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Comic Relief raises over £34m as stars parody The Traitors and Eurovision

The BBC’s annual Comic Relief fundraiser, which this year featured sketches based on the popular show The Traitors and the Eurovision song contest, has raised more than £34m.

The show, hosted at Media City in Salford, included AJ Odudu, Joel Dommett and Paddy McGuinness as presenters.

This year’s fundraiser will support people struggling with the cost of living crisis, food poverty, mental health issues and homelessness.

The money raised was announced live by hosts McGuinness, David Tennant and Zoë Ball. Dame Mary Berry, Danny Dyer and Jamie Dornan made appearances on the show.

Comic Relief was founded by Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis in 1985 with the intention to help end child poverty in the UK and around the world.

For the first time since the programme was launched, Henry was not there but he appeared in a recorded appeal to help starving communities in Africa.

After a montage of clips from his past visits to the continent with the charity, Henry said: “But I think what I said then, still rings true to me now. Forget geography. These are your neighbours.”

During the opening credits, the co-founder regenerated into the former Doctor Who Tennant, who said: “For the first time in Comic Relief’s history, we are flying without our captain, Sir Lenny Henry.”

Dame Mary Berry and Claudia Winkleman (first and second left) took part in a sketch based around The Traitors with Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (third and fourth left). Photograph: Comic Relief/PA

The singers Zara Larsson and Tom Grennan performed live.

Celebrities began fundraising before Friday night’s live show, with BBC Radio 1’s Arielle Free taking part in a cycling challenge and BBC One Morning Live’s Gethin Jones dancing for 24 hours.

The TV event included a video appeal from Prince William, in which he met homeless people helped by Comic Relief. The show also included a parody sketch of The Traitors, which featured real contestants Maddy and Wilf alongside Berry and Dyer.

Jennifer Saunders, Stephen Merchant and Rosie Jones featured in the sketch, while Dawn French played the role of Claudia Winkleman.

Elsewhere on the show there was an appearance from Kylie Minogue, while the Blackadder star Tony Robinson read a bedtime story as the character Baldrick.

This year’s red nose was designed by the former Apple designer Jony Ive.

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