Lenny Henry on Three Little Birds: "It’s not my magnum opus, it’s theirs"
"Our forefathers came here and walked the streets when it was really cold... So I think it's a testament to those people."
Lenny Henry has written the brand new ITV drama Three Little Birds, which tells the story of three women who travel from Jamaica to England in the late 1950s, in search of a new life.
The series is based in part on stories Henry's mother and aunt told him of their own experiences, and so is deeply personal, which the comedian and actor talked about at a Q&A for the show, attended by RadioTimes.com and other press.
When it was put to Henry that this feels like his "magnum opus", he said: "It's been the most extraordinary thing talking and creating and working on this project.
"There's a lot of me in it, there's a lot of research gone into it, there's a lot of my family gone into it. [Executive producer] Angela Ferreira gave us her parents for very long periods of time.
"We talked to lots of people about this story, and it turns out that there are many people with similar experiences, and we tried to put everybody's experience into this, read through a lot of research.
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"I wanted it to be something that could resonate not just with us, but with everybody."
He continued: "When David Olusoga talks about our history - the sense that these stories are ours, and we should share them and rejoice in them, actually.
"This idea of this multicultural life that we have in this country, this is stuff that belongs to us. This is history that belongs to us, and we should claim it year round, not just one month a year. So that's what this is about.
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"And I love that [directors] Charles [McDougall] and Yero [Timi-Biu] and Darcia [Martin] have done such a beautiful job of bringing it to the screen. I love that we had a diverse and inclusive cast and crew.
"And I love that it gives people feelings. If something like this gives you a feeling? Good. If it makes you smile? Good. If it makes you laugh? Good. If it makes you cry? Good.
"Our forefathers came here and walked the streets when it was really cold. My dad wore his pyjamas under his suit for years, he never took them off. So I think it's a testament to those people. So it's not my magnum opus, it's theirs."
The series stars Rochelle Neil, Saffron Coomber and Yazmin Belo as the three central characters, Leah, Chantrelle and Hosanna, while Javone Prince plays Leah and Chantrelle's brother, Aston.
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