Sir Lenny Henry says comedians don’t get the same freedom nowadays.
The ‘Tiswas’ star believes outside of the likes of Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Ronnie Barker many comic performers "don’t get the respect they deserve", and used the example of ‘The Lateish Show With Mo Gilligan’ on Channel 4, insisting it would've been different for host Mo Gilligan in Lenny’s heyday.
The 63-year-old star told the Radio Times magazine: “Look at Mo Gilligan - his talk show is great, but back in the day he’d have been given his own show where he’d get to do all his characters and talk to the audience.
“Producers tend to slightly body-swerve what you do and try to repurpose it to service their idea.
“Outside perhaps Ronnie Barker or Phoebe Waller-Bridge, comic performers don’t get the respect they deserve. It’s really hard."
Lenny has starred in more drama productions, such as 'The Syndicate', 'Broadchurch', 'Doctor Who', and 'The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power', in recent years, but he hasn't ruled out a return to comedy.
He said: “Before, there was a sense that I was just the first one to the dressing-up cupboard. I love comedy but it feels the world takes drama more seriously.
“But I’ve given 40 years to acting the fool and if a brilliant comic role came my way, of course I’d do it. It would be stupid for me to say, ‘I only do drama now, darling.' "
Last month, the ‘New Faces’ star gushed about how “massively proud” he was to carry the baton during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in his native Birmingham, after it travelled 90,000 miles across its 72 nations and territories, near to his hometown of Dudley.
Lenny said: “The chance to carry the Queen’s Baton on the final leg of its journey fills me with massive pride, especially when I think of how far it’s travelled over the past nine months.
“It has crossed land, sea and air to cover every corner of the Commonwealth, including my parent’s home of Jamaica, and all the way to Birmingham city centre (just down the road from Dudley where I got my first humongous break); and carried all the way by inspirational individuals whose stories have blown me away.”