Multi-talented performer best known for creating Channel 4’s Bo’ Selecta! and portraying Keith Lemon, the host of Celebrity Juice and Through the Keyhole.
Leigh Francis studied at the Leeds College of Art 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.
Francis’ second television role was as Barry Gibson, a music paparazzo, featured on the early series of Channel 4’s Popworld.
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! was born.
The series featured Francis portraying a series of celebrities by wearing face masks to impersonate them (including Craig David and Mel B, amongst others), as well as portraying the main, non-celebrity character, Avid Merrion.
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.
The show was a success, and subsequently, Francis created another new show featuring Lemon, Celebrity Juice.
In November 2011, it was revealed that Lemon would make his feature film debut in Keith Lemon: The Film. The film co-stars Verne Troyer as his guardian angel, Archimedes, Kevin Bishop as his best friend, Dougie, Laura Aikman as Keith’s girlfriend Rosie and Kelly Brook as Herself. The film also features a selection of celebrity cameos, including appearances by David Hasselhoff, Ronan Keating, Gary Barlow, Peter Andre, Fearne Cotton, Emma Bunton and Jedward, amongst others.
Since 31 August 2013, Leigh Francis has presented ITV panel show Through the Keyhole in character as Keith Lemon. Since 5 February 2015, he has appeared in ITV2 comedy show The Keith Lemon Sketch Show.