Sir Lenny Henry Media Career
Lenny Henry first appeared on British television as an impressionist in the 1970s on the talent show New Faces. With his comedic genius, Lenny featured on Tiswas (1974), Three of a Kind (1981-1983), Hope & Glory (1999-2000), Chef! (1993-1996) and the self-titled The Lenny Henry Show (1984-1988) and Lenny Henry in Pieces (2003)
His TV credentials also include a key role in the third series of the hit ITV show Broadchurch (2017), Doctor Who’s New Year’s Day episode Spyfall (2020), Alive and Kicking (1991), The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (2022), The Magicians (2011-2012), Little Robots (2003), New Soul Nation (1993), Lenny’s Big Amazon Adventure, Goodbye Mr Steadman (2001), The Catherine Tate Show (2007), The Masked Singer (2021) and The Fosters (1976-1977) – which was the first British all-black sitcom, averaging 20 million viewers per episode.
Sir Lenny Henry – Film Career
His film credits are smaller but no less impressive, starring in the likes of True Identity (1991), My Name is Leon (2022), Zog and the Flying Doctors (2020) and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004).
Sir Lenny Henry – Stage Acting Career
Despite making his name in comedy, Lenny has also taken on some more serious acting roles, making his West End debut in the role of Othello in the Northern Broadsides production at the Trafalgar Studios. His portrayal won him critical acclaim and the London Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Newcomer. He has also appeared on stage in The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Comedy of Errors, Educating Rita, King Hedley II, Fences and So Much Things to Say.
Lenny has also been a popular face for large company advertisement campaigns including for Premier Inn, Virgin Mobile, Alpen Muesli and the non-alcoholic lager, Kaliber.
Sir Lenny Henry – Writer
Lenny has expanded his skills to writing, and has published a number of fiction and non-fiction books. His first, Who am I, again? was published in 2019 and discusses the difficulties he experienced as a child and with his self-identity; this was followed in 2021 by Access All Areas: The Diversity Manifesto for TV and Beyond and Black British Lives Matter: A Clarion Call for Equality; his first fictional book for children, The Boy With Wings, was also published in 2021. 2022 will see the publication of his newest memoir, Rising to the Surface.
Sir Lenny Henry – Awards
Thanks to his years of experience, Lenny has been the recipient of a number of awards and accolades. He has won the Monaco Red Cross, the Golden Nymph Award at the Monte Carlo Television Festival, the Fellowship and Judges’ awards from the Royal Television Society, the Radio and Television Industry Club Award for BBC Personality of the Year, the Golden Rose at the Monteux Television Festival, the Outstanding Achievement Award at the South Bank Show awards, the Alan Clarke Award for Outstanding Contribution to Television and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards.
He was awarded a CBE in 1999 for his charity work, and was later knighted in 2015. In 2016 he was listed in the Powerlist of the 100 Most Influential Black Britons.
Sir Lenny Henry Charity Work
As well as his onscreen roles, Lenny is well known for his charitable contributions, particularly as a co-founder of Comic Relief. He has becoming one of the most popular faces on the live fundraising show as well as in a number of their UK and oversea films. He also helped present The Big Night In in 2020 alongside Matt Baker, Paddy McGuinness, Zoe Ball and Davina McCall to help raise funds and awareness for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sir Lenny Henry Diversity in the Media Campaigner
Lenny is spearheading a landmark new research centre aimed at examining diversity in the UK’s media. Birmingham City University opened its doors in 2020 to the Sir Lenny Henry Centre for Media Diversity which looks at representation across the industry including journalism, acting, film, TV and radio, in both front-of-house and behind-the-scenes roles. Lenny said: “This has been a long time under wraps but at last we’re out. I’m so chuffed to be a part of Birmingham City University’s efforts to facilitate diversity research.” The centre is the brainchild of Lenny, Marcus Ryder, a multi-award winning journalist known for his look into diversity in the media, Diane Kemp, Professor of Broadcast Journalism and Marverine Duffa, a Journalism course leader.
See Lenny’s talk on diversity in the media at MIPCOM 2017:
Lenny and Marcus Ryder were also awarded visiting professorships at the University, which sees them use their experience and expertise to work alongside researchers and academics and give specialist lectures on the subject.
Sir Lenny Henry Keynote Speaker & Event Host
Sir Lenny Henry Speaking Topics
– Charity/Comic Relief
– Diversity and Inclusion
– Self Identity
Lenny is a guaranteed success for any private, public, charity or corporate event as a speaker, host or compere. Personable and entertaining, inspiring and hilarious, he has built a plethora of anecdotes on his comedy, acting, presenting and charity careers. As a speaker, he pushes the importance of diversity and inclusion in the media and how he overcame challenges to reach the heights he is at today.
Previous corporate clients include The Olivier Awards, the TV Choice Awards, Motown Music Launch, Sony Entertainment Television Asia, NBP Parabes, Movers & Shakers, William Reed, Learning Skills Council, Union Learn, Kush Housing Association and the London University Purchasing Consortium.