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​Leigh Francis Apologises For ‘Offensive’ Bo! Selecta Sketches In Wake Of #BlackLivesMatter Movement

​Leigh Francis Apologises For ‘Offensive’ Bo! Selecta Sketches In Wake Of #BlackLivesMatter Movement

Leigh Francis, who is known for his on-screen alter-ego Keith Lemon, has apologised for Bo! Selecta, saying he never realised until now how 'offensive' it was.

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The sketch show, which was written and performed by Francis, ran for five series on Channel 4 between 2002 and 2009.

The premise of the programme saw Francis don latex masks to portray caricatures of various British and American celebrities, including the likes of Craig David, Michael Jackson, Mel B and Trisha Goddard.

Leigh Francis as Craig David in Bo' Selecta. Credit: Channel 4
Leigh Francis as Craig David in Bo' Selecta. Credit: Channel 4

In the wake of George Floyd's killing and the #BlackLivesMatter movement that has resulted, Francis has said he's been on a 'learning journey' and plans to continue to educate himself about race.

In the caption of his emotional Instagram video Francis wrote: "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. #blacklivesmatter."

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He continued in the video: "My name's Leigh Francis, I play a character called Keith Lemon on television.

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"It's been a weird few days, I've sat and thought about things and what I could post to try and help things.

"Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo' Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn't think anything about it, people didn't say anything - I'm not going to blame other people.

"Been talking to some people, I didn't realise how offensive it was back then.

"I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I'm a big fan of. I guess we're all on a learning journey."

This Morning doctor Zoe Williams commented: "Huge respect Leigh. You've set an incredible example there for so many who I'm sure will follow your lead and reflect on their past and present ideas, thoughts and behaviours.

"None of us are perfect, but honest reflection and self criticism is major progress. It's hard, but it's important."

Kelle Bryan, who plays Martine in Hollyoaks, added: "It's a conversation Leigh. Thanks for having the courage to start it."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Black Lives Matter, Entertainment, Celebrity, Keith Lemon

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]