We’ve come to know both Lenny Henry and Dawn French separately over the years in their most popular roles as Chef Gareth Blackstock (Chef!) and Geraldine Granger (Vicar of Dibley). Millions of British comedy fans across the globe have laughed and cried with both their characters over the years which is an incredible achievement for an actor to have that profound of an effect on their audience.
I can’t count the number of people during this time who would mention how much they loved the Vicar or Chef and were amazed when I would say, you know, they are married in real life. Viewers who only knew them from their television characters would say they could only imagine what that household was like. This was generally a surprise to most as both were adamant about keeping their public and private lives separate.
While the marriage of 25 years has now officially ended, both Lenny and Dawn remain good friends and vowed to be good parents to their adopted daughter, Billie. I never really wanted to write about this when it happened as I was trying to stay away from all the tabloid stories floating around. But, it seems to me that both have grown immensely over the course of the last year and, for lack of a better phrase, “found” themselves. Somehow, both seem re-energized. Dawn’s new found peace and energy has, most recently, appeared in the form of a new BBC series with Alfred Molina called Roger and Val Have Just Got In and her first novel, A Tiny Bit Marvellous. There is also an upcoming “reunion” of sorts with long-time professional partner, Jennifer Saunders, in a series of BBC Radio programs airing this holiday season.
For Lenny, he took to the stage in a critically acclaimed performance in Othello and is preparing for UK Tour of Cradle to Rave, a musical tribute to songs that have had a significant impact on his life. Music has always been a part of Lenny’s life. For the first time that I can remember, Lenny Henry talks with The Telegraph about his early home life and early career giving some amazing insight into the individual that, even though we all feel like we know through Chef and The Lenny Henry Show, we don’t really know at all.
Both incredible talents. I wish them both the best and look forward to seeing not only old episodes of Chef and Vicar, but what’s next for both. I can guess it’s going to be pretty great.