Melanie Sykes Keith Lemon complaints ignored by TV bosses

Keith Lemon apologises for 'offensive' portrayals on Bo’ Selecta

Comedian Leigh Francis has been accused of making “humiliating jokes” at Melanie Sykes ‘ expense while shooting ITV’s Through The Keyhole in a resurfaced interview, with her claiming her concerns were ignored by show bosses.

In the 2021 chat, Melanie claimed that Leigh, in his Keith Lemon guise, made explicit gags about her for three hours in front of a live audience in 2018 during a recording of the show including saying: “I bet your a*****e smells of flowers.”

“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,” she told fashion PR Lynne Franks’ on her podcast, Frankly Speaking.

“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’.”

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Melanie claims that when she said it was a “terrible experience” she was told “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,” she confessed.

 “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’.

“So all of these things can hit the cutting room floor but my experience still lives and breathes, it still lives and breathes now,” she said.

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When contacted by a Talkback TV spokesperson said: “Looking after those who appear on our shows is a top priority and we always strive to ensure our guests feel comfortable and happy during filming.  

“Whilst Through the Keyhole hasn’t been on air since 2019, we continually review and  evolve our company welfare processes with the aim for everyone to feel supported.” has also contacted representatives for Leigh Francis for comment.

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