The History Of Red Nose Day
On Christmas Day 1985, BBC One broadcast a live launch of Comic Relief from the Safawa Refugee Camp in Sudan. The organisation was founded initially to help those affected by the famine in Ethiopia, but it has subsequently changed its focus to raising money for malnourished and disadvantaged people in the UK and Africa.
Although the first Red Nose Day didn’t occur until 1988, a significant fundraising event including British comedy talents like Rowan Atkinson, Billy Connolly, and Steven Fry took place two years earlier in April 1986.
On February 5th 1988, BBC One broadcast the very first Red Nose Day. A televised special, featuring characters from Blackadder and The Young Ones, saw them competing in a game of University Challenge which attracted 30 million views. Almost 150 celebrities and comedians performed during this event, which raised £15 million in total for charity.
The first red nose, a simple red ball that founders Sir Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis wanted to symbolise their charity, was also established on Red Nose Day in 1988. Sales of the Red Nose alone have raised more than £70 million over the previous 32 years, and this year Comic Relief’s famed nose has undergone the most drastic redesign since its inception, becoming a honeycomb sphere made completely of plant-based materials.
You can get your own red nose from Comic Relief’s website, or on Amazon. You can also donate as little as £1.00 over on their donations page on their website.