Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay is the One and Only

Lemn Sissay is the One and Only

A BBC Radio 4 Series


Award-winning writer Lemn Sissay explores the idea of uniqueness across different aspects of his life

'Creative, surprising - and unique' The Telegraph

If you Google 'Lemn Sissay', all the results will be about him - he's the only person in the world with that name. But that's not the only thing that makes him unique. In this fascinating series, he mixes stand-up, poetry and interviews to explore four more situations in his life where he stood out, alone, and examines how that uniqueness made him feel.

'The Only Poet on the Bill' finds Lemn considering his formative years on the 1980s comedy circuit, and chatting to fellow poet Tony Walsh about performing his poem 'This is the Place' at the vigil for the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. In 'The Only Non-Graduate at the Graduation', he reflects on being appointed Chancellor at Manchester University, and giving out degrees despite not having one himself. He also speaks to the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Donna Ludford, about how she felt becoming a councillor without having attended university.

'The Only Black Man in the Village' sees Lemn drawing on his experience of growing up in an all-white town, and talking to Oscar-nominated writer/director Cornelius Walker about his documentary Black Sheep. And in 'The Only Foster Child in the House', he discusses his adolescence in children's homes and his lifetime of advocacy for young people raised in the care system, as well as speaking to campaigner and care leaver champion Terry Galloway. In each episode, Lemn is joined by Henry Normal, who interrupts at will to ask questions about the show.

Comprising Lemn's signature blend of artistic yet extraordinarily honest comedy, this absorbing series explores issues of race, class, education and lack of empowerment, asking thought-provoking questions about how we define ourselves, and why it matters.

Cast and credits
Written and performed by Lemn Sissay
With Tony Walsh, Donna Ludford, Cornelius Walker, Terry Galloway
Commentary: Henry Normal
Recorded by Jerry Peal
Sound mixing by Rich Evans
Produced by Ed Morrish
A Lead Mojo production for BBC Radio 4

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 3-24 March 2023

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