The Vicar of Dibley star donned Winkleman’s trademark black fringe for the sketch as well as one of the star’s giant roll-neck jumpers that gradually enveloped her whole face.
“I’m actually Claudia Winkleman: half woman, half fringe,” French tells the contestants.
“It feels like it’s time to have a discussion,” she continues. “And during that discussion I will be walking round this table incessantly saying creepy stuff and looking absolutely gorgeous.”
In one scene, French parts her fringe using a curtain pulley.
The “contestants” included Alison Hammond, who was just confirmed as Matt Lucas’s replacement on The Great British Bake Off, Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi, Mary Berry, Stephen Merchant, Danny Dyer, Jennifer Saunders and two actual Traitors contestants from season one.
One of the hooded contestants is eventually revealed to be the real Claudia Winkleman, who accuses French of being the Traitor.
“You see, you don’t sound like me, you’re not as orange as me, and your wig is much, much better than mine,” she says.
Fans expressed their adoration for the segment on social media, calling it one of the “funniest things” they’ve seen on Comic Relief “in years”.
“Can’t stop laughing. Dawn French pulls off a Claudia Winkleman fringe links no-one else. Absolutely brilliant,” one fan wrote.
“Comedy. Gold,” wrote another alongside a clip from the sketch.
Elsewhere in the Red Nose Day broadcast, Blackadder fans rejoiced over the return of Baldrick after 20 years.
The show’s producers also faced criticism for a sketch in which David Walliams joked about his role as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent. The comedy actor was recently replaced on the show after a leaked recording heard him make sexual comments about a contestant in 2020.