
Melchett paced around his office impatiently waiting for the Duke to call in, quipping: ‘I thought Germans were meant to be punctual’.
Apologising, William said Zoom was ‘complicated stuff’, later revealing homeschooling Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte was proving a ‘bit of a nightmare’ in lockdown.
The Duke said he was struggling to cope with not being able to watch EastEnders, but refused the Blackadder star’s recommendation of trying Netflix sensation Tiger King instead, adding: ‘I tend to avoid shows about royalty.’
As their virtual exchange drew to a close, Melchett reminded William to go out and clap for the NHS at 8pm, before William joked about not wearing any trousers.
The show then cut to the Cambridges clapping on their doorstep in Norfolk as part of the weekly show of gratitude for health and social care workers.
The BBC ‘s night of comedy is being hosted by TV presenters Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry (pictured) and singer Alesha Dixon
Music superstar Justin Bieber also gave an exclusive performance of his song Hold On during the programme
Comedian Jack Whitehall also hosted a Comic Relief Zoom call with Idris Elba, Olivia Colman and Emma Thompson
William’s appearance tonight came as his brother was seen in public for the first time since his interview with Oprah Winfrey two weeks ago left his relationship with the Royal Family hanging by a thread.
Prince Harry left his wife Meghan and son Archie at their £10million mansion and hit the road on an expensive electric bike followed by a security team in a 4×4 as he pedalled through Montecito, California.
The Duke of Sussex, wearing New Balance trainers, a hooded top, £62 Adidas sweatpants, The Mission Continues veterans’ association baseball cap, sunglasses and mask, looked serious while racing through LA traffic as the Oprah interview continues to make headlines around the globe.
Harry was seen whizzing along a cycle lane on his electric bike, turning left down a side street as traffic queued behind him. He was not wearing a helmet – under Californian state law, only under-18s are required to wear one.
As he hit the road, 5,400 miles away in Britain his brother William and his wife Kate, continued their royal duties as sources close to the Queen said she is ‘sad but not angry’ – but has privately pledged to stand by Harry.
It also came after Prince Philip, 99, left hospital in London after a month-long stay to be reunited with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
Prince Harry has been seen in public for the first time since he and his wife Meghan rocked the royals with their Oprah interview
Harry was trailed by his security team as he pedalled through Montecito in the Californian sunshine
Harry, wearing a cap, sunglasses, mask and sportswear used the bike lane near the Sussexes £10million mansion
Harry, wearing New Balance trainers, a hooded top, £62 Adidas sweatpants, The Mission Continues veterans’ association baseball cap, sunglasses and mask, looked serious while racing through LA traffic
Harry left his wife and son at home when he was spotted briefly enjoying a ride alone with his security
Harry peeled off left as his bodyguard followed in a 4×4 – the first time he’s been seen in around a fortnight
Harry is understood to have spoken to his brother William, but it is believed to have not gone well
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted that the two-hour sit down with CBS would be their ‘final word’ on their decision to quit as frontline royals, although their friends in the media including Gayle King have helped give a running commentary.
Ms King – a friend of Meghan’s who attended her 2019 NYC baby shower and one of Winfrey’s closest confidantes – disclosed this week that initial talks between Harry and his father the Prince of Wales and William were ‘not productive’.
And, in a thinly-veiled threat, the breakfast show presenter said the duchess had ‘documents to back up everything she said on Oprah’s interview’.
She also said no-one from the royal family had yet talked to Meghan, perhaps not unsurprisingly given the plethora of highly damaging allegations she levelled against them.
Yesterday, just days after the royals were plunged into a family crisis as a result of the Sussexes’ explosive US television interview, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were pictured standing in front of a ‘Healing Hurt’ heart mural in London – complete with a crown.
William, 38, and Kate, 39, were visiting Newham Ambulance Station in east London to hear how the paramedics and staff have coped during the pandemic, with a strong focus on mental health.
But in the back of everyone’s minds was the continuing family fall-out as a result of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell chat with Oprah.
The Cambridges did not discuss the rift it has caused, although a week ago William was forced to speak out at another royal event and publicly hit back against Harry and Meghan’s race claims, insisting, ‘We’re very much not a racist family’.
The Duchess of Sussex accused the royal family of racism and said the institution failed to help her when she had suicidal thoughts.
Harry also said he felt let down by his father in the Prince of Wales and wanted to heal the relationship but ‘there’s a lot of hurt that’s happened’.
He admitted there was a gulf, still, between himself and William but insisted that he loved him, adding that ‘time heals all things, hopefully’.
The Queen has said the issues raised in the Oprah interview will be dealt with privately as a family, but that ‘some recollections may vary’, indicating that a number of family members are unwilling to accept Harry and Meghan’s claims.
The wellbeing garden at the ambulance station was established in 2019 as a way of promoting discussion about mental health.
The colourful murals and paintings were by street art group Art Under The Hood.
During their visit, to talk to staff about their experiences of working during one of the most challenging periods in the London Ambulance Service’s history, William and Kate even ended up FaceTiming a paramedic’s father in Bangladesh.
Paramedic Jay Khan asked the couple if it was okay to call her dad, Abu, in Bangladesh, who has been staying separated from his family since lockdown after his mother fell ill.
William told Abu: ‘You must be very proud of your daughter.’ Abu replied: ‘Yes we are all very proud of her.’ The royals also joined a call with Jay’s sister Nasrin and granddad Baharam in the UK.
William told them: ‘She works very hard and she’s looking forward to seeing you soon.’
Kate, wearing a £349 coat by Massimo Dutti, £550 Kiki McDonough yellow gold earrings and a reusable cloth face mask, added: ‘Hopefully it won’t be too long before you can all meet up and see each other again.’
The couple laughed as Jay told her family: ‘Say bye now. Let them go.’ William quipped: ‘We can stay here and do some more family chatting if that works?’
They also met paramedic Shani Smith who has been helping to run one of the special tea trucks to serve ambulance staff and medics over the past year, and heard how she has used her mental health training to provide peer support to her colleagues.
Shani, who has worked for the service for over 20 years, said this was the worst time she had ever experienced.
‘It’s been like one long major incident,’ she said.