No Selecta! | Leigh Francis shelves plans to bring back his sketch show

No Selecta!

Leigh Francis shelves plans to bring back his sketch show

Leigh Francis has  shelved plans to revive Bo Selecta! - saying that character comedy had fallen out of fashion.

The comedian, best known for his Keith Lemon alter-ego had been working on reboot of the  programme 13 years after it was last on air.

But in an Instagram Q&A to promote his new tour he was asked about the show's return and said: 'The nearest you're going to get to that is if you're going to this tour. So if you are pining for a bit of rubber mask tomfoolery, here it is, in tour format.'

The show originally aired on Channel 4 between 2002 and 2006 followed by a two-part Michael Jackson special in 2009 - but has long been controversial for Francis's use of 'blackface' to impersonate the likes of Craig David and  Trisha Goddard.

In 2020, in the wake of  George Floyd’s killing in Minnesota,he offered a teary apology saying he was 'deeply sorry for any upset' he caused, adding: 'I didn't realise how offensive it was back then.'

Francis has also hinted that the days were numbered for Keith Lemon, his character who was a staple of ITV2 and later ITV - including 26 series of Celebrity Juice, which was axed in 2022. 

He said: 'Keith Lemon is, well, I'll never kill any characters off. I don't ever kill any characters off. Apart from if it's one that someone is really upset by. Then you don't do it anymore, because you only dick about to put smiles on people's faces.'

Reflecting on the wider state of comedy, he said: 'I don't think character comedy's in fashion at the minute if I'm honest.

'It's like sketch shows become fashionable, and panel shows - genres of comedy become fashionable.

'And at the moment I just don't think that character comedy is fashionable. I might be totally wrong. There'll probably be some amazing comedian come through playing some character and we'll all think it's ace.'

As well as the tour, Francis has also written his memoirs, due out in September.

» Leigh ​Francis tour dates.

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Published: 2 Mar 2024

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