The show lasted 90 minutes and featured celebrities discussing their enjoyment of Tiswas as children, as well as appearances from kids and people who had appeared on the original show. I don't care. In 1991, he starred in a BBC drama alongside Robbie Coltrane called Alive and Kicking, in which he played a heroin addict, which was based on a true story. It’s bullshit, it needs to change.” It didn’t. Let’s just say we’re going to do something good because we want to do it, not because we were forced to by some terrible event. The corporation had disciplined her, but not her co-host, Dan Walker, after a discussion about Donald Trump’s “go home” comments aimed at black and Muslim US senators. His full name is Sir Lenworth George Henry. But his honesty in revealing this in the autobiography caused friction. [7], Henry attended St John's Primary School and later The Blue Coat School in Dudley before completing his schooling at W.R. Tuson College in Preston, Lancashire. [19][20] The Lenny Henry Show ran periodically for a further 19 years in various incarnations. [53], Henry has been an open critic of British television's lack of ethnic diversity in its programmes. Henry voiced Dre Head, the "shrunken head" on the Knight Bus in the 2004 Alfonso Cuarón movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and read the audiobook version of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys. [12], In 1976 he appeared with Norman Beaton in LWT's sitcom The Fosters, Britain's first comedy series with predominantly black performers. [37] Before the production opened the director Barrie Rutter said of the decision to cast him: "knives might be out at me or at Lenny. “I’m living just down the road from Wolverhampton, where the Rivers of Blood speech was made*. The book ranges from his infancy to until he was a few years into his nascent career. [10], Henry's first manager was Robert Luff, who signed him in 1975 and gave him the opportunity to perform from age 16 to 21 as a comedian as part of the Luff-produced touring stage version of The Black and White Minstrel Show,[11] which in retrospect has widely been seen as an embarrassment and one of the most racist shows in British history. and The Magicians for BBC One. Throughout Who Am I, Again?, we see Henry using his comedy to ward off bellicose bullies or honing his short impressions sets in sometimes hostile working men’s clubs. The concept of Comic Relief was to get British comedians to make the public laugh, while raising money to help people in need in Africa, and at home in the United Kingdom. Teachers backhanded you in the classroom in front of other kids. "I'm used to being the only black person wherever I go...There was never a black or Asian director when I went to the BBC. And he's Othello. He has also been an outspoken critic of the government’s treatment of the Windrush generation, and earlier this year starred in and executive produced Soon Gone, a BBC drama that was, in part, inspired by the scandal, of which he “felt the sting of injustice”. His stand-up material, which sold well on LP, owed much to the writing abilities of Kim Fuller. In March 2011, he appeared with Angela Rippon, Samantha Womack and Reggie Yates in the BBC fundraising documentary for Comic Relief called Famous, Rich and in the Slums, where the four celebrities were sent to Kibera in Kenya, Africa's largest slum. It ends before his marriage to fellow comedian Dawn French in 1984; after 25 years together, they divorced in 2010. “It was so benign, though,” he says of Munchetty’s comments. Paul Taylor in The Independent wrote that "Henry beautifully conveys the tragicomic plight of an innocent abroad. It’s a life thing.”, Incredibly, Henry says it wasn’t the revelation about his biological father or the beatings that caused him to feel anger toward his mother, but rather the moment when she started getting caught up in the circus that began to surround him as his career took off. As he publishes his autobiography, he talks about how it shaped him as a performer and activist, Mon 21 Oct 2019 01.00 EDT Henry is known as the choleric chef Gareth Blackstock from the 1990s television comedy series Chef!, or from his 1999 straight-acting lead role in the BBC drama Hope And Glory. The Sports Film, Screenwriting and Diversity: A Practice-Based Enquiry. “Some of them said: ‘Go on, say it.’ So I was encouraged by that.”. "[44], In 2015, Henry was asked by Sky Arts to produce a show for them, Lenny Henry's Got The Blues. One place that Henry has been able to make a significant impact is with Comic Relief, the charity he co-founded with Richard Curtis in 1985 in response to famine in Ethiopia. Awarded a CBE in 1999; Knighted in 2015; Co-Founder of Comic Relief; UK Awards. The Sun reported that the British Stammering Association had branded the sketch as "a gross and disgusting gleefulness at pointing out someone else's misfortune". In early 2008, Henry's series was broadcast on BBC One. Lenny is also an energetic campaigner for the greater representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people in the entertainment industry. But despite the positive spin, there is a dark frankness to the book, not just when Henry recalls the racism he faced in his youth but, more so, when discussing his mother, Winifred. He performed impressions such as Tina Turner, Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Run DMC, among others. Registered address: 1st Floor, 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP. In late 2007, he hosted a stand-up comedy tour of the UK. I do think that, as an industry, we are stuck in terms of providing a support system for black, Asian and ethnic minorities who don’t have a natural way into the industry. Coronavirus: together we can make a difference, Comic Relief’s Statement on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking. But there is a lot the British public don’t know about Henry. For Henry, this isn’t just a bit of navel-gazing and the odd anecdote featuring Chris Tarrant (although there is some of that). He supplies the voices of both Big and Small in the BBC CBeebies Children's programs Big & Small. The film has a strong following, but contractual problems[22] have prevented it from being distributed on video or DVD. It was a comedy thriller with John Shea about two DJs with a shared passion for Motown music being chased across Britain. The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fundraising programme of 2007. Available for everyone, funded by readers. “I probably wouldn’t share it with you. Henry is associated with the British Comic Relief charity organisation, along with his former wife, comedian Dawn French, and Griff Rhys Jones, and has hosted the show and also presented filmed reports from overseas on the work of the charity. It was advice he heeded until he began to call for the entertainment industry to address the systemic racism that he had seen throughout his career. In the UK, he used his character of Theophilus P. Wildebeeste to advertise Alpen muesli, and promoted the non-alcoholic lager, Kaliber. He is currently the Chancellor of Birmingham City University. And I think that’s the problem. He was knighted in the Queen's 2015 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity. The 60-year-old was on stage at … [40] Lynne Walker of The Independent said of Henry that his "emotional dynamism is in no doubt. So I’m in a place where there are toxic elements that you think would be an obstacle to my progress in life. The show returned in 2012, however, Henry was replaced by Darren McMullen. When Henry was 10, his mother told him he had to go and do chores for his “uncle” Bertie in exchange for pocket money. In the book, the extent of the racist abuse he received as a young man, not to mention the physical violence at home, is revealed in painful detail. “Never interviewed by somebody like you. Lenworth George Henry was born on August 29, 1958, in Dudley, West Midlands in England to a family of Jamaican immigrants. He's beautifully black. “My family were very sensitive about it,” admits Henry, who had to work especially hard to convince his four older siblings (he is one of seven) of the merits of publishing a book about their difficult home life. Lenny is one of Britain’s best known and best loved personalities. When we meet, he has just landed from New York and needs to send her what he calls a “yaaaaaay message” to mark the occasion. and The Magicians for BBC One. [55] “Because you’re very vulnerable if you can’t stick up for yourself. Sir Lenworth George Henry CBE (born 29 August 1958),[3] known as Lenny Henry, is an English stand-up comedian, actor, singer, writer and television presenter, known for co-founding the charity Comic Relief, and appearing in TV programmes including children's entertainment show Tiswas, sitcom Chef! A decade on from his Royal Television Society speech, Henry seems at a loss as to what can be done to improve equality in the British media and worries about what it might take for change to happen, “not because we’re forced to by another Grenfell or by another Stephen Lawrence or by another Naga Munchetty.

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