Lenny Rush Children in Need

Lenny Rush is Children in Need’s first child presenter: What’s he famous for, and what condition affects his growth?

He stole the show in Daisy May Cooper comedy Am I Being Unreasonable?

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Lenny Rush has become the first ever child presenter on Children in Need, and it’s the icing on the cake of an already impressive career.

The young actor has already made quite the mark in TV and film, and even managed to outshine his very famous co-stars in the BBC comedy Am I Being Unreasonable?

So what is he most famous for, how old is he, and what is the condition that affects his growth? Here’s everything you need to know about the brilliant Lenny Rush.

Lenny Rush and his Children in Need co-presenters in 2023
Lenny Rush and his Children in Need co-presenters – Jason Manford, Ade Adepitan, Alex Scott, Chris Ramsey, and Mel Giedroyc (Credit: BBC One)

Actor Lenny Rush becomes first child presenter of Children in Need

Child star Lenny Rush has become the first ever child to present Children in Need, and it’s about time too! The charity telethon has been on air since 1980, and was first hosted by TV legend Terry Wogan.

But, after more than four decades, a teenager is co-presenting the event. He joins regular faces Ade Adepitan, Mel Giedroyc, Chris Ramsey, Alex Scott, and Jason Manford.

The night’s appeal comes live from Media City UK and includes exclusive sketches and performances from some of TV and music’s most popular celebrities. Expect special one-off sketches from some of the UK’s most-loved TV shows, including a very special parody of Race Across the World with the town of Pudsey the ultimate destination. There’s also a treat from the Doctor Who team, a puppet takeover of the MasterChef kitchen.

Jerub, Leigh-Anne, and the UK’s Junior Eurovision act STAND UNIQU3 all perform. As does the cast of new Stock Aitken Waterman musical I Should Be So Lucky (with a guest duo singing Especially for You). And, even better, it’s all for an amazing cause. TV with a conscience!

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Lenny said he was nervous to be presenting this year’s live show but “I think the excitement outweighs the nervousness”.

He added: “If I’d said no, and then I watched it that night, I would be gutted I wasn’t there.”

How old is Lenny Rush?

Lenny Rush was born on March 18 2009. He is currently 14 years of age!

The teenager is from Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex.

Lenny Rush in Dodger on BBC One
Lenny Rush played Crossing Sweeper in Dodger alongside a cast including Christopher Eccleston (Credit: NBC Universal International Studios)

What is Lenny Rush famous for?

Lenny Rush stole the show in Daisy May Cooper’s series Am I Being Unreasonable? It was one of our favourite comedies of 2022, and Lenny was perfectly cast as Daisy’s long-suffering onscreen son Ollie. To say he was more mature than his mum is to state the bleeding obvious.

Am I Being Unreasonable? tells the story of Nic, who’s grieving a loss she can’t share with anyone. Stuck in a depressing marriage, one thing keeps her going – her son, Ollie. While this is arguable Lenny’s most famous role, he’s actually been on our screens since 2018.

Lenny Rush first appeared on camera on the CBeebies docu-soap Our Family. He began acting at the Pauline Quirke Academy in Essex. His first acting role was playing school boy in the film Old Boys. That same year, he portrayed Eli in the kids TV series Apple Tree House. In 2019, he starred as Tiny Tim Cratchit in Steven Knight’s gothic adaptation of Charles Dickens’ iconic ghost story A Christmas Carol.

Lenny Rush career

He played Tiny Tim again in the TV movie Old Vic in Camera: A Christmas Carol, starring Andrew Lincoln as Ebenezer Scrooge. Between 2020 and 2021, Lenny played Murphy in the spin-off of the British hit TV series The Story of Tracy Beaker.

Audiences fell in love with his performance as Ollie in Am I Being Unreasonable? He then went on to play Crossing Sweeper in the BBC Oliver Twist series called Dodger.

More recently, in 2023 he portrayed George in the heartbreaking Sharon Horgan drama Best Interests, and Lukas Calder in the 18-rated horror film The Queen Mary. Not a bad CV for a boy who is only 14!

Unsurprisingly, Lenny Rush won the Breakthrough Award, and Comedy Performance (Male) Award, for Am I Being Unreasonable? at the Royal Television Society Programme Awards in March 2023.

Lenny Rush as Morris in Doctor Who
Lenny Rush as Morris in the upcoming series of Doctor Who (Credit: BBC STUDIOS 2023/Alistair Heap)

Is Lenny Rush in Doctor Who?

In June 2023, it was announced that Lenny Rush would portray Morris in the upcoming series of Doctor Who.

Lenny is set to join the 14th season of the re-booted series as a mysterious figure called Morris. He’ll star alongside Ncuti Gatwa, who will take the mantle from David Tennant as the new Timelord, and Millie Gibson as Ruby Sunday.

Indira Varma also stars as a new character known only as the Duchess, while Jonathan Groff joins in “a mysterious and exciting guest role”, according to the BBC.

Lenny has said of his new role: “It’s an absolute honour to be part of Doctor Who, one of the most iconic shows on television and wow what a dream come true!”

What is Lenny Rush’s condition that affects his growth?

Lenny Rush has a condition called Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia congenita (SEDc), which affects bone growth while causing aches and pains. The condition affects his height, resulting in a rare form of dwarfism. He is reportedly 3 feet 3 inches in height.

Appearing on GMB in 2019, the actor insisted that “anybody can play a role” regardless of whether they have a disability or not. He has said that he’s “very proud” of what he’s accomplished, and explained that disability should not be a factor when considering somebody for a part.

He feels that all actors should have “the same opportunities” before revealing he’d love to eventually play a “crime boss”.

Spondyloepiphyseal dysplasia congenita is an inherited bone growth disorder that results in short stature (dwarfism), skeletal abnormalities, and problems with vision and hearing.

Lenny discovered he was in the running for a BAFTA when he was in hospital recovering from spinal surgery. When Lenny Rush was growing up, the only actor he saw with his condition was Warwick Davis.

He now says he’d like to inspire others. Lenny says: “Dwarfism covers a large scale and he has got the exact same type as me. There weren’t too many people out there; there is Warwick, and I remember Verne Troyer, and there’s Peter Dinklage, but they are the only actors I know, which is a shame. There should be more.” He added: “I think it is good for parents to see me, to know that you’ll make it out at the end and it will be the best life ever.”

Read more: Matt Baker shares upset as Rickshaw Challenge for Children In Need cancelled as his wife shares ‘pride’ for TV star

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Children in Need starts at 7pm on Friday, November 17, 2023 on BBC One.

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Helen Fear
TV Editor