Lorraine Kelly slams 'cruel' and 'distasteful' portrayal of her in 'Bo' Selecta!'

·Contributor
·3 min read
Lorraine Kelly said it was 'distasteful'. (ITV)
Lorraine Kelly said it was 'distasteful'. (ITV)

Lorraine Kelly has said the impersonation of her on noughties show Bo' Selecta! was 'cruel' and that she should have complained about it.

The sketch show aired from 2002 to 2009 and saw comedian and actor Leigh Francis — who is best known for the character Keith Lemon — lampoon various celebs, sometimes using latex facemasks for his caricatures.

In 2020, he apologised for playing black characters, saying on Instagram that he had not realised how “offensive” it was and that he had been doing “a lot of talking and learning” following the death of George Floyd.

Read more: Lorraine pays tribute to Deborah James after announcing she is in hospice care

When it came to mocking talk show host Kelly, her Bo' Selecta! character would ask: “Can you see my growler?”

Lorraine Kelly's Bo' Selecta! character (YouTube)
Lorraine Kelly's Bo' Selecta! character (YouTube)

Addressing it on the Be Honest podcast, Kelly, 62, said she thought it was “horrible”.

She said nowadays she would complain, as we are living in “different times”.

But the TV star said she was more upset about the portrayal of singer Craig David, as she is a huge fan.

Leigh Francis and Craig Phillips launching Bo Selecta single
Leigh Francis and Craig Phillips launching Bo Selecta single "Proper Crimbo", 2003. (Getty Images)

“He’s like the son I never had, I absolutely adore him,” she said.

“He’s the kindest, loveliest man.

“And that absolutely derailed his career, there’s no question. Of course he’s a brilliant artist and got over it but for a few years, that did badly affect him and his career.”

“With me, I just found it was really distasteful, it was really horrible,” Kelly said.

“I should have complained at the time, and I certainly would complain now, I think any woman would, I mean it’s different times.”

“The portrayal of everybody was actually very cruel on that show,” she added.

Comedian Avid Merrion, star of Channel 4's Bo Selecta, impersonates Michael Jackson during the 2003 NatWest EMMA (Ethnic Multicultural Media Academy) Awards, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, central London.   (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Leigh Francis, star of Channel 4's Bo Selecta, impersonates Michael Jackson in 2003. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Kelly said it was a different time when the show aired but that “that doesn’t really excuse it”.

Two years ago, Francis said he was sorry for playing black characters and the comedy series was removed from Channel 4’s streaming service All 4.

Watch: John Barnes defends Bo Selecta

Francis said on Instagram: “Back in 2002, I did a show called Bo' Selecta! and 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.

Read more: Lorraine Kelly says Prince Harry should come to the Queen's jubilee

“I've been talking to some people and I didn't realise how offensive it was back then and I just want to apologise.

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

Watch: Lorraine Kelly rides horse for the first time since accident

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