This post was written by guest blogger and reality TV showbiz observer Daniel Cohen. Catch up with him on Twitter here!
When Sport Relief The Final Score was shown on BBC 1 yesterday (shown again tonight at 23:25 BBC1) Twitter was soon flooded with messages at how David Walliams reuniting with Phillip, (the child that inspired him to do his long, gruelling swim down the River Thames) made them cry.
Among them was Dannielle Murray Tweeting: “Just been reduced to tears watching David Walliams go back to Africa to see that wee boy. What a lovely man”.
The short film showed David travelling back to Africa to see how Phillip was doing and how Sport Relief’s money had been spent. I always like this end of year special, it’s good to have a charity that shows the people giving what happens with the money collected…
In an article for The Sun today David says: “When I arrive I’m immediately struck by how much he’s grown, which in large part is thanks to the nutritious diet he now gets rather than being forced to exist on scraps. His English vocabulary has also grown as much as he has and he chats away with an endearing mixture of shyness and self-assurance.”
He tells how Phillip and his “band of brothers” now go to school and have dreams of a future again, adding: “The fact that my swim played a part in that makes me very proud indeed, but in terms of facing up to a challenge, the Thames was nothing compared to what Philip has done — he is a true hero, my hero.”
A wonderful story to start the new year. Watching this many people felt happy their money had been spent in a wonderful way. Seeing Phillip run from the school and throwing himself into David’s arms was prove enough for most.
And while Walliams himself might often be far to humble about his Sport Relief challenges, saying it’s about the people the charity is helping, not him. As clips of his long journey down the Thames were shown once more, many people also wondered why someone who has done so much for charity, and has touched so many lives both in Britain and Africa was once more overlooked in the New Years Honours list.
Mr Walliams himself will start searching for a new star for Britain next month as Britain’s Got Talent be back on our screens next month. The actor and comedian has received a lot of praise for his role on the show in end of the year polls, one of the things highlighted is his kindness to the auditionees. David, who treated his fans to a wonderfully funny X Factor/BGT based flirthathon on Twitter with Rylan Clark over the holidays, also revealed he had started work on a new book. It looks like it will be another busy year for David Walliams. And would we want it any other way?