Melanie Sykes’ Complaints About Leigh Francis/Keith Lemon Allegedly Overlooked by ITV Executives
Television executives dismissed Melanie Sykes’ grievances regarding comedian Leigh Francis. This follows inappropriate remarks he reportedly made off-camera during ITV’s Through The Keyhole. Leigh Francis, better known for his audacious character Keith Lemon, allegedly made ’embarrassing jibes’ about Melanie Sykes. Moreover, these allegations emerge shortly after those claimed against Russell Brand. Melanie contends that her protests to the TV chiefs fell on deaf ears.
Specific Allegations by Melanie
Notably, Melanie insists that Leigh made crude sexual jokes about her for three hours to a live studio audience. One such remark included: “I bet your a*****e smells of flowers.” The presenter expressed that her worries received no response from the production executives at Talkback. This is the company created by comedians Mel Smith and Griff Rhys Jones.
She described her experience during a chat on the Frankly Speaking podcast, hosted by fashion PR Lynne Franks. Melanie recalled, “I went into the studio and I didn’t anticipate Keith would behave as he did on his other programme [Celebrity Juice], which is riddled with sexual innuendos and inappropriate comments.” She continued, “I sat through a three-hour recording where he directed those comments at me merely to amuse the live audience. He knew such content wouldn’t make the final cut of the show, so he exploited my presence for the crowd’s entertainment.”
In response to Melanie’s assertions, a representative from Talkback spoke to The Mirror. They said: “The well-being of those on our programmes remains paramount. We consistently aim to ensure our participants experience comfort and satisfaction during the filming process.”
Furthermore, they stated, “While Through the Keyhole hasn’t aired since 2019, we constantly assess and refine our company’s welfare procedures, with the overarching goal of comprehensive support for all involved.” The Mirror has, in addition, reached out to Leigh’s representatives for a statement.
Previous Allegations and Controversies
It’s worth noting that these claims follow close on the heels of remarks made by Katherine Ryan. She recently criticised Russell Brand and dubbed Francis an “obvious creep” during the TV Choice Awards in 2019. Ryan said Keith Lemon’s persona offers “evidence for perverts everywhere that an overt creep can be seen as endearing.”
Furthermore, she added, “Such an overt display is far less menacing than a concealed one.” Leigh had previously presented Celebrity Juice for 25 series until its discontinuation in 2022. Ofcom had previously scrutinised Celebrity Juice, determining that a promotional clip for the show overstepped boundaries. This was in 2013 and due to its inclusion of what they identified as a sex toy.