Craig David and Mel B were among the other celebrities caricatured by Leigh Francis in his show
Presenter Kelly, speaking on the Be Honest podcast this week with Jojo Sutherland and Bruce Devlin, has now admitted: “I should have complained.”
Francis’s impersonation of the morning breakfast star asked “can you see ma growler?” as the comedian parted the character’s puppet legs.
In Bo’ Selecta, Francis would wear a rubber mask with an exaggerated chin, caricaturing each celebrity and aspects of their personality.
While Kelly said she found that portrayal of her to be “horrible” at the time when Bo’ Selecta was airing, the broadcaster said that she was more concerned about the impersonation of her singer-songwriter friend Craig David.
“I was very very upset at the portrayal of Craig David because I adore him. He’s like the son I never had, I absolutely adore him,” she said. “For a few years, that did badly affect him and his career.”
“With me, I just found it really distasteful. I should have complained at the time, and I certainly would complain now, I think any woman would, it’s different times,” she added.
“But the portrayal of everybody was actually very cruel on that show. It was a different time and that doesn’t really excuse it.”
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In June 2020, Francis posted a tearful message to Instagram apologising for offensively caricaturing Black stars, after the murder of George Floyd and the subsequent Black Lives Matter Movement encouraged him to reflect on his past.
“Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta and portrayed many Black people. I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything – I’m not going to blame it on other people,” Francis told his followers.
“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 just want to say sorry for any upset I caused, whether it was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard – all people that I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey,” he said.