The enormous generosity shown by the great British public, in light of the current challenging times, has made Sport Relief 2020 a moment to remember, with more than £40,540,355 raised so far to help change lives in the UK and around the world.
“We are incredibly grateful to the wonderful, generous people who have helped raise this unbelievable amount of money. During the challenging months ahead, we want to ensure donations raised help as many people as possible. Sport Relief is committed to helping vital projects all across the UK and internationally, including those facing an increasing demand on services from people who need extra support because of coronavirus.” – Ruth Davison, Deputy Chief Executive of Comic Relief
Sport Relief’s night of live entertainment, shown across BBC One and BBC Two, and gave viewers a window into how some of this money will help fund amazing organisations tackling issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse, mental health stigma and child poverty, in an evening of sporting fun, global exclusives, one-off specials, sketches and live music.
The sporting extravaganza was broadcast live from Media City UK, Salford and featured new hosts Tom Allen, Rylan Clark-Neal, Maya Jama, Oti Mabuse, Alex Scott and Emma Willis as well as returning presenters Gary Lineker and Paddy McGuinness.
BBC Radio 2’s Jo Whiley, Rev. Kate Bottley and Richie Anderson were given a heroes’ welcome, as they joined Gary Lineker and Alex Scott on stage to complete their third triathlon in as many days as part of their gruelling Dare 2 Tri challenge for Sport Relief. Arriving on stage, they’d already raised an incredible £510,909, having battled freezing cold open waters, punishing cycle routes, and energy-sapping runs in Cardiff, Glasgow and Manchester.
The fun-filled night of TV saw a special visit to AC-12 where Line of Duty’s Arnott, Fleming and Hastings grilled corrupt cop Jason Isaacs and his hapless lawyer Lee Mack. Meanwhile, David Walliams was revealed to be the mysterious blonde assassin in a special Killing Eve spoof – Killing Steves. And later in the evening, Smithy at Sports Personality of the Year was revealed to be the greatest Sport Relief sketch of all time – as voted for by the British public.
The evening featured two world music exclusives, as Rita Ora performed her brand new single How To Be Lonely, and in his first ever TV performance, global influencer, KSI, debuted his new single, Wake Up Call.
Another world first saw Sport Relief collaborate with Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things on an exclusive sketch, as Orlando Bloom, Tan France, Jennifer Saunders, Mark Strong, and Emma Thompson went inside The Upside Down with the help of regular cast members, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink and Finn Wolfhard.
Throughout the evening a number of powerful appeal films reminded viewers of how donations are changing lives in the UK and around the world. Some of the money raised will help some of the most vulnerable people in the UK and around the world including those hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic, and people who rely on homeless centres, food banks, domestic violence shelters, isolated older people or refugees. Comic Relief is offering support to hundreds of organisations that it currently funds to help them adapt their services in response to the pandemic.
One project that featured in an appeal film and will already receive extra support is FareShare, a national food distribution network that delivers fresh food to children’s clubs, community groups and hostels across the UK. FareShare is facing unprecedented demand and is set to receive extra help so they can deliver food parcels to the homes of people self-isolating.
The live TV show marked an entertaining end to this year’s Sport Relief campaign which saw:
A team of brave celebrities travelled to Namibia, to take on an intense, four-day 100-mile expedition across the Namib desert – one of the most hostile environments on earth – for The Heat is On: Sport Relief. Nick Grimshaw, Louise Minchin, Frankie Bridge, Rob Rinder, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Samantha Womack, and Karim Zeroual pushed themselves to the edge to raise £1,037,043
BBC Radio 1 helped avid listener Phil – a teacher and father of four – conquer his Everest dream, in a supersized Sport Relief fundraiser Step To Everest, with the help of some celebrity guests
BBC Radio 3’s Beat Beethoven challenge saw hundreds of people, including BBC newsreader Sophie Raworth, running 5km to ‘beat’ the music
Greg James’ Sport Relief Heroes documentary looked back at some of the most incredible challenges he and fellow celebrities – including Zoe Ball, John Bishop, Davina McCall, Eddie Izzard and David Walliams – have completed to raise money for Sport Relief
The British public were treated to a series of Sport Relief themed TV shows, including BBC’s Catchpoint, Blue Peter, Bargain Hunt which pitted Olympians against sports TV presenters, and a Sport Relief special of Football Stars in Bad Cars on BBC Three
Max Whitlock MBE, Ellie Simmonds, Harry Kane, and Jessica Ennis-Hill helped inspire the UK to get their kit on by supporting this year’s official Sport Relief range sold exclusively in Sainsbury’s and selected Argos stores
British Airways set a world record for the heaviest aircraft pulled over 100m by a team of colleagues and celebrity supporters – Nicola Adams, Alfie Hewett, Gary Linker, Gabby Logan, Iwan Thomas and Joe Wicks
Max Whitlock MBE, double Olympic gold medallist and 2019 gymnastics World Champion, chose two lucky winners of his brand-new competition for Sport Relief in collaboration with BTEC Sport. Oakfield Junior School in Leatherhead and Saracens High School in Edgware went above and beyond with their creative fundraising ideas, and will receive an exciting visit from Max
In December, Welsh Rugby legend, Gareth Thomas, took on the daunting challenge of cycling 500-miles from Cardiff to Aberdeen, in just seven days to deliver the BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy in time for the big night. Gareth Thomas’ Tour De Trophy was all to raise money for Sport Relief and fight against the stigma surrounding some of the biggest issues in the world today
Around the UK, there have been many exciting activities taking place – from trampoline enthusiasts in Southampton to swimmers taking a dip in 8-degree cold waters in Bristol. Sir AP McCoy visited Youth Action NI to see how cash raised by Sport Relief is changing lives in Northern Ireland with a little help from a paddle board, and Laura Muir visited Venture Trust in Edinburgh to learn about the array of outdoor pursuits some of the young people supported by the charity take part in – from wilderness treks to bike rides
Other highlights during the TV evening saw James Bond and David Beckham joining in the Sport Relief fun as they were revealed to be two of the latest prizes to be won in this year’s Prize-a-thon. To be in with a chance of winning the ultimate James Bond film premiere experience; a trip to Miami to meet David Beckham and watch a Inter Miami CF game; or any of the other once in a lifetime experiences, visit www.prizeathon.comicrelief.com/. Entries close on 12th April, and will cost £10 per entry, with all proceeds going to Sport Relief.
Fundraising total announced as the BBC One live TV show drew to a close stood at £40,540,355.