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Keith Lemon star Leigh Francis says he is "deeply sorry" for playing Black people on Bo' Selecta!

·3-min read
Photo credit: Keith Lemon - Instagram
Photo credit: Keith Lemon - Instagram

From Digital Spy

Keith Lemon star Leigh Francis has issued a heartfelt apology for playing Black people on his former sketch show Bo' Selecta!

The comedian posted a video on Thursday (June 4) to say he's been reflecting on the impact of his old Channel 4 series, as Black Lives Matter protests take place around the world following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Speaking on camera from his home, the 47-year-old appeared emotional as he said: "Hi, my name is Leigh Francis and I play a character called Keith Lemon on television.

"It's been a weird few days. I've sat and thought about things and what I could post to try and help things.

Photo credit: Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle - Getty Images
Photo credit: Neil Mockford/Alex Huckle - Getty Images

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"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. 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 who I am a big fan of.

"I guess we're all on a learning journey."

Photo credit: YouTube - Channel 4
Photo credit: YouTube - Channel 4

Related: 14 of the best films and documentaries to educate yourself on racism and Black oppression

Alongside the video, he wrote: "Following recent events, I've done a lot of talking and learning and I would like to put this out there.

"I want to apologise to anyone that was offended by Bo'selecta. I'm on a constant journey of knowledge and just wanted to say I'm deeply sorry. #blacklivesmatter"

Bo' Selecta! aired on Channel 4 and ran for three series between 2002 and 2004, spawning several spin-offs as well as a Top 10 Christmas single.

Francis would portray characters including Craig David, Michael Jackson and Mel B with caricature-style masks of their faces.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Related: Star Wars releases statement praising John Boyega as a hero for his Black Lives Matter speech

Speaking in 2016, Craig David said that he had made peace with the comedian's portrayal of him.

Talking to Q magazine, he explained: "To be honest, I didn't really care either way. He could have eased off, but had that character not happened, I might still be meandering along."

For more information on how you can support Black Lives Matter, please visit its official website or donate here. Readers can also donate to the UK anti-discrimination group Stand Up To Racism, and the Unite Families & Friends Campaign, which supports those affected by deaths in police, prison and psychiatric custody.

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