BBC Looks to Set Talk Show World Record for Charity

3:56 AM PST 02/20/2013 by Stuart Kemp
BBC America

Graham Norton will host an all-nighter with such guests as Martin Freeman, Elle Macpherson, James Nesbitt and Warwick Davis that will benefit Comic Relief.

LONDON -- The BBC is aiming to set a world record for the most questions asked on a TV talk show as part of an upcoming Comic Relief charity fundraising effort.

Talk star Graham Norton will host Comic Relief's Big Chat on March 7, with the U.K. public broadcaster programming the show on its BBC Three network from 7 p.m. local time until the early hours of the next day.

The guest list is a who's who of stars and current British comedy talent, including The Hobbit star Martin Freeman, supermodel Elle Macpherson and actors Warwick Davis, Russell Tovey and James Nesbitt. Comedians booked include Keith Lemon, Jimmy Carr, Ronnie Corbett, Sarah Millican, Lee Mack and Paddy McGuinness.

Comic Relief launched in 1985 live on BBC One, spearheaded by comedy writer and film director Richard Curtis to raise cash to help poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged people across the U.K. and Africa.

The marathon show wants to set a new Guinness World Record for the most questions asked on a talk show. A BBC representative said there is currently no such record to beat, only other talk show-related records.

Norton, who works as a stand-up comedian in addition to hosting his own Friday late-night BBC One talk show, referenced previous celebrity efforts to raise money for the charity.

"David Walliams swam the Thames, John Bishop endured a week of hell and Eddie Izzard ran marathon after marathon after marathon," Norton said. "I am hoping to join this elite group of celebrity fundraisers by doing what I do best -- sitting on my backside and talking."

Musical turns lined up for the marathon talk show include Example, Paloma Faith, Hurts and Laura Mvula.

The BBC also said Norton will be assisted throughout the evening by a number of co-hosts, including talk show veterans Terry Wogan and BBC Radio 1 Breakfast host Nick Grimshaw, to ensure he "remains on track to hopefully smash the world record and raise as much money as possible for Comic Relief."

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Comic Relief's Red Nose Day, which has raised over $928 million (£600 million) to date. The TV talk show marathon will help set the stage for it this year.

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