David Tennant and Davina McCall presented a star-studded Comic Relief show
Comic Relief's TV extravaganza raised a record £57m overnight, smashing the previous record of £40.5m from 2007, when the charity event was last held.
Stars including footballer David Beckham and pop star Robbie Williams, appeared on the show, and people have been fund-raising across the UK.
The total is expected to increase by at least £20m as more donations flood in.
The money raised from Red Nose Day will go towards helping disadvantaged people across Africa and in the UK.
By the end of the evening, the total stood at £57,809,938.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said the money raised would make a "real difference".
"I would like to offer my personal congratulations to the whole Comic Relief team for their success in raising a record £57 million yesterday," he said.
"That figure is testament both to their hard work and also to the outstanding generosity of the British people.
Sainsbury's, which sold official Comic Relief merchandise, handed over a cheque for more than £9m - the biggest single donation ever presented in the event's history.
The supermarket reported record sales of red noses this year - up 23% compared with 2007 - with an average of 100,000 noses being bought every day.
The TV coverage of the event began at 1900 GMT on Friday and included special editions of Harry Hill's TV Burp, the Sarah Jane Adventures, Outnumbered and Dragons' Den.
COMIC RELIEF FACTS
There have been 12 Red Nose Days to raise funds
£600 million has been raised for charity
There have been 50 million red noses sold since 1985
11 Comic Relief singles have gone to number one
The night's first hosts, Davina McCall and Doctor Who star David Tennant, went head-to-head in a special edition of Mastermind, with Tennant coming out on top.
McCall had earlier apologised to viewers for former Have I Got News For You presenter Angus Deayton's inadvertent use of the word "bugger" in a sketch.
A BBC spokeswoman said: "No offence was intended and Davina McCall clearly mouthed 'sorry' into the camera."
Other highlights included comedians Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders starring in their own version of hit musical Mamma Mia!
England footballers including David Beckham, Frank Lampard and Peter Crouch appeared in a sketch with Gavin and Stacey's James Corden.
And Corden's co-stars Rob Brydon and Ruth Jones were joined by Tom Jones in a guest appearance on Comic Relief Does Top Of The Pops, performing their single (Barry) Islands in the Stream.
Musical stars Oasis, Take That, Franz Ferdinand and James Morrison all performed on the show, along with Annie Lennox, The Saturdays, Elbow and The Script.
The Royle Family and Ricky Gervais also recorded segments for the show, while a documentary following nine celebrity climbers - including Take That's Gary Barlow and Radio 1 DJ Chris Moyles - reach the 6,000m summit of Kilimanjaro raised more than £1.5 million alone.
Kate Moss and Sadie Frost do a comic turn with comedian Katie Brand for Comic Relief
Moyles said: "It was such an important thing we were doing and for me, I had two jobs - we wanted to raise money and I was representing every fat, lazy man.
"But I tell you what, we did a good job. And it was very hard, but we raised a lot of money which is great."
TV presenter Fearne Cotton said a visit to Africa to meet victims of malaria inspired her to keep going on the climb.
She said: "I was lucky enough, in a way, to go to Uganda before Christmas and meet people and families who are so affected by malaria.
"So whenever I felt really ill and awful I just remembered the people that I met, and it really drove me on."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown told them they were "inspiring a generation of kids who would never have thought about these things" and added that they were "nine heroes" when he met them at Downing Street on Thursday.
On Saturday night, celebrities including Robert Webb and Jo Brand will compete in the final of Let's Dance For Comic Relief - with bookmaker William Hill tipping Webb as 11/10 favourite to win.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.