In its first global viewing event of 2012, BBC Worldwide will give an international stage to one the UK’s biggest televised fundraising efforts. Sport Relief in the UK brings together the best of British sporting talent, comedians and entertainers to raise money to help some of the world’s most vulnerable people. For the first time ever, BBC Worldwide will take that world class entertainment to audiences around the world, so they can be part of it too.
Sport Relief 2012 will be presented to global viewers as a special season across two weeks bringing together a number of brand new and exclusive shows. The highlight of the season will be a four hour extravaganza of comedy and entertainment, presented directly from London. The season features some of Britain’s best loved faces from the worlds of entertainment and sport, with a stellar line up set to include footballing legend David Beckham, the stars of Doctor Who, Top Gear and Mock The Week, Little Britain’s David Walliams, QI’s Stephen Fry, comedians John Bishop, Alan Carr and Catherine Tate and many, many more.
The season airs from 18 March on BBC Entertainment in South Africa. In addition, a bespoke website www.bbc.com/globalsportrelief will allow viewers to find out more about Sport Relief throughout the season.
The season kicks off with a specially produced programme, This is Sport Relief, in which Stephen Fry introduces the British TV event to the global audience. This will be followed by a series of Sport Relief Specials throughout March, documentaries charting some of the campaign’s most memorable events, like David Walliams’ epic swim along the length of the River Thames. Sport Relief 2012 culminates in April with Sport Relief Goes Global, a four-hour extravaganza featuring comedy highlights from the UK’s night of fundraising entertainment on BBC One. Special guests on the night include sporting heroes like the Olympian Sir Stephen Redgrave and UK tennis ace Andy Murray, alongside and a host of comedians and TV luminaries such as Miranda Hart, Russell Brand and the casts of hit shows Doctor Who and Top Gear.
Jana Bennett, President, Worldwide Networks and Global BBC iPlayer, said, “Global viewing events are going to be a big part of our activity this year and I’m thrilled that we can kick off with Sport Relief. Sport Relief is a uniquely inspirational event, which harnesses the passion for sport to unite viewers behind a great cause. I’m thrilled that we at BBC Worldwide can pull the full force of our branded network behind Sport Relief this year, bringing our viewers one of the year’s biggest entertainment events and giving them the chance to get involved.”
David Weiland, Senior Vice President, Programming and TV Channels said, “Sport Relief has provided some of the best British entertainment for years, and 2012 promises to be even bigger and better. Our viewers around the world can expect a roll call of some of television’s biggest names in a series of surprising, often emotional and always entertaining challenges, all in aid of a fantastic cause.”
The climax of Sport Relief 2012 will be Sport Relief Goes Global, a four hour extravaganza of comedy and entertainment, coming directly from The Mall in London, one of the iconic scenes of last year’s Royal Wedding coverage. The exclusive show will include entertainment and hilarious sketches from the stars of Outnumbered, Mock the Week, Gavin and Stacy, Doctor Who and Top Gear, to name just a few. Also making appearances will be some of the greats from the sporting world, including five time Olympic Gold medallist, Sir Stephen Redgrave and Britain’s top ranked tennis player, Andy Murray.
Before that, quiz show host, author and raconteur Stephen Fry will open the season with This is Sport Relief, an entertaining insight into the history of the fundraising event. Produced exclusively for international audiences, special guest appearances include England footballer David Beckham, and funny man David Walliams, who is fast gaining a reputation as one of Sport Relief’s most daring and relentless fundraisers.
A number of programmes will premiere as part of Sport Relief 2012 in the run up to the big finale. David Walliams vs. The Thames* sees the star of Little Britain swim a staggering 140 miles along the River Thames, raising over £1 million in the process and even rescuing a dog on the way! This documentary catches every splash and every stroke of his gruelling journey.
Sport Relief Does Dragon’s Den sees inventors trying to win backing for their fitness-related products in this special sporty edition of the business show. In an added twist, each entrepreneur will be accompanied by a famous sportsperson or celebrity for support. It just remains to be seen whether the likes of tennis ace Greg Rusedski, Olympic Gold medallist James Cracknell, and comedienne Ruby Wax turn out to be a help or a hindrance.
The Million Pound Bike Ride tells of how a group of celebrities, led by David Walliams, completed a gruelling non-stop journey across Great Britain. For four days and nights, Miranda Hart, Jimmy Carr, Russell Howard and others pedalled the length of the country non-stop to raise a million pounds for charity. David Walliams features in yet another aquatic challenge in Little Britain’s Big Swim, this time taking on the English Channel. Filmed over months of intense training, the comedian attempts to swim the distance from the UK to France.
The season runs from Saturday 18th March and airs through till 1st April on BBC ENTERTAINMENT (CHANNEL 120 ON DSTV).