Leigh Francis

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Leigh Francis_table_infobox_0

Leigh FrancisLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_0_0
BornLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_1_0 (1973-04-30) 30 April 1973 (age 47)

Beeston, Leeds, EnglandLeigh Francis_cell_0_1_1

MediumLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_2_0 TelevisionLeigh Francis_cell_0_2_1
Years activeLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_3_0 1995–presentLeigh Francis_cell_0_3_1
GenresLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_4_0 Leigh Francis_cell_0_4_1
SpouseLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_5_0 Jill Carter ​(m. 2002)​Leigh Francis_cell_0_5_1
ChildrenLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_6_0 2Leigh Francis_cell_0_6_1
Notable works and rolesLeigh Francis_header_cell_0_7_0 Leigh Francis_cell_0_7_1

Leigh Francis (born 30 April 1973) is an English comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer. Leigh Francis_sentence_0

He is best known for creating Channel 4's Bo' Selecta! Leigh Francis_sentence_1

(2002–2006) and portraying Keith Lemon in several ITV and ITV2 shows including Celebrity Juice (2008–present), Keith Lemon's LemonAid (2012), Through the Keyhole (2013–present), and The Keith Lemon Sketch Show (2015–2016). Leigh Francis_sentence_2

Early life Leigh Francis_section_0

Francis was born in Beeston, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, on 30 April 1973, and was brought up on a council estate in Old Farnley, Leeds. Leigh Francis_sentence_3

His father died aged 47 of cancer. Leigh Francis_sentence_4

Francis attended Farnley Park High School (now The Farnley Academy). Leigh Francis_sentence_5

He later studied at Jacob Kramer College and received a qualification in graphic design. Leigh Francis_sentence_6

Before making his major television breakthrough, he was discovered and encouraged by television presenter Davina McCall, performing in-role stand-up comedy in a southern comedy club. Leigh Francis_sentence_7

McCall landed Francis his first television role on Dom and Kirk's Nite O' Plenty, where he portrayed Bobby Stark, a man who gives tips on how to win over the ladies. Leigh Francis_sentence_8

The series aired on Paramount Television from January to July 1996. Leigh Francis_sentence_9

Francis' second television role was as Barry Gibson, a music paparazzo, featured on the early series of Channel 4's Popworld. Leigh Francis_sentence_10

Francis also starred as various characters, including Gibson, Keith Lemon and Avid Merrion in the series Whatever I Want, which aired late night on ITV in 2000. Leigh Francis_sentence_11

Career Leigh Francis_section_1

In his early career, Francis did a series of shorts for Comedy Central (then known as Paramount Comedy) called Stars in Their Houses. Leigh Francis_sentence_12

Some of the shorts can be found on YouTube. Leigh Francis_sentence_13

His major television breakthrough occurred when Channel 4 offered him a £250,000 deal to produce a series based on his television characters, such as his previous roles as Bobby Stark and Barry Gibson, and in 2002, Bo' Selecta! Leigh Francis_sentence_14

was born. Leigh Francis_sentence_15

The series featured Francis portraying a series of celebrities by wearing face masks to impersonate them, as well as portraying the main, non-celebrity character, Avid Merrion. Leigh Francis_sentence_16

The programme lasted for five series, airing between 2002 and 2006, however, the last two series were only loosely based on the original three. Leigh Francis_sentence_17

Season 4 was subtitled A Bear's Tail, and was based on another of his characters, The Bear. Leigh Francis_sentence_18

Season 5 returned to Avid Merrion and was called Bo! Leigh Francis_sentence_19 in the USA. Leigh Francis_sentence_20

Following the axing of Bo' Selecta!, Francis took one of the series characters, Keith Lemon, and created a brand new show, Keith Lemon's Very Brilliant World Tour, which aired on ITV2 in April 2008. Leigh Francis_sentence_21

The show was a success, and subsequently, Francis created another new show featuring Lemon, Celebrity Juice, which has aired 23 series to date. Leigh Francis_sentence_22

Lemon also co-hosted Sing If You Can with Stacey Solomon, and, since 7 April 2012, he has hosted his new show Keith Lemon's LemonAid on ITV. Leigh Francis_sentence_23

In November 2011, it was revealed that Lemon would make his feature film debut in Keith Lemon: The Film, with production starting later that month. Leigh Francis_sentence_24

Since 31 August 2013, Francis has presented ITV panel show Through the Keyhole in character as Keith Lemon. Leigh Francis_sentence_25

Since 5 February 2015, he has appeared in the ITV2 comedy show The Keith Lemon Sketch Show. Leigh Francis_sentence_26

As of June 2019, Francis is also presenting his new show on ITV, Shopping With Keith Lemon. Leigh Francis_sentence_27

Francis had a cameo in Rocketman, the 2019 Elton John biopic, playing a shop worker named Pete. Leigh Francis_sentence_28

Personal life Leigh Francis_section_2

On 30 October 2002, at Allerton Castle, North Yorkshire, Francis married Jill Carter, a beauty therapist. Leigh Francis_sentence_29

In February 2009, their daughter, Matilda, was born. Leigh Francis_sentence_30

On 4 June 2020, Francis apologised on Instagram, as himself, for his portrayal of various black celebrities on Bo' Selecta!. Leigh Francis_sentence_31

In the video description he added "Following recent events, I’ve done a lot of talking and learning and I would like to put this out there. Leigh Francis_sentence_32

I want to apologise to anyone that was offended by Bo’selecta. Leigh Francis_sentence_33

I’m on a constant journey of knowledge and just wanted to say I’m deeply sorry. Leigh Francis_sentence_34

#blacklivesmatter" Leigh Francis_sentence_35

Characterisation Leigh Francis_section_3

In interviews, Francis usually adopts one of his celebrity guises, being interviewed as Avid Merrion during Bo' Selecta! Leigh Francis_sentence_36

's run between 2002 and 2006, and as Keith Lemon ever since. Leigh Francis_sentence_37

In an out-of-character interview with On: Yorkshire Magazine, Francis confirmed Avid Merrion's accent and dialects were inspired by his former tutor at Jacob Kramer College, Laimonis Mieriņš. Leigh Francis_sentence_38

He also pointed out Merrion is a misspelling of Mieriņš, and has nothing to do with the Merrion Centre in Leeds as some may have assumed. Leigh Francis_sentence_39

Francis has also been interviewed as himself for The Frank Skinner Show, Loose Women, Big Brother's Little Brother, The Museum of Curiosity and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross. Leigh Francis_sentence_40

Characters Leigh Francis_section_4

Further information: List of Bo' Selecta! Leigh Francis_sentence_41 characters Leigh Francis_sentence_42

Television Leigh Francis_section_5

As himself Leigh Francis_sentence_43

Leigh Francis_unordered_list_0

As Keith Lemon Leigh Francis_sentence_44

Leigh Francis_unordered_list_1

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh Francis.