Keith Lemon in Lemon La Vida Loca

Comedian Leigh Francis talks to TV Choice in the persona of his famous alter ego, Keith Lemon. Well known for hosting Celebrity Juice, Keith is soon to release a debut feature film, and he’s also starring in his own four-part reality show called Lemon La Vida Loca

How did Lemon La Vida Loca come about?
I had the idea for the programme a couple of years ago, but I think the commissioners at ITV were too busy with Katie and Peter, so they weren’t too sure. I’m glad I waited, though, because I’ve got more going on now. I’ve got a girlfriend and stuff now. The past two years have been crazy, so there’s been more to film.

Lemon La Vida LocaYou’re girlfriend is called Rosie Parker. How did you meet?
I’ve known her years. I knew her when I was living in Leeds. She’s a bit younger than me, but I knew she was going to grow up to be tidy, just like Natalie Portman in Leon. Now, look at her. She’s fit!

In the reality show, do we see you on the set of your debut movie?
Yes, the film is a rags to riches story. It’s very moralistic, and it’s hopefully teaching people that it’s about keeping it real, and realising what’s important — like loved ones, and close friends, not superficial ones.

Rosie is in the film. But she didn’t want to do it at first because she’s not an actress, but I said, ‘You’re not really acting. You’ve just got to remember lines and say it in your own voice.’ Then she was all panicky about getting famous because everyone from Leeds has an issue with anyone from Emmerdale. You know, when the cast of Emmerdale walk into a boozer in Leeds, everyone goes, ‘I bet they think they’re something'.

Lemon La Vida LocaIn the trailer for the film, you’re in bed with Kelly Brook. How did Rosie react to that?
That was an issue too. I said, ‘It’s all in the script.’ And she said, ‘But you wrote i!.’ But it’s only acting. I’ve never done a screen kiss before, and when you kiss someone — when acting — it’s just like you’re talking to their mouth really closely. It doesn’t feel like a kiss. But because Kelly has such a sexual presence, in my mind I had to totally not think of her in that way, otherwise I was going to get ‘Happy Pants’. And that would be embarrassing. Yes, she’s got big bangers and now and again you glance at them, but you’ve just got to keep looking into her eyes.

Now you’ve made a movie, will Hollywood be your next stop?
I’m not rushing to Hollywood, because I’ve been over there for meetings, and a lot of them can’t understand what I’m saying.

How do you feel about taking on other roles? Would Keith Lemon like to star as Spider-Man, for instance?
Yeah [laughs]. I met Andrew Garfield at the Spider-Man premier. He’s a nice fella. He said he was a fan.

Tell us about your unusual catchphrase, ‘potato’?
I wish I’d never said ‘potato’ to be honest. Saying that, I can’t remember the last time I said it — apart from just saying it to you then. I don’t say it in the film. But when we’re doing Celebrity Juice and I don’t say it, I get loads of Tweets going, ‘You need to say potato’. But I haven’t got Tourettes. I don’t say ‘potato’ if it’s not relevant. You know what I mean?

If you had to choose between Holly Willoughby and Fearne Cotton would you prefer to go on a date with Fearne?
It’s difficult. Holly’s married, so that would be a bit naughty. However, Fearne’s hooked up with Jesse — but they’re not married — so yeah, Fearne.

ITV2, Thursday

David Collins