BBC viewers who have raised hundreds of millions of pounds through the Comic Relief Red Nose Day telethon were angered by a segment during the Friday night broadcast that made a joke aimed at Ukrainians sheltering in the UK from Russia’s assault on their country.

During the charity special, a sketch in which the character Alan Partridge (played by Steve Coogan) along with his sidekick Simon (Tim Key) were supposedly broadcasting from the fictional North Norfolk Digital TV, in which they were reading out the most and least charitable things sent to them by the public.

At one point Simon said: “Grant in Briston [a Norfolk village] said his most charitable act was taking in a family of Ukrainians for a year.”

Partridge then asked: “And the least charitable?”

Simon replied: “Turfing them out, he’s got rid.”

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At this point, Partridge burst out laughing and said: “Marvelous, well actually a friend of mine did that for a family of Ukrainians.” He then added, “Still friends with them, they still wash his cars.”

Within minutes social media was inundated with outraged responses to their remarks from viewers.

One writer on X (formerly Twitter) posted: “WHAT was that Ukraine joke on the Alan Partridge sketch…? Come on BBC.”

“Alan Partridge sketch was awful,” another added. “Especially the stupid comments about #Ukraine refugees. Not impressed.”

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A third said: “On the day when 20 Ukrainians killed in a missile attack in Odesa, jokes about Ukrainian refugees not really that funny.”

Comic Relief is a British charity, founded in 1985 in response to the famine in Ethiopia. The idea was to raise money to help people around the world by getting British comedians to make the public laugh.

In 1988 the charity partnered with the BBC to host an annual telethon in the spring called Red Nose Day, in the run-up to which the public raised money for being sponsored to do crazy things or buying branded red-nose merchandise. On the night comedians, popular musicians and other celebrities would announce how much had been raised and do skits for which the public was encouraged to pledge further donations.

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During the show on Friday, March 15, it was announced that the charity had raised over £1.6 billion ($2.04 billion) during the previous 30 years and, despite the sour note left by the Partridge sketch, £38.6 million ($50 million) was pledged during the show with more rolling in since then.

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Comments (2)

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Peter Cotton
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As a Brit I deplore this joke. Utterly appalling. We're praying for victory for Ukraine. "Though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever" (Psalm 92:7). Putin's doom is coming.

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David Steel
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The BBC is extremely left wing and pushes anti-British propaganda and woke garbage all day. They remake famous novels as dramas with the main aristocrats in the 18th century as black people. Obviously that never happened, I'm not against those actors, just the rubbish the writers portray as historical fact.

The BBC is Britain's state owned TV channel. We are forced to finance this channel by law through a tax called a TV licence. Even if you never watch this channel you must pay so that you can own a television and watch other live channels in Britain.

Most Britons don't agree with the policy and feel it should move with the times and fund itself with subscriptions. Especially as they lecture us about equality and produce programming and news that only appeals to 12% of the British population.

The awful joke about Ukraine does not represent the opinion of Britain, please excuse it.

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