Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill to star alongside Lenny Henry in BBC1’s Danny and The Human Zoo

The pair will be joined by Richard Wilson, Mark Benton and newcomer Kascion Franklin in the fictionalised account of Henry's childhood in 1970s Dudley

Doctor Who’s Arthur Darvill is set to appear in BBC1’s upcoming drama Danny and The Human Zoo alongside Richard Wilson, Mark Benton, Cecilia Noble and newcomer Kascion Franklin.


Lenny Henry will also star in the drama, which he wrote about his life as as a talented teenager in Dudley during the 1970s. 

Danny and The Human Zoo follows Danny as he negotiates his strict home life, his complicated love life and the ups and downs of his emerging career on the comedy circuit. The coming-of-age drama follows the teen as he wins a talent competition and get his big break on TV, only for everything to crumble around him. 

Darvill will play Danny’s manager Jonesy, while Wilson will take on the role of promoter James Broughton. Benton will star as entertainer Syd Bolton, Noble will play Danny’s mum Myrtle and Franklin will play Danny himself. 

Of his new drama, Henry, who is getting in front of the camera as Danny’s dad Samson, said: “I can’t believe that we’re finally shooting my screenplay Danny and The Human Zoo! This is a fantasy memoir of the first two years of my career; my beginnings, working on the Zoo, working men’s clubs and all that stuff that happened to me in the mid 70’s – but crammed into 90 minutes.

“The script took about three years with the help of Nicola Shindler and Caroline Hollick at RED Productions and now we’re going to make it in Dudley – led by a wonderful director Destiny Ekaragha – there’s an incredibly talented cast and I feel very lucky to be a part of it all.”


“Lenny’s script gives us his take on Britain in the 70’s, often shocking but always with wit and a big heart. It’s a beautiful script, with a great cast and we are proud to make it for BBC1,” added BBC’s head of independent drama Polly Hill.

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