From Tiswas to Three of a Kind, the programme looks at the highs and lows of Sir Lenny Henry’s career.
Alan Yentob follows one of Britain’s best loved performers in a forthcoming episode of BBC Arts’ flagship documentary strand, imagine…
Lenny Henry is profiled in the series as he releases his first autobiography charting his early years in show-business. The Beeb have also announced a show focusing on Lemn Sissay.
“Lenny Henry and Lemn Sissay are two exceptional and original talents. They are also great story tellers. Here are two tales of the unexpected. Their recently published memoirs have received great acclaim and in imagine… they speak with remarkable candour in two truly revealing and inspiring encounters.” – presenter Alan Yentob
Lenny found fame on ATV’s New Faces talent show for ITV.
In this first revealing and poignant film the BBC One documentary sees Sir Lenny Henry meet up with his closest friends, family and colleagues to remember his sudden rise to fame aged 16 on ATV talent show, New Faces, which catapulted him from a working-class kid from Dudley to one of Britain’s most celebrated black performers.
imagine…will also remember Lenny’s other early breakthrough roles on Tiswas and Three Of A Kind as well as five troubling years as the only black performer in The Black & White Minstrel Show.
Alongside his early achievements Lenny also discusses his recent career reinvention as a serious actor of stage and screen and his work as a political activist campaigning for greater diversity in the entertainment and broadcasting industry.
Lemn Sissay’s writings are a source of inspiration to huge numbers of people the world over – from the landmark poems writ large on the walls and buildings of Manchester and beyond, to the contemplative dawn verses, published each morning on social media, his words bring solace and light to readers across the globe. Featuring contributions from some of the great names Lemn has shared the stage with over the past few decades, as well as his close network of friends and supporters from his years in care, the second documentary is the story of the boy whose name meant Why.
“imagine… celebrates and explores the best in arts and culture both in the UK and internationally. As Lenny Henry’s first autobiography and Lemn Sissay’s memoir is published these revealing documentary portraits shine a new light on two of the best-loved and remarkable cultural figures of our generation.” – Tanya Hudson, BBC Studios Executive Producer