Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy. Lenny Henry. Copyright: Douglas Road
Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy

Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy

  • TV documentary
  • Gold
  • 2019
  • 3 episodes (1 series)

Documentary exploring British comedy representing various diverse races and cultures. Features Lenny Henry, Robert Beckford, Trevor Phillips, Michael Grade, Ayesha Hazarika and more.

Episode menu

Series 1, Episode 1 - Sitcom

Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy. Image shows from L to R: Lenny Henry, Joseph Marcell. Copyright: Douglas Road
A look at some of the well-meaning attempts television made to embrace the changing face of the nation during the 1970s.

Further details

Starting with the hugely successful sitcom Love Thy Neighbour, the series looks at some of the well-meaning attempts television made to embrace the changing face of the nation during the 1970s.

The advent of Channel 4 was a key catalyst in bringing diversity to UK homes during the 1980s and into the 90s, with shows such as No Problem!, The Cosby Show and Desmond's.

The film concludes with a look at the influence diversity and multiculturalism has had on society on comedy through shows such as PhoneShop, People Just Do Nothing and Chewing Gum.

Broadcast details

Tuesday 15th October 2019
60 minutes


Show past repeats

Date Time Channel
Sunday 20th October 2019 10:15pm Gold
Friday 6th March 2020 12:25am Gold
Thursday 12th March 2020 2:55am Gold
Sunday 4th October 2020 10:40pm Gold
Tuesday 6th October 2020 2:30am Gold
Monday 19th October 2020 10:00pm Dave
Tuesday 29th December 2020 11:55pm Gold
Wednesday 30th December 2020 2:40am Gold
Friday 1st January 2021 2:40am Gold
Sunday 3rd October 2021 10:55pm Gold
Thursday 7th October 2021 10:40pm Gold
Tuesday 12th October 2021 11:00pm Dave
Monday 25th April 2022 1:55am Gold
Tuesday 3rd May 2022 12:10am Gold
Sunday 8th May 2022 2:30am Gold
Tuesday 28th June 2022 12:50am Gold
Monday 2nd January 2023 1:00am Gold
Sunday 8th January 2023 2:25am Gold
Saturday 5th August 2023 2:30am Gold
Sunday 8th October 2023 11:45pm Gold
Sunday 15th October 2023 1:00am Gold

Cast & crew

Lenny Henry Host / Presenter
Robert Beckford Self
Trevor Phillips Self
Michael Grade (as Lord Michael Grade) Self
Ayesha Hazarika Self
Ellis Cashmore Self
Llewella Gideon Self
Angie Le Mar Self
Roxy Sternberg Self
Gina Yashere Self
Terry Jervis Self
Paul Chowdhry Self
Shazia Mirza Self
Charlie Hanson Self
Tameka Empson Self
Vas Blackwood Self
Anil Gupta Self
Javone Prince Self
Guest cast
Humphrey Barclay Self
Chris Tummings Self
Nina Baden-Semper Self
Curtis Walker Self
Judith Jacob Self
Trix Worrell Self
Carmen Munroe Self
Joseph Marcell Self
Oliver Samuels Self
Production team
Marina Warsama Series Director
Carlton Dixon Series Producer
Lenny Henry Executive Producer
Angela Ferreira Executive Producer
Iain Coyle Executive Producer
Shabazz Graham Editor
Derek Kersting Editor
Ian Watts Director of Photography
Kelvin Richard Director of Photography
Conor Connolly Director of Photography


Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy review

Henry revisits half a century of multicultural sitcoms, from the good to the bad and the truly stomach-churning.

The Guardian, 16th October 2019

TV review: Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy - Sitcoms

Lenny Henry is definitely the best person to front this examination of race in television comedy.

Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke, 16th October 2019

Lenny Henry has experienced the marginalised and often-forgotten role of people of colour throughout his lengthy career. In this series, he examines Britain's history of multicultural comedy, beginning with sitcoms. Taking aim at Spike Milligan's deeply offensive 1969 blackface show Curry & Chips, Henry goes on to show how representation slowly increased to include his own show The Fosters before ending with Michaela Coel's recent hit, Chewing Gum.

Ammar Kalia, The Guardian, 15th October 2019

Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy review

A flabbergasting look at our cultural climate 50 years ago.

Adam Sweeting, i Newspaper, 15th October 2019

Lenny Henry's Race Through Comedy review

An illuminating account of TV's struggle to become multicultural.

Adam Sweeting, The Arts Desk, 15th October 2019

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