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The Lenny Henry Show
In 1984, Lenny Henry sealed his reputation as a first-rate entertainer with his first solo television outing, The Lenny Henry Show.
The show featured a mixture of stand-up, characters, film and music video spoofs – most notably Henry's hilarious send-up of Michael Jackson's Thriller video, in which he turns from a werewolf into the singer much to his girlfriend's horror.
Memorable characters included Theophilus P. Wildebeeste - the soul singing 'one man sex machine', and Deakus - the elderly philosophising Jamaican.
The Lenny Henry Show returned to screens in 1987 as a sitcom based around the character of wide-boy Brixton pirate radio DJ - the "crucialll!!!" Delbert Wilkins, founder of the BBC (Brixton Broadcasting Corporation). The show focused on Delbert's attempts to break into the big time, and after two series, he succeeded, bagging himself a job working for the BBC World Service.
Reverting to its original sketch/stand-up format, The Lenny Henry Show returned for another series in 1995 with new characters including Bunny Wyoming Jr. - a Las Vegas club crooner who sings 'lounge style' Bob Marley songs, and the formidable female with attitude Deeva.
It also featured a running 'Blaxploitation' movie spoof in which Henry played Nathan Gunn, a 1970s-style New York cop transferred to 1990s London. Various guest stars supported, including members of The Real McCoy team.
The Lenny Henry Show returned in its fourth incarnation in 2004 as a glossy fast-paced show with a lightly topical edge to Lenny's stand-up, more music video lampoons and all-new characters such as Mr. Blackwell - the rebellious nursing home resident, and Lester the elderly, philosophising West-Indian corner-shop owner (who shared obvious similarities with the lovable Deakus).
Whilst lacking some of the originality and laughs of the original 1984 series, The Lenny Henry Show again proved relatively popular amongst Friday night family audiences.
Lenny was joined by black female comedy troupe The Three Non-Blondes and comedienne Gina Yashere, who appeared in numerous roles including The Nail Bar Girls and Tanya the try-hard Ragga girl.
Other recurring sketches included "forenSIC:UK"- a spoof of US detective drama CSI; and Sound Bite News Digest where anchors Lenny Henry and Tamsin Grieg (Greenwing), were joined each week by a celebrity guest, for a condensed round-up of the week's news. Guests included Hugh Laurie, Meera Syal, Alison Steadman and Harry Enfield.
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