9th March 2016

Are celebrities ruining Sport Relief?

Is the glorification of C-list celebrities damaging the intentions of Sport Relief?

Don’t worry, you are not about to read a scathing attack of Sport Relief and the fantastic work that they do for charity. Last year Sport Relief made around £52 million, with 50 per cent of the money raised by the public for Sport Relief going towards transforming lives in the UK.

The formation of Sport Relief was a fantastic idea, using something that almost everyone in the country likes in some capacity, for a good cause—similar to the fantastic work that Comic Relief and Children in Need do. These kind of fundraisers use celebrities in order to gain more exposure: People are more interested in Simon from Blue doing hopscotch than Simon from the Co-op, as sad as that may sound. Everyone gets a nice Friday night watching the show, Sport Relief make a ton of money for a great cause, and these celebrities get a little bit more exposure—what could be better?

Well, the problem with this is that it is slowly crossing the boundary of glorifying certain celebrities instead of the fundraiser itself. Last year saw Eddie Izzard run 43 marathons in 52 days for the charity. You’d be heartless to not to respect what Izzard did, and it will have definitely inspired people up and down the country to get involved with Sport Relief in some capacity and donate to save lives. Fantastic. Rosy. Joyful.

However, it cannot be escaped that Eddie Izzard’s career, just before doing these marathons for Sport Relief, was in a trough. Izzard had been big in comedy for decades, however he’s fallen behind new comedians in the last five years—Eddie Izzard needed Sport Relief just as much as Sport Relief needed him. Izzard was on every news channel for two weeks, had his own show on BBC following his exploits up and down the country, and since then has been stapled on the TV yet again like it’s the 1990s all over again. It must be said that at this point, I’m actually quite a fan of Eddie Izzard.

Of course, Izzard could have got his name back into the limelight by doing some outrageous stunt, whereas this was beneficial for everybody involved. It’s not with Izzard where the problem lies, it’s with how these events are becoming more focused on the promotion of the individual instead of the fundraising. All this month we’ve seen in the press C-list celebrities doing great things for charity, and it has become more about boosting the careers of minor celebrities instead of the larger celebrities actually doing something important for charity.

This is a plea to other celebrities to get involved while Sport Relief needs them, instead of their career needing Sport Relief.

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