Comic Relief 2021: Justin Bieber and Prince William lead Red Nose Day stars

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Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber's performance aired on the same day that he released his album, Justice

Justin Bieber and the Duke of Cambridge were among famous faces who took part in this year's Red Nose Day on BBC One.

The Canadian singer gave this year's Comic Relief charity fundraiser an exclusive performance of his latest song Hold On.

Prince William thanked the public for its "compassion and generosity".

Comic Relief had raised £52m by Saturday morning to help tackle hunger, homelessness, domestic abuse and mental health stigma.

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Speaking about mental health in a recorded video message, the duke said: "This is a subject that is very close to my heart and it's wonderful to know that your support tonight will make sure that there is help at hand when things become too much for people."

Bieber - who released his album, Justice, earlier on Friday - asked viewers who could to donate to "help those who need it most".

Duke of Cambridge
The Duke of Cambridge took part in a spoof Zoom call with Stephen Fry for the BBC's Big Night In last year

Other stars to take part included Daniel Craig and Catherine Tate.

Craig's James Bond came face-to-face with Tate's Nan character in a sketch that saw Nan cleaning an office in MI6 before accidentally video-calling 007.

His character then introduces himself as "Bond. James Bond", to which Nan quips: "Well make up your mind, son. Why are you introducing yourself backwards?"

By the end of the sketch, Nan is revealed as a villain, telling Bond: "It's me, 0075. I have got a bus pass and a licence to watch the BBC and I have finally caught up with you."

Michael Sheen, Keira Knightley and KSI starred in 2020: The Movie, a parody based on recent world events.

And Dawn French made a return as the Vicar of Dibley, opening the show with a rendition of Lizzo's song, Juice.

Catherine Tate with Daniel Craig
Catherine Tate and Daniel Craig in character as Nan and James Bond

Alesha Dixon, Sir Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, Paddy McGuinness and David Tennant hosted the three-hour special.

Former Doctor Who star Tennant also appeared with Sheen in a special episode of their Zoom-based comedy series Staged.

Jack Whitehall, meanwhile, had his own battles with Zoom in another star-studded sketch that featured Olivia Colman, Anya Taylor-Joy and others.

Comic Relief presenters Paddy McGuinness, Alesha Dixon, Sir Lenny Henry, Davina McCall and David Tennant
Comic Relief presenters Paddy McGuinness, Alesha Dixon, Sir Lenny Henry, Davina McCall and David Tennant

McGuinness and his fellow Top Gear presenters faced awkward questions from children in a comedy segment hosted by BBC Radio 1's Jordan North.

There was also a "mash-up" of BBC Three hits Fleabag and Normal People, featuring stars Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Andrew Scott.

In the scene, Scott's Fleabag character Hot Priest heard confession with Normal People's Connell and Marianne simultaneously as they talked about their relationship issues.

Meanwhile, comedians including Caroline Quentin, Jennifer Saunders and Alex Brooker performed Nessun Dorma from Puccini's opera Turandot after being coached by the English National Opera and soprano Charlotte Church.

Throughout the night of entertainment, viewers were shown films outlining how their donations could change lives in the UK and around the world.

They included a number of films that had been co-produced with local film-makers in India, Kenya, South Africa and Uganda.

Last year Comic Relief said it would stop sending celebrities to Africa after criticism that such films promoted a "white saviour" narrative.

KSI wearing a red nose
YouTuber and rap star KSI features in 2020: The Movie, billed as "part biopic, part disaster film"

This year's fundraising had already seen charity challenges featuring Alex Scott, Jermaine Jenas and double leg amputee Billy Monger.

One Show stars Scott and Jenas competed in an epic Red Nose and Spoon Race, while Monger took on a triathlon-inspired challenge that saw him walk, cycle and kayak 140 miles across England.

Monger said he was "speechless" when presenters told him he had raised £2,376,183, adding: "That's completely out of what I thought was possible, so thank you everyone."

The theme of this year's Red Nose Day has been Funny Is Power, with the aim of empowering people to do good through humour.

Sir Lenny rounded off the programme by saying: "After a year of lockdowns, we hope we have given you laughter and joy."

The last Comic Relief fundraiser in March 2019 raised £63m by the end of the evening.

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