This year’s Red Nose Day raised a record £78.1m on the night, taking the amount generated by Comic Relief to more than £1bn during its first 30 years.
The amount raised for this year’s Red Nose Day, which runs every two years, with Sport Relief in between, was £3m more on the night than was raised by the last event in 2013, which was itself a record.
The final total will be announced when all remaining donations have come in. The final total two years ago was £100.3m, compared with £104.4m in 2011.
Comic Relief, the charity behind Red Nose Day, said that the £1bn, which includes funds raised through both Red Nose Day and Sport Relief, had helped an estimated 50 million people around the world.
The 2015 figure included £11.5m raised by the retailer Sainsbury’s through activities including the sale of Red Nose Day merchandise and staff fundraising.
TK Maxx and HomeSense raised £4.1m through the sale of Red Nose Day T-shirts, and British Airways contributed a further £2.5m raised through in-flight collections and staff fundraising.
High-profile fundraising activities for this year’s event included a 24-hour dance marathon completed by the presenter Dermot O’Leary, which raised more than £640,000, and a stage production of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights TV show, which raised more than £5m.
Kevin Cahill, chief executive of Comic Relief, said: "Reaching £1bn is an incredible way to mark the 30th anniversary of Comic Relief. We could not have done it without the generosity of the British public, the BBC, the many famous faces who do their bit and all of our wonderful partners, some of whom have been with us since the very beginning all those years ago. The commitment of so many amazing people is truly humbling. We would like to say thank you to everyone who played a part."
Richard Curtis, founder and vice-chair of Comic Relief, said he was enormously proud to have been a part of the charity. "When a bunch of comedians got together all those years ago, we dreamed of raising a million or two, and never imagined the generosity that would be shown by the British public for so many years," he said. "Our thanks to every single person who has ever done their bit over the past 30 years – both the funny and the money."