Manchester’s Lemn Sissay will feature on Imagine… BBC Arts’ flagship documentary strand for BBC One later this year.

Sissay will feature along with Sir Lenny Henry In two new documentaries for winter 2019.

Alan Yentob, presenter and series editor says: “Lenny Henry and Lemn Sissay are two exceptional and original talents. They are also great story tellers. Here are two tales of the unexpected. Their recently published memoirs have received great acclaim and in imagine… they speak with remarkable candour in two truly revealing and inspiring encounters.”

Tanya Hudson, BBC Studios Executive Producer, says: “imagine… celebrates and explores the best in arts and culture both in the UK and internationally. As Lenny Henry’s first autobiography and Lemn Sissay’s memoir is published these revealing documentary portraits shine a new light on two of the best-loved and remarkable cultural figures of our generation.”

Lemn Sissay’s writings are a source of inspiration to huge numbers of people the world over – from the landmark poems writ large on the walls and buildings of Manchester and beyond, to the contemplative dawn verses, published each morning on social media, his words bring solace and light to readers across the globe.

As his new memoir My Name Is Why is published, chronicling his troubled early years in the care system, he tells Alan Yentob what it was like to grow up as the only black child in a sleepy market town outside Wigan in the 1970s, and how it felt when he was rejected at the tender age of twelve by those he had loved and left to fend for himself. His journey since has been one of discovery, learning not just that his name was Lemn, but that his parents were Ethiopian, a country he now visits regularly.

Featuring contributions from some of the great names Lemn has shared the stage with over the past few decades, as well as his close network of friends and supporters from his years in care, this is the story of the boy whose name meant Why.


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