Lenny Henry
Stand-up comedian
Lenny Henry
Lenworth George "Lenny" Henry CBE, is a British actor, writer, comedian and occasional television presenter.
Biography
Lenny Henry's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Lenny Henry from around the web
Lenny Henry joins Broadchurch after previously saying drama was too white
Guardian (UK) - 9 months
Actor and comedian included ITV series in Bafta lecture highlighting lack of black, Asian and minority ethnic people on TV screens in UK Lenny Henry will join David Tennant and Olivia Colman for the third series of Broadchurch after previously complaining that the hit ITV drama was too white. Henry, an actor, writer and comedian, will join the cast for the new series, which began filming on Monday, along with veteran comic and actor Roy Hudd. Continue reading...
Article Link:
Guardian (UK) article
Why Did The Dying Grandma Shred $1 Million?
Huffington Post - over 1 year
By now we've all heard about the dying 85-year-old Austrian woman who supposedly chopped up $1 million rather than let her relatives inherit it. Headlines describe her as "miserly" "spiteful," and "vengeful." Maybe she is; maybe she's not. Police say that the unidentified woman died in a retirement home and when the workers were removing her possessions they discovered that she had chopped up 950,000 euros into tiny pieces on her bed. I'm guessing that no one in her family was present at her death or perhaps they would have noticed the scraps of money surrounding her: I'd think that $1 million -- or 950,000 euros -- would make for a lot of little pieces. Anyway, now her relatives are busy trying to tape together what remains of the bills because bank President Friedrich Hammerschmidt of Oesterreichische Nationalbank said the family will likely be able to recover their inheritance if the heirs can find enough shreds of the money. He told the Kurier newspaper, "If we didn't pay o ...
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Huffington Post article
Theater Review: A British Comedian in August Wilson's 'Fences'
NYTimes - over 3 years
The British comedian Lenny Henry is giving one of the performances of the year as the Pittsburgh sanitation worker whose world implodes around him in August Wilson's American tragedy.     
Article Link:
NYTimes article
British comedian Dawn French marries for a second time
Yahoo News - almost 4 years
LONDON (Reuters) - British comedian Dawn French, who plays "The Vicar of Dibley" in the award-winning television comedy, has married for the second time, her publicist said on Monday. French, 55, married charity worker Mark Bignell at the Scarlett Hotel near Newquay in Cornwall, south west England, on Saturday. The hotel describes itself as a luxury, eco venue overlooking the ocean. Her first marriage, to comedian Lenny Henry, ended in 2010 after 25 years. The pair have an adopted daughter, Billie. ...
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Yahoo News article
Lenny Henry, Tivoli, Wimborne
Daily Echo - over 4 years
THE multi-talented Lenny Henry was in Wimborne on Saturday night. In fact he seems to have been picking up new talents all his life, including starting piano lessons when he was forty and developing a whole new career in classical theatre when approaching his fifties.
Article Link:
Daily Echo article
Premier Inn and Costa bump up Whitbread profits
Daily Mail (UK) - over 4 years
Premier Inn, which benefited from an advertising campaign featuring Lenny Henry, opened another 1,500 rooms in the past half year. Costa opened 141 shops and hiked profits by 30%.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
BREAKING NEWS: Lenny Henry to appear at the Spa Bridlington
Birdlington Free Pass - over 4 years
COMEDIAN Lenny Henry is coming to the Spa Bridlington in November as part of his new national tour Pop Life.
Article Link:
Birdlington Free Pass article
Whitbread can smell the coffee as Costa demand rockets
Yorkshire Post - almost 5 years
Profits at leisure group Whitbread steamed ahead yesterday after another “outstanding” year for coffee house Costa. The hotels and restaurants business posted a surplus of £320.1m for the year to March 1, up 11 per cent after Costa’s sales jumped 27.5 per cent and its profits lifted 38 per cent. Premier Inn also contributed to the improvement as Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants division, which includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, grew profits by 4 per cent to £295.6m. This was after Premier’s key industry measure of revenues per available room improved by 1.8 per cent in the year, with an increase of 0.8 per cent in the regions and 7.3 per cent in London. Premier Inn is in the midst of aggressive expansion plans to add 10,000 new rooms, after creating more than 4,000 rooms and 29 new hotels in the last year, bringing its total to more than 47,000. Premier has benefited from customers looking for cheap deals and an advertising campaign featuring comedian Lenny Henry, but sales h ...
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Yorkshire Post article
Whitbread enjoys Costa boost
Scotsman - almost 5 years
Profits at leisure group Whitbread steamed ahead today after another “outstanding” year for coffee house Costa. The hotels and restaurants business posted a surplus of £320.1 million for the year to 1 March, up 11 per cent after Costa’s sales jumped 27.5 per cent and its profits lifted 38 per cent. Premier Inn also contributed to the improvement as Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants division, which includes Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, grew profits by 4 per cent to £295.6m. This was after Premier’s key industry measure of revenues per available room improved by 1.8 per cent in the year, with an increase of 0.8 per cent in the regions and 7.3 per cent in London. Premier Inn is in the midst of aggressive expansion plans to add 10,000 rooms, after creating more than 4,000 rooms and 29 hotels in the past year, bringing its total to more than 47,000. Premier has benefited from customers looking for cheap deals and an advertising campaign featuring comedian Lenny Henry, but sales have ...
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Scotsman article
The Comedy of Errors
Stony Brook Press - almost 5 years
On Saturday, March 31, the Staller Center presented a screening of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors through National Theatre Live. This British theater company specializes in streaming high-quality British plays to cinemas across the world: The Comedy of Errors was being shown in 700 other theaters that evening. The Comedy of Errors is not one of Shakespeare’s best-known plays. As one of Shakespeare’s earliest comedies, it’s often thought of as little more than training ground for his innumerable other mistaken identity ventures. As director Dominic Cooke said in a brief interview aired before the play, many think The Comedy of Errors is juvenile, generic and not worth their attention. Despite this, Cooke’s interpretation was designed to get the audience thinking about some important themes. He mentioned that he had hoped to discuss “what happens when we lose connection with who we really are” and “what it feels like to be a foreigner,” two big ideas that fit well with the play’s ...
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Stony Brook Press article
The BBC comedy flops: David Jason and Lenny Henry pull in fewer than 3m viewers
Daily Mail (UK) - about 5 years
Veteran performers <a class="fplink fp-132516" href="/jasper+carrott">Jasper Carrott</a>, <a class="fplink fp-171528" href="/lenny+henry">Lenny Henry</a> and Griff Rhys Jones have failed to attract audiences after being drafted in as part of the BBC's Monday night comedy push.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Lenny Henry in The Comedy Of Errors triumphs in one of Shakespeare's toughest roles
Daily Mail (UK) - about 5 years
Everyone knows how funny Henry is on the small screen, but would the Dudley-born gurner be able to do it on stage at the mighty National Theatre?
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Little Miss aiming for another hit - The Star
Google News - over 5 years
Then Jocelyn should be well used to slipping in and out of performing &#39;masks&#39; having entertained millions of BBC viewers on her sketch shows as well as during her stint on The Lenny Henry Show. But she hasn&#39;t been on a theatre stage for two years and
Article Link:
Google News article
The X Factor: Grace Dent's TV OD - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Louis Walsh told us in breathless soundbites last week that this new panel had &quot;breathed new life into him&quot; which hopefully didn&#39;t mean he&#39;s planning to start thinking before he speaks (&quot;You remind me of a young Lenny Henry!&quot;). In another slight change
Article Link:
Google News article
Eclipse and Sheffield Theatres Join For ONE MONKEY DON'T STOP NO SHOW - Broadway World
Google News - over 5 years
Jocelyn made history as the first black female comedian to write and star in her own television series, Little Miss Jocelyn (BBC), as well as starring in 3 Non Blondes and The Lenny Henry Show. Her theatre credits include Torn (Arcola),
Article Link:
Google News article
USA Red Nose Day - The Sun
Google News - over 5 years
Lenny Henry&#39;s UK charity is working with US TV bosses after the Microsoft chief donated £1.6million for the launch. Its accounts said the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wanted a US event to help demonstrate the need for &quot;global support to deliver
Article Link:
Google News article
National Treasures Live, BBC One, review - Telegraph.co.uk
Google News - over 5 years
The best of which was the opener, presented by the affable Lenny Henry. There was some wonderful archive footage here of the arrival of the Empire Windrush, which, in 1948, brought passengers from Jamaica wishing to make a new life in Britain
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lenny Henry
    FIFTIES
  • 2016
    Age 57
    Henry later released "hard hitting animated blues video" directed by Iranian filmmaker, Sam Chegini titled "The Cops Don't Know" which was premiered on Classic Rock Magazine on 20 April 2016. Henry met Dawn French on the alternative comedy circuit. They married in 1984 in Westminster, London; and have a daughter, Billie (born 1991), whom they adopted.
    More Details Hide Details He graduated in English Literature, (BA Hons), with the Open University in 2007. He studied for an MA at Royal Holloway, University of London in screenwriting for television and film, where he received a distinction and where he is now studying for a PhD on the role of black people in the media.
  • 2015
    Age 56
    He was knighted in the Queen's 2015 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.
    More Details Hide Details Film Television Articles
    In 2015, Henry was asked by Sky Arts to produce a show for them, Lenny Henry's Got The Blues.
    More Details Hide Details He got together with a group of musicians including Jakko Jakszyk, lead singer of King Crimson, to produce the album New Millennium Blues. The album consists of both covers of blues classics, as well as original tracks co-written by Lenny.
    In 2015 Danny and the Human Zoo a ninety-minute film for television was made and shown, written by Henry and directed by Destiny Ekaragha, it was a fictionalised account of the former's life as a teenager in 1970s Dudley.
    More Details Hide Details In February 2009, Henry appeared in the Northern Broadsides production of Othello, in the title role, at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds, directed by Barrie Rutter, who, before the production opened, said of the decision to cast him: "knives might be out at me or at Lenny. I don't care. This has come about from a completely genuine desire to do a piece of theatrical work. Bloody hell, how long has the Donmar had Hollywood stars going there for £200? He's six-foot five. He's beautifully black. And he's Othello." Henry received widespread critical acclaim in the role. Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph said "This is one of the most astonishing debuts in Shakespeare I have ever seen. It is impossible to praise too highly Henry's courage in taking on so demanding and exposed a role, and then performing it with such authority and feeling." Michael Billington in The Guardian noted "Henry's voice may not always measure up to the rhetorical music of the verse, but there is a simple dignity to his performance that touches one". Lynne Walker of The Independent said of Henry that his "emotional dynamism is in no doubt. The frenzy within his imagination explodes into rage and, finally, wretchedness. It's not a subtle reading but it works powerfully in this context."
  • 2014
    Age 55
    In 2014, Lenny appeared in and produced a play based on his radio show Rudy's Rare Records, which played at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre before moving on to a run in London.
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  • 2011
    Age 52
    In November 2011, Henry made his debut at the Royal National Theatre in London in Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors, directed by Dominic Cooke, in which he played the character of Antipholus of Syracuse. The production was selected to be broadcast live to selected cinemas worldwide in March 2012 as part of the National Theatre Live programme.
    More Details Hide Details Henry's performance gained generally very positive reviews. Paul Taylor in The Independent wrote that "Henry beautifully conveys the tragicomic plight of an innocent abroad."
    Henry was criticized for his opening sketch for the 2011 Comic Relief, during which he spoofed the film The King's Speech and grew impatient with Colin Firth's portrayal of King George VI as he stammered over his speech.
    More Details Hide Details 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 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.
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    In 2011, Henry presented a Saturday night magic series called The Magicians on BBC One.
    More Details Hide Details The show returned in 2012, however Henry was replaced by Darren McMullen.
  • 2010
    Age 51
    On 6 April 2010, French and Henry announced they were separating after 25 years of marriage. It was reported that the separation was amicable. They had decided to separate in October the previous year but left it until then as they were still in discussion over the separation. Their divorce was finalised in 2010.
    More Details Hide Details Henry has been an outspoken critic of British television's lack of ethnic diversity in its programming. During a speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in March 2014, he called the lack of minorities "appalling," and he has continued to raise the issue publicly since. Henry was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1999 New Year Honours.
    The advert, from 2010, parodied a well-known scene from the film The Shining, with Lenny Henry spoofing the scene originally starring Jack Nicholson, by smashing a door with an axe and then thrusting his head through the door saying: "Here's Lenny."
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    In 2010, Henry produced and starred in a five-part web series for the BBC Comedy website, Conversations with my Wife, about a fictional couple conversing over Skype while the wife is away on business leaving the husband (played by Henry) to hold the fort at home.
    More Details Hide Details In 2008, he became the face of budget hotel operator Premier Inn, and to date continues to star in adverts for them. One of the adverts caused controversy and was banned from children's programming hours.
  • 2009
    Age 50
    In October 2009, Henry reprised his role of Deakus to feature in comedy shorts about story writing alongside Nina Wadia, Tara Palmer Tomkinson and Stephen K. Amos.
    More Details Hide Details He also offers his own writing tips and amusing anecdotes in the writing tips video clip on BBC raw words – story writing. He supplies the voices of both Big and Small in the BBC CBeebies Children's programs Big & Small.
    In January 2009, he appeared on the BBC's comedy show, Live at The Apollo, in which he played host for the night, introducing Andy Parsons and Ed Byrne, where he referred to Wikipedia as "Wrongopedia" for containing incorrect information about his life.
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  • FORTIES
  • 2008
    Age 49
    On 31 December 2008 and 1 January 2009, he appeared on Jools Holland's Hootenanny on BBC Two, singing part of the song Mercy along with singer Duffy.
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    In early 2008, Henry's series lennyhenry.tv was broadcast on BBC One.
    More Details Hide Details The programme has an accompanying website of the same name and broadcasts strange, weird and generally amusing on-line videos and CCTV clips. He starred in the Radio 4 show Rudy's Rare Records.
  • 2007
    Age 48
    In late 2007, he hosted a stand-up comedy tour of the UK.
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    In the summer of 2007, he presented Lenny's Britain, a comedy documentary tour made with the Open University on BBC One on Tuesday nights.
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    On 16 March 2007, Henry made a cameo appearance as himself in a sketch with Catherine Tate, who appeared in the guise of her character Geordie Georgie from The Catherine Tate Show.
    More Details Hide Details The sketch was made for the BBC Red Nose Day fund raising programme of 2007. On 16 June 2007 Lenny appeared with Chris Tarrant and Sally James to present a 25th Anniversary episode of Tiswas. 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.
  • 2006
    Age 47
    In 2006, Henry starred in the BBC programme Berry's Way.
    More Details Hide Details He did the voice of Dark Nebula in Kirby: Squeak Squad.
  • 2005
    Age 46
    In 2005, he appeared in Birmingham, as an act for "Jasper Carrott's Rock with Laughter".
    More Details Hide Details He appeared alongside performers such as Bill Bailey, Jasper Carrott, Bonnie Tyler, Bobby Davro and the Lord of the Dance troupe.
  • 2004
    Age 45
    Henry voiced the "shrunken head" on the Knight Bus in the 2004 movie Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and read the audio book version of Neil Gaiman's Anansi Boys.
    More Details Hide Details He also voiced a character on the children's show Little Robots. Henry appeared in advertisements for butter products in New Zealand, commissioned by the company now known as Fonterra, as well as portraying Saint Peter in the Virgin Mobile advertising campaign in South Africa. In the UK, he used his character of Theophilus P. Wildebeeste to advertise Alpen muesli, and promoted the non-alcoholic lager, Kaliber. In June 2001, for a BBC documentary, he sailed a trimaran from Plymouth to Antigua, Jamaica with yachtsman Tony Bullimore. His motive was to as he put it, "have one last adventure".
  • 2003
    Age 44
    He was the voice of the British speaking clock for two weeks in March 2003 in aid of Comic Relief.
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    In 2003, Henry was listed in The Observer as one of the fifty funniest acts in British comedy.
    More Details Hide Details In 2004, he was listed in The Sunday Times as the fifteenth funniest black performer of all time. 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.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1996
    Age 37
    He was co-creator with Neil Gaiman and producer of the 1996 BBC drama serial Neverwhere.
    More Details Hide Details Henry tried his hand at soul singing, appearing, for example, as a backing singer on Kate Bush's album The Red Shoes (1993) and, backed by David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, at Amnesty International's Big 3-0 fund raising concert. He would later say that neither move showed him at his best, and that he felt most comfortable with character comedy. He would occasionally return to singing, performing in small local venues in the West Midlands. Henry returned to the BBC to do Lenny Henry in Pieces, a character-based comedy sketch show which was followed by The Lenny Henry Show, in which he combined stand-up, character sketches and song parodies.
  • 1991
    Age 32
    Also in 1991, he starred in the Christmas comedy Bernard and the Genie alongside Alan Cumming and Rowan Atkinson.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    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.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1987
    Age 28
    In 1987, he appeared in a TV film Coast to Coast.
    More Details Hide Details It was a comedy thriller with John Shea about two DJs with a shared passion for Motown music being chased across Britain. The film has a strong following, but contractual problems have prevented it from being distributed on video or DVD. In the early 1990s, Henry starred in the Hollywood film True Identity, in which his character pretended to be a white person (using make-up, prostheses, and a wig) to avoid the mob. The film was not commercially successful.
    Prior to the 1987 general election, Henry lent his support to Red Wedge by participating in a comedy tour organised by the campaign.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1984
    Age 25
    The first series of The Lenny Henry Show appeared on the BBC in 1984.
    More Details Hide Details The show featured stand up, spoofs like his send up of Michael Jackson's Thriller video, and many of the characters he had developed during Summer Season, including Theophilus P. Wildebeeste and Delbert Wilkins. A principal scriptwriter for his television and stage shows during the 1990s was Jon Canter. The Lenny Henry Show ran for a further 20 years in various incarnations. He performed impressions such as Tina Turner, Prince, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Run DMC, among others.
    He made a guest appearance in the final episode of The Young Ones as The Postman, in 1984.
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  • 1980
    Age 21
    Also in 1980, he teamed up with The Comic Strip where he met his wife, comedian Dawn French.
    More Details Hide Details She 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 who both mocked and celebrated black British culture, such as Theophilus P. Wildebeeste (an homage to Teddy Pendergrass using the 'TP' initials), Brixton pirate radio disc jockey DJ Delbert Wilkins and Trevor MacDoughnut (a parody of Trevor McDonald). His stand-up material, which sold well on LP, owed much to the writing abilities of Kim Fuller. During this time he also spent three years as a DJ on BBC Radio 1, playing soul and electro tracks and introducing some of the characters that he would later popularise on television.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1978
    Age 19
    Around the same time, he co-hosted the children's programme Tiswas from 1978 until 1981, and subsequently performed and wrote for the show Three of a Kind.
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  • 1975
    Age 16
    His earliest television appearance was on the New Faces talent show, which he won in 1975 with an impersonation of Stevie Wonder.
    More Details Hide Details The following year he appeared with Norman Beaton in LWT's sitcom The Fosters, Britain's first comedy series with predominantly black performers. His formative years were spent in working men's clubs, where he impersonated mainly white characters such as the Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em character Frank Spencer (whom he impersonated on New Faces). He also made guest appearances on television programmes including Celebrity Squares, Seaside Special and The Ronnie Corbett Show. In 1980, Henry performed in Summer Season in Blackpool with Cannon and Ball. He has since said that "the summer season was the first time he felt that his act had received a proper response from an audience".
    Henry's first manager was Robert Luff, who signed him in 1975 and gave him the opportunity to perform as part of the Luff-produced touring stage version of The Black and White Minstrel Show.
    More Details Hide Details In July 2009, Lenny Henry stated he was contractually obliged to perform and regretted his part in the show.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1958
    Born
    Henry was born in Dudley, West Midlands, on 29 August 1958, the son of Jamaican immigrants.
    More Details Hide Details One of seven children, he was the first to be born in the United Kingdom. He 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.
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