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The Big Night In

The BBC’s star-studded, lockdown-inspired telethon goes out live tonight at 7pm.

It is never a straightforward task, producing a telethon. Whenever the BBC airs one of its grand celebrity-studded fund-raising shows (such as Children in Need or Comic Relief), the evenings are the result of many months of tireless planning, scores of meetings, and the often voluntary work of hundreds of crew members, backstage staff and on-screen talent.

It's a formula that the BBC has perfected over the past four decades. However, The Big Night In has been thrown together in a matter of weeks, so there are bound to be lots of nervous people at Broadcasting House tonight. Or rather, at the homes of broadcasters tonight. From 7pm on BBC One and iPlayer, Children in Need and Comic Relief will team up for The Big Night In, which promises to be unlike anything either has produced (or we’ve seen) ever before. So, part of the fun is likely to be in the glitches!

Funds raised by viewers donating tonight will be divided between Children In Need and Comic Relief, who will “provide essential support to local charities, projects and programmes across the UK to help those most in need” during the current crisis. And, in really good news, the UK’s new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has generously promised that the Treasury will match every pound raised, too.

We've all had more than a month to watch everything Netflix and Prime have to offer, and all the prestige box-set dramas we never knew existed. Daily news is a constant drip, drip of doom and gloom. So it feels like the right time for some light relief, especially if that light relief gently pokes fun at the circumstances under which we live now, and ideally if it’s fronted by people with whom we’re familiar, who are in the same situation, facing the same challenges, only in substantially bigger houses.

Tonight's show is likely to be a night of old-fashioned variety – which may well be what we all now need again. Fingers crossed!

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