|Born||(1973-04-30) 30 April 1973 (age 47)|
|Spouse||Jill Carter (m. 2002)|
|Notable works and roles|
Leigh Francis (born 30 April 1973) is an English comedian, actor, writer, director, and producer.
(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).
His father died aged 47 of cancer.
Francis attended Farnley Park High School (now The Farnley Academy).
He later studied at Jacob Kramer College and received a qualification in graphic design.
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.
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.
The series aired on Paramount Television from January to July 1996.
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.
In his early career, Francis did a series of shorts for Comedy Central (then known as Paramount Comedy) called Stars in Their Houses.
Some of the shorts can be found on YouTube.
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!
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.
The programme lasted for five series, airing between 2002 and 2006, however, the last two series were only loosely based on the original three.
Season 5 returned to Avid Merrion and was called Bo! . in the USA
The show was a success, and subsequently, Francis created another new show featuring Lemon, Celebrity Juice, which has aired 23 series to date.
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.
As of June 2019, Francis is also presenting his new show on ITV, Shopping With Keith Lemon.
In February 2009, their daughter, Matilda, was born.
On 4 June 2020, Francis apologised on Instagram, as himself, for his portrayal of various black celebrities on Bo' Selecta!.
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.
I want to apologise to anyone that was offended by Bo’selecta.
I’m on a constant journey of knowledge and just wanted to say I’m deeply sorry.
In interviews, Francis usually adopts one of his celebrity guises, being interviewed as Avid Merrion during Bo' Selecta!
's run between 2002 and 2006, and as Keith Lemon ever since.
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.
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.
Further information: List of Bo' Selecta! characters
As Keith Lemon
- Whatever I Want (2000)
- Celebrity Juice (2008—)
- Sing If You Can (2011)
- Keith Lemon's LemonAid (2012)
- Alan Carr: Chatty Man (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015)
- Take Me Out: Celebrity Special (2012)
- Lemon La Vida Loca (2012–2013)
- Through the Keyhole (2013—2019)
- The Keith Lemon Sketch Show (2015–2016)
- Up Late with Rylan (2016)
- The Keith & Paddy Picture Show (2017–2018)
- Keith Lemon: Coming in America (2018)
- Shopping with Keith Lemon (2019—)
Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leigh Francis.