The Lenny Henry Show
UK, BBC/Tiger Aspect, Sketch/standup, Colour, 2004
Starring: Lenny Henry, Ninia Benjamin, Tameka Empson
The characters in this show live in Holder, a fictitious area of London. They included corner-shop philosopher Lister, an elderly West Indian; pushy mum Mrs Omokorede, who constantly pressurises her 12-year-old daughter; Ronson, a conman encouraged by Holder Prison's education unit to write poetry; the Nail Bar Girls, a trio of noisy, gossipy gals obsessed with the quest for artificial beauty; Funkazi, an unsympathetic African midwife; Tanya the Ragga Girl, who tries too hard; the insanely cheerful community radio DJ; and the Chuggers (charity muggers), two clipboard-wielding charity reps who go to any lengths to secure a signature. A recurring feature was a newsroom spoof where anchors Lenny Henry and Tamsin Greig were joined by a celebrity to take part in Sound Bite News Digest, a pithy roundup of the week's news. Guests in this segment included Hugh Laurie, Meera Syal, Shane Richie, Alison Steadman, Harry Enfield and Nigel Havers.
This was a glossy, fast-paced sketch show with a topical slant, and Henry was joined by Benjamin, Empson and Esien, better known as Three Non-Blondes, stars of a BBC Three (and occasional terrestrial) show of that name which put a modern, ethnic twist on the old Candid Camera format. Publicising this series Henry declared that it remained difficult for comedians of colour to achieve their own mainstream show.
Researched and written by Mark Lewisohn.
Number of episodes: 8
Length: 30 mins