The Comic Relief charity, responsible for Red Nose Day and Sports Relief will drop stars from its short films shown on TV, after complaints that they were akin to ‘poverty tourism’. Sports Relief, which has been running since last Friday, is every other year, alternating with Red Nose Day.

MP David Lammy said that they portrayed Africans as ‘victims to be pitied’.

The Sports Relief and Red Nose day telethons normally feature clips of stars appealing for people to call and donate. In the past people like Ant and Dec, Ed Sheeran and David Beckham have all visited countries where the charity works.

Comic Relief chief executive Liz Warner said:

‘This year, we are putting people at the heart of the films. We haven’t sent celebrities, for the night of TV, to Africa. People are telling their stories in their own voices, and we are using local heroes.’

2017’s Red Nose Day film featured Ed Sheeran, about street children in Liberia, was named the ‘most offensive’ campaign last year. The Radi-Aid Awards said it was almost ‘poverty tourism’. The charity will still work with celebrities, just in a different way.

‘We’re very proud of what Ed did. The celebrities give their time and they do amazing things for us. We’re just trying to work out how we work with them.’

Sports Relief will air tonigh at 19:00 on the BBC.