Lenny Henry is a British comedian who was born in 1958 in Dudley, West Midlands. “My family came to the UK at a time when blacks were just beginning to be integrated into British society. I was one of just three blacks in our school”. His first TV exposure was as a comic on ‘New Faces’ talent show. In the late seventies he appeared in TISWAS; the Saturday morning children’s show in which Lenny was a regular contributor alongside Chris Tarrant and Bob Carolgees.

Lenny Henry: TV Comedy

Lenny gained further notoriety in ‘Three of a Kind’ with Tracey Ullman and David Copperfield; which ran for three years on BBC TV. This introduced him to larger TV audiences and was followed by two series of the hugely successful Lenny Henry Show; featuring his popular character Delbert Wilkins. Around this time Lenny met his future wife Dawn French. Who encouraged him to move over to the fledgling alternative comedy scene; where he established a career as a stand up comedy performer and character comedian.

He introduced characters which both mocked and celebrated black British culture, such as: Theophilus P. Wildebeeste (a Barry White-a-like), Brixton’s pirate radio DJ Delbert Wilkins and Trevor MacDoughnut (a spoof on Trevor McDonald). Much of his stand up material, which was enormously popular on audio recordings; was due to the writing talents of Kim Fuller.

Live Comedy

Lenny was the first British comic to make a live stand up comedy film; in the tradition of American comedians such as Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams. Live and Unleashed was filmed before a live audience, at the Hackney Empire; and went on general release throughout the UK in 1989. He has since mixed stand up comedy with a very successful acting career.

Award Winning

Year Awards Award Won
2009 Evening Standard Theatre Awards Outstanding Newcomer
2003 British Comedy Awards Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award (Perf)
2003 Winner of Lifetime Achievement Award Black Entertainment Comedy Awards
2002 Winner of the Inspiration Award BFM Awards
2001 Golden Rose of Montreux Golden Rose of Montreux
1993 BBC British Personality of the Year British Personality of the Year
1992 Monaco Red Cross, Monte Carlo Television Festival Alive And Kicking
1992 Monte Carlo Television Festival The Golden Nymph Award

Lenny Henry: Career Highlights

TV Credits

  • True Identity (1991)
  • Alive and Kicking (1991)
  • Chef (1993 BBC Drama series)
  • White Goods (ITV 1994)
  • The Lenny Henry Show (BBC 1995, 2004/5)
  • Lenny Henry Goes to Town (BBC1 1998)
  • The Man Screen One film (BBC1 1998)
  • Hope & Glory (BBC 2000)
  • Goodbye Mr Steadman (ITV 2001)
  • Magicians (2011)

Lenny Henry Live Tours

  • Larger Than Life (1996) New Zealand
  • Lenny Henry Large! (1998) sell out tour Australia and New Zealand
  • Have You Seen This Man (UK 2002)
  • Where You From ? Toured throughout the UK, Australia and New Zealand in 2007 & 2008
  • So Much Things To Say UK, Australia and New Zealand in 2004
  • Cradle to Rave the UK, Australia and New Zealand (2011/12)

Stage & Theatre

  • Othello (2009)
  • The Comedy of Errors (2011)
  • Corrinne Come Back and Gone (written by Lenny 2011)

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