WHEN Lenny Henry called for greater representation of ethnic minorities on TV did the BBC have to respond by simply giving us more Lenny Henry?

I’m all for seeing a greater mix of races on TV (and a greater range of ages and classes) but must the loud, unbearable Henry be involved? Not only does he star in this drama, but it’s based on his life. This, surely, is too much?

Despite my irritation, this fictionalised re-telling of Lenny Henry’s childhood in grim 1970s Birmingham, is actually quite good, as long as you can prise it away, in your mind, from the politically correct box-ticking enterprise which probably led to its commissioning.

Henry has described it as “my life in a parallel universe”.

The teenage “Lenny Henry” is transformed into Danny Fearon, played by Kascion Franklin, who’s an aspiring comedian. A win in a local talent show sets him on the road to success, but he faces racism along the way – it was the 1970s, after all – and he has to struggle against this and assert his real character.

Lenny Henry stars as Samson, Danny’s father.


WHY can’t the BBC do good comedy anymore? Recently we’ve had truly awful things such as Citizen Khan, Mrs Brown’s Boys and, currently showing, the embarrassing Mountain Goats. The last time the BBC managed to provoke a laugh from me was with Murder In Successville on BBC3, a channel soon to be shoved online only.

And there were laughs in the one-off special of Burnistoun, but this was shown in Scotland only. When it comes to the BBC’s mainstream, UK-wide comedy, where oh where is the good stuff?

Maybe they feel this terrible dearth of excellent comedy, as they’re giving us a reunion show with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse looking back – yes, looking back – to the good old days.

The programme puts Enfield and Whitehouse on stage together in front of an admiring crowd and parodies the “An Audience With…” shows, but the nice twist is that when we flash to shots of the audience we see Enfield and Whitehouse in the crowd, dressed up as various famous people, and asking cheeky questions. Jimmy Carr, Harry Hill, Ricky Gervais and Prince Charles are all gloriously ridiculed and in between we have great clips of the comedy pair’s old shows.