SIR LENNY Henry has called for more diversity in the arts, saying that “nobody should be left behind”.
The comedian, actor and writer made the rallying call after winning an outstanding achievement award at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards, which celebrates every genre of the arts.
He was presented with the award by friend and screenwriter Richard Curtis, with whom he co-founded Comic Relief in 1985.
Speaking to Sky News, Henry said he would not rest until everyone in the industry felt represented at work.
“My thing is nobody left behind, no one left behind now in our industry. Let’s have people behind the scenes and on camera and let’s have that be diverse and representational.
“We shouldn’t have to put up with anymore, walking on a set and not seeing people who look like us. So 50-50 male-female, 15% BAME.”
He added: “You know, 0.3% people with disabilities working in our industry, that’s disgraceful. Disability isn’t just people in a wheelchair, it’s other things too.
“We need to be including everybody – everybody on the bus, or no bus. That’s what we’re talking about here.”
Henry went onto explain that his desire to increase diversity began over 20 years ago and that he will always campaign for change.
“I’m 60 and I started doing the diversity stuff when I was 40-something, so that’s 20 years… people have to start making an active choice about inclusion otherwise nothing’s going to change,” he said.
Other winners at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards included Lily Allen, Danny Boyle, Jessie Buckley and Derry Girls.