In 1975, a gangly black 16-year-old from Dudley, decked out in floppy bow tie and Frank Spencer beret, appeared on our TV screens for the first time. So began the transformation from apprentice factory worker to future national treasure of Sir Lenny Henry.
In his long-awaited autobiography, Lenny tells the extraordinary story of his early years and sudden rise to fame. Born soon after his Jamaican parents had arrived in the Midlands, Lenny was raised as one of seven siblings in a boisterous, hilarious, complicated working household, and sent out into the world with his mum’s mantra of ‘H’integration! H’integration! H’integration!’ echoing in his ears.
A natural ability to make people laugh came in handy. At school it helped subdue the daily racist bullying. In the park, it led to lifelong friendships and occasional snogs. Soon, it would put him on stage at working men’s clubs and Black Country discotheques. And then an invitation to audition for ITVs New Faces would change his life for ever.
But those first years of show business, in a 1970s Britain of questionable variety shows, endless seaside summer seasons, casual chauvinism and blatant racism, were a bewildering experience for a lone black teenager. At every stage, he wondered: ‘Am I good enough? Is this what they want? Who am I, again?’
Riotous, warm-hearted and revealing, and told with Lenny’s trademark energy – expect recipes, comic strips, and tips for aspiring comedians – Who Am I, Again? is the heart-breakingly honest and inspirational coming-of-age story of a man who holds a very special place in British hearts.