Sam Smith, Miranda Hart and Dawn French kick off BBC One’s Big Night In

The BBC One fundraising programme Big Night In has kicked off with a number of celebrity performances.

Sam Smith has performed an isolation version of their song Lay Me Down during the programme and David Walliams pledged to name a character in his new children’s book after one viewer.

There were also comedy performances by Dawn French and Miranda Hart.

Graham Norton Show – London
French appeared on the charity programme (Matt Crossick/PA)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak urged people to give generously to the programme, saying that the Government would match all donations to the show.

He said: “We are all worried, worried about our health, our friends, our family, but I also know when we look back and remember that in this time of crisis that we came together as a country.

“We were there for each other and that is what the Big Night In is all about.

“I’m so grateful to everyone who has donated tonight and don’t forget the Government has pledged to match every pound you donate, so please do give generously.”

Proud to be matching your donations to #TheBigNightIn pound for pound.

Share and click below to donate👇

— Rishi Sunak #StayHomeSaveLives (@RishiSunak) April 23, 2020

YouTuber Joe Sugg also began cutting the hair of his girlfriend Dianne Buswell while the programme was being broadcast.

Buswell said: “I’m actually a professional hairdresser, so you would think it would be me cutting Joe’s hair, but no, the tables have turned and Joe is going to be cutting my hair tonight.”

Two families, one in Leeds and another in Sussex, are also doing lockdown haircuts during the programme.

Presenters Davina McCall, Sir Lenny Henry and Matt Baker kicked off the show.

Graham Norton Show – London
Sir Lenny said that viewers ‘are not alone’ (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Sir Lenny said: “It is important to know you may be at home but you are not alone.”

McCall told viewers that the presenters would be observing social distancing rules during the programme.

She said: “Everyone in the studio, we are all two metres apart and we are taking all the necessary safety precautions.”

The collaboration between BBC Children In Need and Comic Relief is fundraising for the two charities.

Money raised by the programme is being split equally between the two organisations to provide support to local projects and programmes across the UK during the coronavirus pandemic.

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