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The One Show viewers divided over Sir Lenny Henry tribute episode

The BBC programme paid tribute to the entertainer ahead of him hosting his last Comic Relief show

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 26: Sir Lenny Henry backstage during Comic Relief Live at London Palladium on February 26, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Joe Maher/Comic Relief/Getty Images for Comic Relief)
Sir Lenny Henry is set to host his last Red Nose Day. (Joe Maher/Comic Relief/Getty Images for Comic Relief)

What did you miss?

The One Show viewers were confused as the programme aired a tribute to Sir Lenny Henry ahead of his final Comic Relief, saying it felt “too long” and “like he’s dying”.

The star has been at the helm of the fundraising show for 39 years but announced in January that he would host for the last time this year, saying it was time to hand over to a new generation. To mark the end of his long run, the BBC show aired a special programme on Monday (11 March) which saw stars such as Whoopi Goldberg, Stephen Fry, Davina McCall and Richard Curtis praising Henry for all he had done.

It also included clips from Henry on previous Comic Relief shows and his sister Kay surprised him on the sofa.

What, how, and why?

While some viewers loved the special episode, others were unimpressed. Although they acknowledged Henry's commitment and contribution, some felt the programme played more like an instalment of This Is Your Life, which takes viewers through a star’s life and career.

The One Show aired a special episode about the star. (BBC screengrab)
The One Show aired a special episode about the star. (BBC screengrab)

One posted on X: “I think Lenny Henry is a great guy but does him giving up hosting Comic Relief warrant all this gushing? It’s like he’s about to croak."

“Lenny is OK, but a whole programme because he is not presenting Red Nose,” said someone else. “This Lenny item is about 20 minutes too long,” said someone else.

Another person posted: “Is Lenny Henry dying? Oh... he’s just giving up the Comic Relief gig.” “Am I watching The One Show or This Is Your Life,” asked someone else.

“This is very weird, feels like he’s dying!” said another viewer. Somebody else remarked: “Lenny didn’t do it all on his own. What about the thousands of fundraisers who every year went through fantastic hardships to raise a billion pounds. Perhaps The One Show should have featured a few of those.”

The star has hosted the fundraiser for 39 years. (BBC screengrab)
The star has hosted the fundraiser for 39 years. (BBC screengrab)

Others loved the tribute to 'legend'

However, others loved the tribute episode. “The One Show great!” said one. “It’s the Lenny Henry special!” Another said Henry was “brilliant”, calling him “an absolute star”.

The celebrity guests also had a lot of nice things to say about Henry's years of devotion to the cause. Britain's Got Talent judge Alesha Dixon called him a "legend", adding: "You are one of a kind."

Goldberg noted how long Henry had been doing good work and raising awareness. "People now know that unless we help each other there will be no help at all," she said. "So thank you for bringing that point home."

Whoopi Goldberg made a surprise appearance. (BBC screengrab)
Whoopi Goldberg made a surprise appearance. (BBC screengrab)

The star’s sister Kay also joined him on The One Show, where she said: “He’s done so much.” “Forty years doing Red Nose Day,” she added, before her brother told her it was actually 39.

“And 50 years in show business or not far off, and he has just made us proud every step of the way.”

Read more: Lenny Henry

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