Southbank Centre's Book Podcast: Lenny Henry in conversation

In this special edition of the Southbank Centre’s Book Podcast, recorded in October 2019, the much-loved comedian, actor and writer Sir Lenny Henry joins comedian Romesh Ranganathan to discuss his remarkable career and his new memoir Who Am I, Again?

Henry explains why and how he chose to write a truthful book about his life, rather than a ‘lying book’, and looks back at his formative years, from his mum’s infamous ‘Saturday Soup’ and an epic fight with his sister that still didn’t deter his curious side, to his shock at the different lives lived by his white friends, and his first experiences of racism.

He also talks about how he found himself catapulted into the public eye, working alongside pioneering black actors including Norman Beaton, Carmen Munroe and Rudolph Walker, and the expectations and pressures that came from being a young black performer in the public eye. Henry also highlights the continuing need for greater BAME representation, not just on screen, but crucially among those who choose what gets to be seen on screen.

 

Lenny Henry in conversation by Southbank Centre's Book Podcast

 

I wore a tux and I told those jokes about mother-in-laws and busty landladies, because I thought that’s what you had to do. It took ages to find somewhere that resembled even closely who I was – to be brave enough to abandon what I’d been doing to fasten onto what to do, and to look how I wanted to look.
Lenny Henry

 

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