Interviewer: Lenny, you are currently studying English literature with the Open University. Why English Literature? And why the Open University?
Lenny: All of the people I admire in showbiz are very, very smart. Quite a lot of them have been to university and benefited from it.  Doing my BA is really helping me to structure my thoughts. It’s helped me to understand that good work is not an accident. You know the best writers like Flaubert and George Eliot and people like that took a long time to plan their work and the Open University has shown me that if you take the time to plan your work and structure it properly, you can do well. It’s just helped me organise my thoughts a bit better and I think the challenge of producing an essay every month or so is good, it keeps me on my toes. 
Interviewer: Why do you think comedy is such a powerful fundraising tool?
Lenny: I think it’s powerful because if I’m going to communicate with an audience they remember something I said with a bit of a twinkle in the eye better than boring old facts. There is a lot of really heartbreaking and moving documentary stuff on the Comic Relief night and if we can make people laugh in between it softens the blow and cushions the effect of the harder stuff we show. 
Interviewer: This year is the tenth anniversary of Comic Relief, but there’s still a lot of poverty out there. Do you think it has made a real difference?
Lenny: I think it has made an immense difference. It’s empowered the public, given them the ideas and tools to raise money off their own back without anybody telling them what to do. I think it’s fantastic when I come to Africa and I see the grain banks, the new wells that have been built, the children being inoculated and terraced mountains that have been funded by Comic Relief. There are huge problems in Africa like HIV and Aids, but a drip of water can erode a rock and I think Comic Relief is becoming a strong and mighty drip. We’ve got to keep going until the rock dissolves and it will dissolve but it’s going to take a long time, so people have to stay committed. 
Interviewer: Work for Comic Relief has taken you to some pretty depressing places. How does seeing people coping with terrible poverty affect you personally?
Lenny: I’ve been in Addis Ababa. This time round I went to a place called Debre Zeit where I watched this wonderful care worker called Fanti visiting various people who were suffering from HIV. Even though these people were in immense pain, there was a lot of dignity involved.  And what’s wonderful is Comic Relief, by funding people like Fanti, are doing something to help.
Interviewer: You’ve received numerous accolades and awards during your career and you are a husband and father and a mammoth fundraiser. Do you have any ambitions left?
Lenny: I’d like to write something on my own that I feel was a good piece of work, and the only way I’m going to do that is if I have confidence and faith in my own ability.  I’ve always worked with other writers. There’s nothing wrong with collaborating but I’d love to write something on my own and know it was good before I gave it to someone else to read. I think the Open University is helping me to judge my work in a way that writing something and giving it to someone to read for me simply doesn’t.
I’m proud of the relationship we have with the animals. It’s not always easy here, and there are days when I get deeply upset because an animal is sick and nothing can be done to save it.  On the other hand, we’re doing some wonderful things in the way of conservation and we are linked up with satellites and with other institutions worldwide to keep track of certain species. The value of this work cannot be underestimated. We are protecting different species for future generations to enjoy .
I was always a very active person and I’ve always been surrounded by animals. As a child we would have several cats and dogs in the house. Now that I live in sheltered housing , my dog is good company for me. I’d be tempted not to leave the house at all some days, but he gives me a reason to get some fresh air and exercise. I think I’d put on a lot of weight if I didn’t have him. He keeps me young at heart too. On the whole, I prefer my own company  but you do chat to people a lot when you have a dog. They are good ice breakers.
I have immense respect for animals. Well, let’s face it, my life would be totally different without them. It’s not just about companionship, it’s mutual trust.  We couldn’t do without each other. What we could do without is people on the street coming up to us and causing a distraction . I can understand why it happens but people don’t stop to think. Basically, she’s doing a job and people forget that. [23, 28]
It’s surprising how common animal allergies are. I’ve been allergic to cats all my life. My eyes start to water and I have trouble breathing. I have a lot of patients with allergies of various kinds  and finding the cause of the allergic reaction can be quite tricky at times. I have one patient who is seriously allergic to her dog but she insists on keeping it. Now that to me doesn’t make any sense at all – no matter how attached they may be to the animal. 
I have great respect for all the animals that I work with. Some people may not approve of what I do or they may wonder how I can be so brave . Really that’s not what it’s all about. It’s to do with years of training and experience and knowing what you are doing. There’s no room for error in this job.  We used to have endangered species, but the climate has changed now and they are no longer part of the show.