Melanie Sykes claims she ‘cried all night’ after Keith Lemon humiliated her in front of a live audience – before being told she was the ‘first person to ever complain about him’ by production company boss
- Ms Sykes claims TV producers failed to act after she complained about the comic
Melanie Sykes claims she ‘cried all night’ after Keith Lemon humiliated her in front of a live audience while they filmed ITV’s Through The Keyhole – before allegedly being told by a company boss that she was the first person to ever complain about him.
She claims TV producers failed to act after she complained that comic Leigh Francis – best known as his alter ego Keith Lemon – made jokes about her.
Ms Sykes said Francis, 50, made explicit sexual gags about her for three hours, including: ‘I bet your a*****e smells of flowers.’
She said he ‘used’ her to entertain the audience.
The radio and television presenter also said the TV production company Talkback, founded by the comedy duo Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones, ignored her when she complained.
Speaking on fashion PR Lynne Franks’s podcast, Frankly Speaking, Ms Sykes, 53, said: ‘I went into the studio and I didn’t think Keith was going to be like he was on the other show he does [Celebrity Juice] where it’s all sex and blowjobs and talking about people’s a*******s.’
Melanie Sykes claims TV producers failed to act after she complained that comic Leigh Francis made humiliating jokes about her while they filmed ITV ‘s Through The Keyhole. Pictured L-R: Jonathan Ross, Melanie Skyes, Keith Lemon and Ashley Banjo
Ms Sykes said Francis, 50 – best known as his alter ego Keith Lemon – made explicit sexual gags about her
But she added, in the podcast which aired in 2019: ‘I sat there for a three-hour record and he did all that stuff to me verbally to entertain the live audience – because it was never going to make the edit of the show – so he used me to entertain the audience.
‘So for three hours I struggled through that. I got home that night and I cried all night and I rang my agent in the morning and told him about my experience and I said, “I don’t know what I’m going to do about it”.
‘So I rang the head of the production company, and said “can you make sure in the edit I don’t look out of my depth, angry or upset, because I don’t have a poker face, because it’s detrimental to me”.
‘And she agreed for me to see part of the edit and I would approve of it, and I said, “it was a terrible experience”. She said, “you’re the first person that has ever complained about him” and I said, “I don’t care” and this was before MeToo, so it wasn’t like I felt strongly because of it. I said “you and I know that there are loads of women who don’t say anything, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening”.
According to the Sun, Ms Sykes added: ‘So all of these things can hit the cutting room floor but my experience still lives and breathes, it still lives and breathes now.’
Comedian Katherine Ryan, who has accused Russell Brand of being a sex predator, labelled Francis an ‘obvious creep’ at the 2019 TV Choice Awards.
She told the audience that Lemon was ‘proof for perverts everywhere that an obvious creep is cute. It’s way less threatening than a stealth one’.
Francis hosted Celebrity Juice for 25 seasons before it was axed last year. It drew complaints and was the subject of an investigation by Ofcom, which ruled that a trailer for the show breached guidelines in 2013 by featuring what the watchdog said was a sex toy.
Talkback said looking after its TV guests was ‘a top priority’. Francis has been contacted for comment.
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