Coining it Yin

Billy is Comic Relief's top fundraiser

Billy Connolly is Comic Relief's biggest asset, charity bosses have revealed.

More money is pledged on Red Nose Day while the Big Yin is on screen than any other entertainer.

"When Billy goes on screen, TV audiences pick up the phones and pledge money. We have the chart to prove it," Comic Relief chief executive Kevin Cahill said.

He was speaking at the launch of this year's appeal, based around a BBC1 telethon on March 14.

Connolly - who famously ran naked around Piccadilly Circus to raise cash for the campaign - will not be taking part in the live event.

However, he has made a documentary called African Hospital, which will be screened a few days before highlighting conditions in one of the world's poorest hospitals in Somalia.

Comic Relief' organisers are this year using silly wigs as well as the traditional red noses to promote the event.

The telethon will feature more than 300 entertainers, including Jonathan Ross, Graham Norton, Lenny Henry and Reeves and Mortimer.

A celebrity version of Fame Academy is also planned.

Norton officially launched the event yesterday by bathing London's BT Tower in red light. The domed glasshouse at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales was similarly turned scarlet.

Official Comic Relief website

Published: 7 Feb 2003

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