Peter Kay’s cash booster seat for Red Nose Day
PETER Kay is famous for his hilarious stand-up comedy, but this Friday he will be aiming to boost Comic Relief’s funds — by sitting down.
Tune into the BBC's fund-raising marathon on Red Nose Day and you will see the Bolton comedian taking on a spoof challenge, dubbed “the toughest challenge ever”, being pulled the length and breadth of the UK on a sofa.
He dreamt up the fictitious Sit Down for Comic Relief idea after seeing comedians David Walliams and John Bishop taking on real energy-sapping challenges.
In the 11-minute sketch, he enlisted an army of helpers, including celebrities, to drag the bright red sofa through the country’s towns and countryside.
In reality, all the filming was done in the North West, with most of it in his home town.
Peter said: “I had seen the stuff David and John had done for Sport Relief and felt that sitting on my backside for a week fitted my character much better.
“Everyone knows how much I love TV, so some of the time I found a way of watching telly while I was being pulled along on the sofa.”
As well as the sketch, Peter and Tim Booth, frontman of the Manchester indie band James — whose biggest hit was the early 1990s anthem Sit Down — teamed up to film a music video of the song, which will be released as a download on Friday.
Peter said: “It was great fun, but we didn’t make it easy for ourselves, as we decided to film the sketch and a music video simultaneously in just three days. That was a real challenge.”
Peter had the idea about a year ago and met with Richard Curtis, Blackadder and Vicar of Dibley writer, as well as Comic Relief founder, who thought it might work well.
“I wrote the script in October and made it very precise and thorough and then there was another meeting in January and they said to go ahead. It is sending up those sorts of challenges, but not in a mean-spirited way. What those people have done over the years is absolutely amazing.”
He added: “It is the first thing that I have directed on location since the Pop Factor and that was five years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
In the video, celebrities including Bolton comic Stu Francis, Rusty Lee, Mick Miller, Helen Skelton, Ray Quinn, Ken Morley and Gordon Burns — sporting T shirts with Peter's face and the slogan He's a sitter, not a quitter — joining in and helping to pull the star along.
Peter said: “It’s great that they agree to be involved because I think it just adds an extra layer to the sketch. People like seeing TV stars they may not have seen for a while; the idea behing getting them involved is to celebrate them, not make fun. People like to see celebrities having a laugh and doing different things — it will hopefully make the audience smile.
“I think sometimes — like this sort of sketch — it is better to have people smiling and feeling the joy of it, rather than rolling about laughing.
“Hopefully people will watch it, then rewind it and watch it again to pick up on the detail and have a look at watch individual celebrities are doing. I’m really pleased with it.”
Comic Relief is a British charity, founded in 1985 by Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to the famine in Ethiopia.
The charity’s fund-raising efforts culminate every two years in a BBC telethon on Red Nose Day, which was first launched in 1988 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
In 2011’s programme, £74.3 million was raised on the night, the highest ever “on the night” total.
l Red Nose Day will be on BBC One from 7.30pm and, as well as Peter, will feature a stellar line up of presenters — Michael McIntyre, Rob Brydon, John Bishop, Zoe Ball, Lenny Henry, Davina McCall, Jack Whitehall, Nick Grimshaw, Jonathan Ross, Dermot O’Leary, Claudia Winkleman, Alan Carr, David Walliams and Russell Brand.
For one night only, viewers will be treated to a comedy special of Call the Midwife. Miranda Hart, Jessica Raine, Pam Ferris, Jenny Agutter and the other midwives struggle to get to grips with a particularly unusual birth. Rowan Atkinson will be donning a cassock for the occasion and addressing the nation as the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
The Archbishop will be sharing his views on the importance of fundraising for “Red Nose in Need”, in a script written and directed by Richard Curtis.
Ricky Gervais’s most famous creation, David Brent, will be back for a Red Nose Day special and this time the legendary businessman will be employing his talents as a music producer.
Viewers will also be treated to Comic Relief does MasterChef, with comedians Jack Whitehall and Micky Flanagan going head-to-head in a cook-off for Dame Edna Everage. There will also be two sketches from comedian David Walliams, one of which will see David share an intimate secret with some of his celebrity friends.
The loudest and proudest mother in Ireland Agnes Brown, from Mrs Brown’s Boys, will be telling the nation all about the ways she has raised money for Comic Relief, and Russell Howard has filmed a special Good News which will feature some of his favourite funny moments from the last year.
Award winning magician Dynamo will also be performing a mindboggling trick that promises to leave viewers awestruck.
Pop sensation Jessie J will shave her head live on the night.
Tim jets in from LA for video shoot
AS a bonus to the sketch, Tim Booth, pictured, lead singer with James, agreed for their most famous anthem to be used in a music video directed by Peter to tie in the with his sedentary challenge.
Peter said: “I had been racking my brains to think of songs that might work with the sketch, when I heard the James song Sit Down on Radio 2 and I thought that it would be perfect as a video, as I had previously done with Amarillo, 500 Miles and I Know Him So Well.
“Tim is now based in LA, so I rang him and asked if he would like to get involved, as I knew he and the band were very protective of that song being used in general.
“He said he liked the idea, ran it past other members of the band who agreed and then asked me what it would involve.
“I told him that he would be spending most of the time sitting in a van waiting to film a few seconds of singing to a backing track in freezing temperatures while he was jet lagged. And he said, ‘yes, let’s do it’!
“He came from LA and was brilliant. The song is fantastic and works really well as part of the video. Tim sings straight into the camera and is very engaging. He had no ego, was willing to do whatever was needed and I think the end result is wonderful. Let’s hope people go out and buy the video when it is released.”
Sit Down will be released as a digital download and is the fourth music video Peter has released for Comic Relief.
In 2005, Peter's comedy single release of Is This the Way to Amarillo shot to number one and stayed there for seven weeks, and in its first week it outsold the rest of the Top 20 entirely.
Although released expressly with the intent of proceeds going to Comic Relief, it was not an official Comic Relief single. The song was originally performed by Peter Kay (lipsynching to Tony Christie's voice) during the evening, and was later released as a single.
In 2007, he and Matt Lucas teamed up with Scottish band The Proclaimers — enlisting celebrities as diverse as David Tennant and Bobby Davro — for a cover version of their hit (I Would Walk) 500 Miles.
And two years ago, Peter, in the guise of his character Geraldine McQueen, teamed up with singing sensation Susan Boyle and released a music video of I Know Him So Well from the show Chess.
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