Over the weekend, I watched about 6 hours of David Walliams’ 24 Hour Panel People, a marathon of 18 panel shows raising money for Comic Relief. It was epic. I wish I could have watched more, but I had to sleep through Whose Line Is It Anyway and Never Mind the Buzzcocks. Woe is me.
Allow me to explain. Every two years in the UK, the BBC hosts Red Nose Day, a massive telethon fundraiser for Comic Relief charity which helps people in Africa and in the UK. They get lots of TV personalities, and in particular comedians, together to do skits and other stuff to encourage Britons to give money.
This year, in the run-up to Red Nose Day, the BBC decided to do a 24-hour-long online stream of panel shows, featuring comedian David Walliams (star of Little Britain) as either a guest or host on each show. Some of the panel shows, such as Mock the Week, QI, and Buzzcocks, are current. Some of them were resurrected for the occasion, like Blankety Blank and Give Us a Clue. They were all shortened versions, and all streamed live (on a 10-minute delay), which meant that us viewers at home got to see all the gaffes and redos of lines that go into making a normally edited show. Celebrity Juice in particular was a big mess (mostly due to JEdward), whereas QI went off without a hitch. In between shows, there were Internet hosts to chat with us, show us classic comedy sketches, and interview show panelists. Every half hour or so they played a short video showing Comic Relief’s work in Africa and in the UK, and they were very moving and well done videos. One featuring David Tennant visiting children with malaria was particularly touching.
I watched Celebrity Juice, Argumental, QI, Give Us a Clue, and What’s My Line but missed the rest. Luckily the BBC will be airing highlights from the marathon next week. Hopefully some intrepid Internauts will post them to YouTube! I thought Argumental and Give Us a Clue fell a bit flat, mostly due to the shorter format (Marcus Brigstocke is always awkward anyway), but the other shows went quite well. I had never watched Celebrity Juice, Give Us a Clue, or What’s My Line before, so it was neat to see some new-to-me shows. And Tom Felton was on What’s My Line!
I don’t know how much money 24 Hour Panel People raised, but the execution was extremely professional, and I was really impressed by how smoothly everything went. David Walliams did really well throughout. I hope the BBC considers the event a success!