Stand Up to Cancer: The Takeover

Friday: Stand Up to Cancer: The Takeover (Channel 4, 7pm)
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One in two people will get cancer in their lifetime, which is a worrying statistic. The better news is that survival rates are increasing – in the 1970s, just one in four people diagnosed with the disease would survive, but that has now risen to two in four, and Stand Up to Cancer is hoping that it will be three in four by 2034.

To help achieve that goal, a host of stars are taking part in a fundraising night of programmes. It all begins at 7pm with The Takeover as Davina McCall, Adam Hills, Joe Lycett and Munya Chawawa broadcast live from the Francis Crick Institute, a renowned hub for pioneering biomedical research.

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There, they will celebrate some of the breakthroughs that have been made possible by SU2C donations.

Joe LycettJoe Lycett
Joe Lycett

They’ll also be joined by comedians and celebrity supporters, including HRH the Prince of Wales, who pays a heartfelt tribute to Bowelbabe, the late Dame Deborah James, who documented her own battle with cancer prior to her death in 2022.

The Takeover is followed at 8.30pm by the first of two Celebrity Gogglebox for SU2C specials, and then at 9psm it’s time for Don’t Look Down: The Final.

Over the past few weeks, viewers have seen presenter Paddy McGuinness and celebrity volunteers Beverley Callard, Anton Ferdinand, Kimberly Wyatt, Chris Hughes, David Ginola, Charley Boorman, GK Barry, Fats Timbo and Victoria Pendleton preparing for a world-first relay highwire walk 100ft above the London Stadium. Now, it’s time for them to shake off their nerves and try defying gravity.

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Paddy admits it’s going to be tense, saying: “I’m not worried about anyone not being able to balance, they’re all OK at that now. [But] on the night, when you’re at this landmark and people are there, and lights and cameras, your mind starts to wander.

“It’s alright out here in the Austrian Alps, beautiful, with no-one around, but when you’re in London and all eyes are on you, that’s different. We’ll just have to see.”

To add to the pressure, SU2C is a cause that is close to all the celebrities’ hearts. Paddy says: “Everyone’s there because they’ve either had cancer themselves, or their relatives have had cancer.

“My dad passed away from colon cancer and my brother had leukaemia. My thing with Stand Up to Cancer, especially with the raising money, is I hope – touch wood – that within all our lifetimes, they’ll have cracked the cure. I’m all about the research and the more money that can be pumped into that, the better.”

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He adds: “Imagine waking up in the morning and just seeing that headline: They’ve Finally Found a Cure to Cancer. It’ll be mind-blowing. It’ll be amazing. I hope we get there. The more people chuck a little bit of money in, the better.”

That will be a thought on everyone’s minds as the night continues with the second part of Gogglebox, and The Comedy Roast for SU2C, a one-of-a-kind gala hosted by Rhod Gilbert which gives a who’s who of British comedy the chance to tell cancer exactly what they think of it.