After 40-years of making us laugh, and cry, comedian, actor and philanthropist, Lenny Henry is set to become Sir Lenny after confirmation that he will receive a knighthood in the Queen's birthday honours.
The Queen's Birthday Honours List is set to be officially announced tomorrow with the Dudley-born star of the stage and screen will be offered a knighthood for his services to charity.
Henry, a co-founder and mainstay of Comic Relief, was said to have felt; “like being filled with lemonade” when he was first told the news, further saying that it was a lovely feeling and that he is very pleased. “And my mum would have loved it,” he continued.
The 56-year-old said the knighthood was for services to charity, adding: “That’s not just me, that’s everybody that works for Comic Relief.”
Henry found fame on TV talent show New Faces in 1975 before starring in children's favourite Tiswas and sketch shows including 'Three Of A Kind' and his own long-running Lenny Henry Show, which sporned lovable pirate radio DJ, Delbert Wilkins. In the 1990s, he appeared in films as well as finding success writing and starring in the hit BBC sitcom 'Chef,' as well as being instrumental in establishing the comedy revue series 'The Real McCoy.'
He received critical acclaim for his stage performances, including Othello and The Comedy of Errors, at the National Theatre, but it's as a charity fundraiser, that Henry will be honoured for with Comic Relief raising more than £1bn over the past three decades.
In recent times he has been a strong advocate for more prominent roles for Black, Asian and other non-white actors, saying: “Since 2008, I have noticed another worrying trend. Our most talented Black, Asian and other ethnic actors are increasingly frustrated and they have to go to America to succeed.”
He said they had often been told they did not have the “marquee power” but argued that this was no longer the case.
Henry said the honour was "for everybody who's helped make Comic Relief what it is".
He added: "I think it's for all of us and that's what I'm pleased about. The thing said 'services to charity'. Well that's not just me.
It is a wonderful thing and my family are really, really chuffed. My friends have not stopped ringing up and saying congratulations. It is an extraordinary thing and I'm very chuffed."