Do You Take Part in Red Nose Day?
Can you believe Red Nose Day has been going since 1988? It has almost become a UK institution – people dressing up or doing things for charity on the day.
Alongside BBC Children In Need. Two days when there’s a massive charitable fund-raising effort driven by creatives in the world of tv, comedy, acting and so on..
A little history:
When it began, its slogan was, “The Plain Red Nose”, and £15 million was raised.
The people behind Comic Relief, or Red Nose Day as in response to famine in Ethiopia and other poverty-stricken areas of the world.
Two British comedy legends, comedy scriptwriter, Richard Curtis and comedian, Lenny Henry co-founded and co-created the charity, Comic Relief.
Over the years, the day has grown, and famous actors, singers, comedians, presenters and many more, have happily taken part in stupid activities, have hosted events and generally given their support. The money raised has a huge impact on the lives of many people in both the UK and around the world.After not having a Red Nose Day in 2020, the day in 2021 raised an amazing £55,028,000!
In the past, I’ve worked on two campaign for Comic Release.
- In 2010 I was given a contract, as a journalist, to visit funded projects in the south west the UK, find the best stories and then feedback to the teams in London who were getting together a bank of stories for print, radio and TV in the run up to Comic Relief 2011. Then all of these ideas would be pitched to the organising board in London. This meant working months in advance of the actual date, that was amazingly hard work but also an amazing experience.
However, the London-based teams often have no concept of life outside the ‘big smoke’! Their idea of working in the South West was – one day they wanted me to go to Warminster and then Carmarthen, in the same day! I said ‘no!’ I wasn’t going to do an interview in one place, then drive 3 hours from one to the other, and then another 3 hours home! On average on these jobs, you’d stay at a project for at least two hours, to get a real feel of what was happening and how the project worked.Alongside finding the stories, I also had to consider the legal implications, with duty of care towards the vulnerable people involved. Not everyone could be named or photographed and it was left to me to ascertain all of that based on my experience, knowledge and my judgement of someone’s mental situation, then feed that back to the team in London.
- My second chance to work with Comic Relief was in 2021, in preparation for the 2013 program. This time round, there was far more remote work and much less travel.
It was interesting when it came to make decisions about which stories should be filmed. The discussion was all around choosing the types of films that would elicit strong emotional responses in the viewers to pick up their phones and donate. At that time, the thinking was that films about poorly children in the UK or overseas would generate more cash that films about drug addiction or older people with dementia. Often, the latter would not be filmed at all, or would be aired late at night.
Personally, and as a journalist, I found it sad and hard to grasp, that we the viewers, make instant, emotional and gut decisions about donating, that completely ignores what is ‘fair’ or ‘just’ or even the best stories. However, my business head began to understand that whereas Comic Relief will consider any project that meets its criteria for funding, when it comes to choosing projects to promote its work on film, it becomes a different commercial decision.