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Ed Balls, Dani Dyer and Little Mix to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Comic Relief comeback

Little Mix performed at the Brit Awards 2016 (Dominic Lipinski)
Little Mix are amongst some of the celebrities climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for Comic Relief. (Dominic Lipinski)

NINE celebrities are set to take on Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for  Comic Relief, ten years after the original epic climb led by Gary Barlow. 

The immense 19,000ft challenge up Africa’s highest mountain kicks off in February and the group includes Pointless host Alexander Armstrong, Countryfile host Anita Rani, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker, Love Island winner Dani Dyer, former MP Ed Balls, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall and Leigh-Anne Pinnock, NFL sports pundit Osi Umenyiora and Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge Shirley Ballas.

Kilimanjaro: The Return will be filmed for a special one-hour doc to air on BBC One ahead of Red Nose Day 2019 taking place on Friday 15 March.

Following in the footsteps of the likes of Chris Moyles, Fearne Cotton and Cheryl who took part in the 2009 climb – the intrepid team will face a gruelling eight-day trek battling altitude sickness, basic camping conditions and freezing night-time temperatures – taking them to their physical and mental limits – all to raise money for Red Nose Day.

Ed Balls said: “It’s an amazing group of climbers, I’m especially looking forward to dancing up the mountain with Shirley Ballas. My whole family are beyond excited that Jade and Leigh-Anne of Little Mix will be scaling Africa’s highest mountain too.”

Dani Dyer added: “I can’t believe I’m really climbing Kilimanjaro! Comic Relief means so much to me and my family, and the money they raise does so much good, so I’m thrilled to be involved. It doesn’t feel real yet, but I’m excited to put my backpack on and get going.”

The line-up for Kilimanjaro: The Return is announced today to mark the launch of Red Nose Day 2019, with much more in the way of sketches, challenges and celebrities in store.

An exclusive sneak peek image of the much anticipated One Red Nose Day and a Wedding has also been released, teasing excitement ahead of the premiere on Red Nose Day.

The short film reunites the cast of Four Weddings and a Funeral 25 years on and will be one of the highlights of a fun-packed night of TV.

There will be a whole host of personalities bringing their own comic relief to the night with presenters including Emma Willis, Paddy McGuiness, Alesha Dixon, Romesh Ranganathan, Rob Beckett and Sir Lenny Henry confirmed as hosts of the show.

The latter three will be appearing at the one-off ‘Spectacular’ comedy gig in support of Comic Relief which is shaping up to be exactly what it says on the tin. Taking place at The SSE Arena, Wembley on Thursday 28th February, Russell Howard has been added to the line-up and will be sitting on the bill alongside comedy heavyweights Jimmy Carr, John Bishop, Katherine Ryan and Alan Carr. All the profits from ticket sales will go to Comic Relief and can be purchased from Ticketmaster or AXS.

Comic Relief is relying on the generous support of the people of Scotland who raised and donated more than £1.3m for the last Red Nose Day in 2017.

Thanks to money raised through Red Nose Day, Comic Relief supports projects and organisations in Scotland, the rest of the UK and around the world.

Since last Red Nose Day money raised has funded 128 projects and organisations right here in Scotland like the Broomhouse Centre in Edinburgh which works in disadvantaged areas of the city matching older people living in social isolation with local volunteers to take part in community activities which create new friendships and improve their wellbeing.

Scottish comedian, Susan Calman said, ‘I’m dedicated to Comic Relief and am proud that it’s helped so many people. 2019 promises to be the best yet – dancing, telling jokes, baking, and eleven new Red Noses! Come and join the party!’

Scottish impressionist and comedian, Rory Bremner added, ‘Comic Relief is a great national institution – as British as queuing, fish and chips and chicken tikka masala. Using comedy to raise millions has been a huge success story, helping change lives both here and abroad. The need is greater than ever this year. Let’s meet the challenge and do this!’

This year there are eleven new Red Noses to choose from (on sale in Sainsbury’s at £1.25), which you can bring to life for the first time ever by scanning the QR code on the box.

You can also snap up a limited-edition Red Nose Day Tee-hee-hee shirt, designed exclusively by Disney and produced by TK Maxx. Featuring well-loved characters including Mickey Mouse and friends, Winnie the Pooh, Bambi and Dumbo, the t-shirts have been modelled by celebrities including Alan Carr, Jimmy Carr, Lottie Moss, Greg James and Katherine Ryan.

The money raised from the Red Nose Day campaign and merchandise sales help Comic Relief to continue funding and investing in  organisations across the UK and around the world.