Birmingham & Black Country

Sir Lenny Henry appointed Birmingham City University chancellor

Lenny Henry
Image caption Sir Lenny Henry has had a TV career spanning more than 40 years

Comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry has been appointed chancellor of Birmingham City University.

The 57-year-old - who was knighted last year for services to drama and charity - has been a prominent campaigner on increasing diversity in the arts.

He said the role was a "superb opportunity" to promote the West Midlands and help young people.

Dudley-born Sir Lenny first found fame after winning TV talent show New Faces in 1975.

He said the university has facilities that "rival anything in the television industry".

"[It] is right in the centre of a city that has changed beyond recognition in recent years and offers the sort of contemporary education I would have killed for when I was a kid," he said.

Sir Lenny Henry: a varied career

  • Began as a stand-up comedian, winning New Faces in 1975
  • Helps to found charity Comic Relief in 1985
  • After a string of TV shows and stand-up tours turns to Shakespeare, playing Othello in 2009
  • Knighted for services to drama and charity in 2015
  • Records and releases a blues album

Professor Cliff Allan, vice-chancellor of the university, said Sir Lenny was "one of the country's most well-known personalities" and his appointment would inspire students.

"He not only encapsulates the university's commitment to both the arts and widening participation, but he is a strong advocate for Birmingham and the region, including his home town of Dudley," he said.

Image caption Sir Lenny Henry said his appointment as Birmingham City University's chancellor has given him a "superb opportunity" to celebrate the West Midlands and help young people looking to access the arts

More on this story