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Knighthood for comedian Lenny Henry

Published 12/06/2015

Lenny Henry, a mainstay of Comic Relief for many years, said it was a
Lenny Henry, a mainstay of Comic Relief for many years, said it was a "wonderful thing"

Lenny Henry's knighthood is the least surprising news on the honours list, after reports of the award leaked out and he himself went on national radio to confirm it ahead of the official announcement.

The comedian and actor, a mainstay of Comic Relief for many years, said it was a "wonderful thing".

He said: " My family are absolutely chuffed and my friends have not stopped congratulating me. I'd like to thank everyone for being so generous and so kind. It is an extraordinary thing and I am absolutely thrilled.

"This is not just for me, this is for everyone who has done something for Comic Relief, every person who has helped us raise £1 billion and for everyone who works at Comic Relief, this is for you too."

The star - real name Lenworth Henry - grew up in Dudley in the West Midlands and started out on the controversial Black And White Minstrel Show before getting his big break doing impressions on talent show New Faces.

His career as a stand-up comic led to him joining children's TV show Tiswas alongside Chris Tarrant, and its late-night adult sister show OTT before he went on to work on BBC1's Three Of A Kind.

He also fronted his own series, appeared in films and starred in the successful sitcom Chef! before receiving critical acclaim for his stage performances, including Othello and The Comedy Of Errors, at the National Theatre.

Henry, who separated from his wife Dawn French in 2010 after 25 years of marriage, hit the headlines last year when he called for ring-fenced funding to promote ethnically-diverse talent in the media.

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