UKTV has commissioned Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy for its leading comedy channel Gold.

Sir Lenny Henry will take viewers on a personal journey with some of the people behind the sitcoms, sketches and stand-up comedy who have helped create and shape Britain’s culturally diverse comedic landscape.

Sir Lenny Henry said: “It is glorious to be presenting such a brilliant culturally significant programme. Respect is due to all pioneers who paved the way to a more inclusive world of comedy.”

Produced by Douglas Road Productions (part of Endemol Shine UK), Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy is a trilogy of programmes celebrating British TV comedy throughout the years, focusing on the iconic shows that have shone a light on Britain’s rich mix of multiculturalism. Unearthing gems from the past, Sir Lenny Henry paints a funny yet thought-provoking picture of British comedy history – from Rising Damp through to the likes of Desmond’s, Goodness Gracious Me, and Chewing Gum. Lenny will tackle the classic and the controversial while he meets the stars and celebrity fans of these iconic comedies.

Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy has been commissioned for Gold by Iain Coyle, head of comedy entertainment and ordered by UKTV’s director of commissioning Richard Watsham and Steve North, UKTV’s genre general manager for comedy and entertainment. Sir Lenny Henry and Angela Ferreira will executive produce for Douglas Road Productions. Carlton Dixon will series produce, he will also write the series alongside Sir Lenny Henry.

Iain Coyle said: “I’m proud to be involved in this project. It’s funny, entertaining and educating. There’s amazing insight and some brilliant clips. It’s an illustration of just how much has changed over the decades and how much more hasn’t.”

Gold channel director Gerald Casey, added: “Sir Lenny will take Gold viewers on a fascinating journey through the comedy archives, unearthing classics that influenced the evolution of British comedy and helped open up the genre to reflect modern society and culture.”

Angela Ferreira, managing director for Douglas Road Productions added: “We are delighted to be working in collaboration with UKTV to tell this really important part of British cultural history for the first time on television.”

Lenny Henry’s Race Through Comedy will air on Gold in the Autumn.