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Wednesday, 18 July, 2001, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Red Nose day's record success
Ali G (back) made David and Victoria Beckham squirm
Ali G (back) made David and Victoria Beckham squirm
Harry Potter and Celebrity Big Brother helped the Comic Relief raise a record sum of more than 52m in this year's charity marathon.

The campaign, with the slogan Say Pants to Poverty, saw 52,241,707 raised by members of the public. The money will help combat poverty and social injustice in Africa and the UK.

Comedian Lenny Henry, one of Comic Relief's trustees, said: "It's fantastic! I can't believe how much money we've raised this year."

Jack Dee and his wife Jane
Jack Dee greeted by wife Jane as he leaves the Big Brother house
He added: "Because of all of the thousands of amazing people over the UK that supported us, Comic Relief can carry on helping some of the poorest and disadvantaged people in Africa and the UK to help themselves."

Red Nose Day on 16 March produced many TV highlights: A naked Billy Connolly, footballer David Beckham and his wife Spice Girl Victoria grilled by Ali G, and camp TV host Graham Norton chatting with the Duchess of York.

About 12.3 million people watched as comedian Jack Dee was pronounced winner of the Celebrity Big Brother contest which began a week earlier with six celebrities locked into a house together with no TV, music, or contact with the outside world.

Naked dancers

One of the most bizarre moments of the night was when Scottish comedian Billy Connolly danced naked around London's Piccadilly Circus before 40 naked dancers wearing Connolly wigs joined a startled-looking Lenny Henry in the studio.

Comedian Billy Connolly in London's Piccadilly Circus
Baring all: Connolly in Piccadilly Circus, London
Miserable TV character Victor Meldrew was brought back to life for one night only in a one-off special of comedy show One Foot In The Grave.

Author JK Rowling wrote two special Harry Potter schoolbooks for Comic Relief, and Helen Fielding wrote Bridget Jones' Guide to Life.

The last show in 1999 led to a final campaign total of 35m.

Since its launch in 1985, Comic Relief has raised over 220m.

See also:

17 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Robbie's charity clear-out
16 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Dee big winner of Big Brother
16 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Red nose Norton and the Duchess
16 Mar 01 | Education
Schools' 'web nose' challenge
12 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Potter magic helps charity
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