Lenny Henry has said being offered a knighthood was ‘a lovely feeling’ and ‘like being filled with lemonade’.
The comic told BBC Radio 2′s Chris Evans that the honour, expected to be officially confirmed on Friday, was ‘wonderful’.
He said: “It was lovely, it was a lovely feeling, it was like being filled with lemonade for 10 or 15 minutes, but as people found out and started to ring it was a bit overwhelming.”
Lenny Henry goes postal (Guy Levy/Royal Mail)
Lenny, a mainstay of Comic Relief for years, said his late mother would have been ‘chuffed’ with the honour and told Chris he regarded it as recognition for everyone who had worked on the charity.
The funnyman, who grew up in Dudley in the West Midlands, started out working on the controversial Black And White Minstrel Show before getting his big break doing impressions on talent show New Faces.
His career as a stand-up comic led to him joining children’s TV show Tiswas alongside Chris Tarrant, and its late-night adult sister show OTT before he went on to work on BBC1′s Three Of A Kind.
He also fronted his own series, appeared in films and starred in the successful sitcom Chef! before receiving critical acclaim for his stage performances, including Othello and The Comedy Of Errors, at the National Theatre – and he currently stars in the third series of BBC One drama, The Syndicate.
Lenny, who separated from his wife Dawn French in 2010 after 25 years of marriage, hit the headlines last year when he called for ring-fenced funding to promote ethnically-diverse talent in the media.