David Beckham was not Sacha Baron Cohens first choice for Ali G chat

Richard Curtis, the co-founder of Comic Relief, has said that initially, Sacha Baron Cohen wanted Margaret Thatcher or the Queen to interview on the fundraising show back in 2001. However, the Ali G actor eventually compromised and interviewed David Beckham instead, with hilarious results.

Speaking to this week’s Radio Times, Richard recalled his top Comic Relief moments: “I did love Sacha and the Beckhams.

“When all those years ago I got in touch with Sacha Baron Cohen, he said, ‘I’ll do it if you can get me the Queen or Margaret Thatcher, or I’ll compromise on David Beckham, if that’s the best you could do’.

“And then he really took it seriously, he refused to meet the Beckhams beforehand.

“I did love that,” he added.

At the time, “Posh and Becks” were one of the most talked about celebrity couples in the UK.

They submitted to a nine-minute roast by Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G.

The couple were good sports as Ali G aimed cheeky jibes at them for charity.

David Beckham was quiet and the only time he spoke more than a sentence was when he was quizzed about England having a new manager.

Sacha also asked David if Victoria was his first choice out of the Spice Girls – leaving the footballer red-faced.

During the interview, Victoria famously revealed that they conceived their first child, Brooklyn, while she and David were in Denmark – but explained they were in Brooklyn when they found out about the pregnancy.

Viewers over the years have loved the vintage clip – especially Victoria’s sense of humour and David’s difficulty handling the situation.

Richard has continuously praised the British public’s “extraordinary” generosity after the last Red Nose Day celebrations raised more than £42 million.

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Tom Holland, Courteney Cox and Lulu were among the special guests to feature during the night of comedy, dance, and music on BBC One.

He said: “The highlights are all the comedy, and we know that in advance, but then (there is) the outpouring of generosity when you hear the phones ringing and that people are still being generous and enjoying the show.

“After all these years even, I still think there are four of us here and we helped 11 million people last year.”

Comic Relief chief executive Samir Patel also praised the “legendary generosity of the British public”.

He told BBC Breakfast: “Times are tough. We have had a pandemic, the cost of living crisis, the situation in Ukraine, and we are so grateful for every single pound that came in – and that is what’s amazing – people will come out to help other people at times of crisis.”

Reflecting on the total, Mr Patel added: “We are completely astounded – given everything that is going on – at how much people came out to support other people.”

Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day will take place on Friday, March 17. It will be broadcast live on BBC One and will be available to stream on iPlayer.

Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times – out now.

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