Comic Relief: Is it still Funny for Money?

Comic Relief celebrated its 25th anniversary telethon which not only raised a record £75 million in donations but also proved a hit with the television audience on the night.

Overnight figures show that a peak audience of 12 million individuals tuned in to watch the extravaganza at 9pm, reaching 40.6% of the audience.

The collection of comic sketches and heartfelt messages dominated the share of TV viewing on the night; taking 35.4% of the audience throughout its duration. This was up 114% on the same period the previous Friday. This increase lead to a difficult night for the commercial stations, with ITV1 seeing its share drop from 15.2% share to 11.2%, a 26% drop. Channel 4 also saw a drop in share from 6.2% to 5%, a 19.3% drop in viewing. This was the same case for Channel 5, which had a drop from 3.5% to 2.9%, a 17% drop in share.

Channel 5 and ITV1 maintained their programming schedule going up against the BBC, which has allowed us to see which programmes saw the biggest drop week on week. Piers Morgan struggled on the night (sic) seeing a 56% drop in viewing. Clearly soap fans are more loyal, with Emmerdale holding much more of its audience, with just an 11% drop. Channel 4 approached the night differently by changing its regular Friday night schedule of Come Dine with Me, Eight out of Ten Cats and Alan Carr: Chatty Man for repeats of Meteor Strike, Stephen Fry’s Gadget Man and The Bank Job. This seems to have been a sensible decision with Channel 4’s Friday schedule 28% down on last week, no more than ITV1 of Channel 5. This trend was expected by OMD UK as events such as Comic Relief, Royal affairs and Major Sporting events have the power to change viewing habits.

Week on Week changes for ITV1 and Channel 5.




W-O-W change


Piers Morgan



Channel 5




Channel 5

Ice Road Truckers



Channel 5

The Mentalist




Coronation Street




Coronation Street







The £75million donations (and rising) has proven that Comic Reliefs simple equation of you laugh and you give, continues to be a powerful combination even 25 years on since Comic Relief was first televised.

Highlights of the night included Jessie J shaving her head, Simon Cowells wedding day, Miss Piggy introducing One Direction to perform their Comic Relief Single and Peter Kay’s Stand-Up Sit-Down.


About Author


Comments are closed.