Comic Relief’s David Tennant announces Red Nose Day change on air

Comic Relief’s David Tennant had to announce a major Red Nose Day format change live on air during the telethon.

Friday night (March 18) was the annual fundraising show where the BBC raises money for those most vulnerable in the UK and elsewhere – including Ukraine, this year – with an all-star presenting team.

Tennant was joined by Comic Relief co-founder Sir Lenny Henry, Paddy McGuinness and Alesha Dixon, but had to open the show with the news that another co-host wasn’t going to make it.

“We’re a player down, tonight,” Tennant announced. “Zoe Ball, unfortunately, got COVID! She was forced to pull out of the show. We will miss you tonight, Zoe. We are sending you loads and loads of love.”

Comic ReliefBBC

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The hosts then revealed that Zoe’s absence would impact the format of the show since her duties would have to be shared.

“The show must go on,” Paddy added. “And for Alesha, it’s going to go on… and on… and on! You’re here until the very end [now]. “

Alesha chuckled at the announcement, but assured Paddy: “Alright, as well as the audience! They’re here as well!”

Earlier in the day, Zoe Ball had announced that she would have to watch the fundraising appeal from home.

zoe ball, comic relief 2022

Nicky JohnstonBBC

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Ball wrote on Instagram: “Fell at last hurdle and have had positive lat flows this morning – noooooooo – gorgeous @aleshaofficial is going to work the double shift tonight on @ComicRelief. I owe you lady love – good luck to A, Lenny, David , @ mcguinness.paddy, @ajodudu, @vernonkay, and the @comicrelief gang, so many brilliant treats in store tonight.

“I’ll be watching and supporting from bed (probably in full make up, outfit, heels and all) might invite @joeldommett over #sickbay.”

As Zoe referenced in her message, she wasn’t the only Red Nose Day host to drop out. Joel Dommett also had to cancel his appearance di lui on Friday’s show because he’d tested positive for COVID-19.

The night does feature the reunion of David Walliams and Matt Lucas, Strictly‘s Rose Ayling-Ellis and Giovanni Pernice performing together and a Repair Shop sketch featuring French and Saunders.


If you’d like to donate to Red Nose Day, you can visit the website or text “YES” to 70210 to donate £ 10. Full terms and additional details are available on the website.

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