The event will take place on Monday 17 March
London, 29 January: The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) has today announced that the BAFTA-nominated performer Lenny Henry CBE will deliver the BAFTA Television Lecture on Monday 17 March. The actor, writer and comedian will give his views on the creative landscape in television, with a particular focus on the representation of Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups in front of and behind the camera. The lecture will be followed by a discussion chaired by Baroness Oona King.
During his talk, Henry will expand on recommendations he put forward last week at a roundtable held by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey to discuss the decline in the BAME workforce revealed in Creative Skillset’s 2012 Employment Census. Henry will draw on his personal experiences from a career spanning nearly 40 years, as well as findings from his current PhD research into BAME representation in the media.
The BAFTA Television Lecture is the highlight of BAFTA's public programme of television events. Each year, BAFTA invites one of TV's foremost figures to give their personal view on creative excellence in television and their vision for the future. Previous speakers include Stephen Fry, Paul Abbott, Lorraine Heggessey, Kevin Lygo, Alan Yentob, Peter Bennett-Jones and Armando Iannucci.
Andrew Newman, Chair of the BAFTA Television Committee said: “Lenny Henry holds an important place in British television culture; not only as one of the first black British comedians to achieve mainstream success, but also as a performer who has entertained the nation for four decades. He is a true renaissance man, equally at home on television, in theatre, and in the world of academia, and we are excited to learn more from his unique insights. This Television Lecture will consider creative excellence from a broad perspective, exploring how the industry can ensure talented people have the opportunities to thrive.”
Public tickets for the BAFTA Television Lecture will go on sale on Wednesday 5 February. To book tickets, go to www.bafta.org/whats-on/.
The lecture will also be recorded for BAFTA Guru, BAFTA’s online learning channel: www.bafta.org/guru .
Monday 17 March at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly in London
18:30 Champagne Taittinger Reception
19:00 Event commences
Dudley-born Henry’s first television exposure came in 1975 on the ITV talent show New Faces. In the late seventies he was a regular contributor to the ITV Saturday morning children’s show Tiswas. Henry later joined with Tracey Ullman and David Copperfield to create the sketch show Three of A Kind (BBC One, 1981-1983). This was followed by The Lenny Henry Show, for which Henry received a BAFTA nomination for Light Entertainment Performance in 1985. The show also received a BAFTA nomination for Light Entertainment Programme in 1989.
During the 1990s Henry set up his own production company Crucial Films, which produced Funky Black Shorts, a series of 10 minute films for BBC Two, and was involved in the development of The Real McCoy comedy series, designed to present a black perspective through humour. Onscreen, Henry starred in shows such Bernard & The Genie (BBC One, 1991) directed by Richard Curtis, White Goods (ITV, 1994) co-starring Ian McShane and Chef! (BBC One, 1993-1996), where he played the eponymous lead role. He also made several documentaries, including New Soul Nation (Channel 4, 1993) and the South Bank Show special Darker Than Me (ITV, 1994), and hosted the British Academy Film and Television Awards in 1997.
From 1999 to 2000 Henry played the Head Teacher in the BBC One drama Hope and Glory. In the following decade his credits include comedy series Lenny Henry in Pieces (BBC One, 2000-2003) which won the Golden Rose at the Montreux Television Festival in 2001, the ITV drama Goodbye Mr Steadman (2001) and the documentary series Lenny’s Britain (BBC One, 2007).
In February 2009 Henry made his Shakespearean acting debut in the title role of Othello, for which he was awarded Best Newcomer at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. In 2011 he returned to Shakespeare playing Antipholus of Syracuse in The Comedy of Errors at the National Theatre. He can currently be seen in the lead role of Troy Maxson in Fences at the Duchess Theatre in London.
After completing a degree in English Literature as a mature student, Henry gained an MA in Screenwriting for Film and Television. He is currently studying for a PhD on the role of BAME people in the media.
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The British Academy of Film and Television Arts is an independent charity that supports, develops and promotes the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public. In addition to its Awards ceremonies, BAFTA has a year-round Learning & Events programme that offers unique access to some of the world’s most inspiring talent through workshops, masterclasses, lectures and mentoring schemes, connecting with audiences of all ages and backgrounds across the UK, Los Angeles and New York. BAFTA relies on income from membership subscriptions, individual donations, trusts, foundations and corporate partnerships to support its ongoing outreach work. For further information, visit www.bafta.org or www.bafta.org/guru .