Introducing our Chancellor

Sir Lenny Henry

Actor, writer, comedian and charitable campaigner Sir Lenny Henry is our Chancellor. Here he talks about how Birmingham has transformed his life.

Actor, comedian and campaigner

Sir Lenny was born in Dudley, near Birmingham, in 1958, shooting to fame in 1975 when his stand up comic routine won the TV talent show ‘New Faces’.

He went on to become a household name fronting programmes such as ‘Tiswas’ and ‘Three of a Kind’. In recent years Sir Lenny received widespread acclaim for dramatic roles, playing the title role in ‘Othello’ at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, marking his Shakespearean debut in 2009. He was knighted in the Queen's 2015 Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.

He wrote and starred in ‘Danny and the Human Zoo’, a fictionalised account of his life as a teenager in 1970s Dudley – partly shot in Birmingham and the Black Country. In 2016, he was presented with a special Bafta award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television.

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Did you know...

Here's three facts that may surprise you about Sir Lenny Henry

Lenny facts:

  • He voiced Dre Head, a shrunken head, in the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

  • He has an MA in screenwriting for television and film and a PHD on the role of black people in the media.

  • In 1985 he co-founded Comic Relief, a poverty and social justice charity which has since raised over £1 billion to help causes in the UK and around the world.