BBC telethon The Big Night In starts tonight at 7pm

It is the first collaboration between BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief

The BBC telethon aiming to raise millions of pounds for charities affected by the coronavirus pandemic is due to take place tonight.

The three-hour long Big Night In, which is the first joint project between BBC Children in Need and Comic Relief, will offer music performances, entertainment, competitions and celebrity appearances from 7pm.

The government has pledged to match-fund money raised by the event, with a minimum donation of £20m.

The proceeds will be split between Children in Need and Comic Relief, and will be distributed to local charities, projects and programmes across the UK to provide vital emergency support, protect vulnerable people and support them to continue to learn and stay connected in order to combat isolation and loneliness.

All the artists and performers involved will appear from their own homes or in accordance with social distancing rules, the BBC said.

When the event was announced two weeks ago, it was warned that there would “be more demand than ever for support from local charities” during the crisis.

Ruth Davison, interim chief executive of Comic Relief, said: “Throughout this extraordinary time the kindness and community spirit of people across the country has been outstanding.

The Big Night In is the perfect opportunity to praise the heroes who are caring for us, feeding us and lifting our spirits as we continue to help people most in need.”

Simon Antrobus, chief executive of BBC Children in Need, said the pandemic would have a significant impact on the most vulnerable people in society.

“The Big Night In will offer the chance for everyone to get together virtually to celebrate the kindness and heroism of those making a real difference in their communities, and to support people across the UK who need our help now more than ever,” he said.

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