‘No one more deserving’ of honorary Bafta than Sir Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry will be presented with a Bafta special award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television.

The British stand-up comedian, actor and writer is best known for his work on Comic Relief and as a presenter of TV programmes including The Magicians, The Lenny Henry Show and Three Of A Kind.

Lenny Henry

Sir Lenny Henry (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)


He will be presented with the special award named in honour of film director and producer Alan Clarke at the Bafta TV Awards at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 8.

Sir Lenny said: “This is fantastic. I am truly humbled and truly hopeful that this award is a pan-industry acknowledgement that diversity must be at the heart of our industry if we are to reflect British society now and, most importantly, in the future.”

Previous recipients of the Alan Clarke award include TV producer and writer Jeff Pope in 2015, TV executive Jane Tranter in 2009, documentary film-maker Paul Watson in 2008, and screenwriter Paul Greengrass in 2005.

Lenny Henry is behind Comic Relief

Sir Lenny is a mainstay of Comic Relief (John Stillwell/PA)


Krishnendu Majumdar, chair of Bafta’s television committee, said: “There is no one more deserving of the special award this year than Lenny Henry.

“He has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a performer and writer, appearing in dozens of shows from Tiswas to the hugely popular Lenny Henry Show, and most recently in the drama The Syndicate – proving his appeal spans all generations and genres.

Lenny Henry met the Queen

Sir Lenny met the Queen in 2014 (Yui Mok/PA)


“Lenny’s recent ground-breaking Bafta lecture has helped to reframe and reignite the discussion about diversity in British television, with the conversations he has sparked already leading to positive changes.

“This, coupled with his incredible contribution to the industry, makes him the perfect choice for the special award.”

The Dudley-born star got his first television break on the 1975 ITV talent show New Faces. In the late 70s he appeared as a contributor on the children’s show Tiswas, where he regularly worked with Chris Tarrant and Bob Carolgees.

Lenny Henry (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)

Sir Lenny Henry (Daniel Leal-Olivas/PA)


Sir Lenny is one of the founding members of Comic Relief and since he started it alongside Richard Curtis in 1985, it has gone on to raise more than £1 billion through its various campaigns.

He has previously received two Bafta nominations for The Lenny Henry Show and has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Comedy Awards in 2003.

This year’s Bafta Television Awards will be hosted by Graham Norton and will be broadcast on BBC One on Sunday, May 8 at 8pm.


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