Dawn French & Her Work
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Murder Most Horrid
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The Vicar of Dibley
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by Caroline Marshall

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Comic Relief

Dawn French has been involved with the charity Comic Relief since 1986 when along with Lenny Henry and Richard Curtis (the writer of Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley) the idea for 'Red Nose Day' was developed. A three-night live comedy show was put on for charity at the Shaftesbury theatre, and the BBC showed highlights from the show. It was immediately praised for being a great fundraising activity as well as a successful show. Richard Curtis presented the idea to the BBC, which eventually led to the very first Red Nose Day in 1988, and raised 15 million. Two years later the show was followed by another six hour programme and the event has been organised every two years since.

Since then Dawn, Jennifer and Lenny have performed and presented various sketches every other year on 'Red Nose Day'. Britain's top comedians regularly take part in helping with Comic Relief appeals, while pop acts provide the musical entertainment on the night.

For each appeal, the famous 'red noses' have a different gimmick to encourage people to buy new ones.

A Comic Relief single is traditionally released as part of the campaign. In 1997 The Spice Girls released 'Who Do You Think You Are?' especially for the charity, while in 1999 Boyzone made 'When The Going Gets Tough', both singles which were No. 1 in the UK charts.

For all events staged by Comic Relief, including the TV comedy show and the music singles, all stars involved generously donate their time and talents to the extremely worthy cause, free of charge.

Richard Curtis, writer and co-founder of Comic Relief, was given the 'Special Award' at the 1999 BAFTAs, for his work in comedy and for charity. It was announced during the ceremony that Comic Relief has raised over 174m so far.