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DVD Review

DVD cover

The Keith Lemon Sketch Show


Starring: Leigh Francis
Distributor: FremantleMedia International
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: 15
Release Date: 15 June 2015

This is the DVD of me very own sketch show. It’s not out on Blu-ray or LaserDisc, but it’s still ace! I don’t wanna blow me own trumpet, but I play loads of different characters in it – 49 to be pacific – including the Urban Fox, Holly Willoughby, Kim Kardashian and loads of others! On top of that, lots of ace people have got cameos in it: Jonathan Ross, Phillip Schofield, Verne Troyer, Emma Bunton, Carrie Fisher, and an unseen scene with the real Arnold Schwarzenegger – amazing! Even me mum’s in it, as well as loads more extra sketches that we couldn’t fit into t’series, like that unseen scene with Arnie that I’ve just told you about! Can’t believe Arnie’s in me DVD! There’s also some brilliant cock-ups or outtakes or, as Americans call it, the gag reel. It’s a right bargain or, as David Dickinson might say, “prawn cracker”. All t’best…

I didn’t expect all that much from this series when I first sat down to watch it on ITV2. Really I’d have preferred a new series of Bo’ Selecta!, but that doesn’t seem to be on the cards. However, I found plenty to enjoy in these six episodes…

There are two main themes that run throughout Leigh Francis’s work – celebrities and the 1980s – and this remains true of The Keith Lemon Sketch Show.

The celebrities include lots of familiar faces from Celebrity Juice, including a spoof Holly Willoughby in a series of sketches about This Morning, the real Fearne Cotton in a series of sketches about One Direction, a spoof Jedward 35 years in the future, and the real Verne Troyer in the Batman spoof Minty Cat and Diablo. When it comes to Phillip Schofield, we get both a spoof version and the real thing. The man himself appears in a sketch in which he confronts an internet troll, while the diminutive Hank Osasuna portrays him in the This Morning skits. Osasuna’s performance is remarkable. His build is completely different from that of Schofield, but somehow his shouted delivery – “And I’m Phillip Schofield!” – seems just right! On the other hand, I’ve never seen Keeping Up with the Kardashians or Big Fat Gypsy Weddings, so the mash-up The Big Fat Gypsy Kardashians was rather wasted on me.

Francis’s love of the 1980s is evidenced by sketches such as Prince Adam and Skeletor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe appearing on Come Dine With Me – a hilarious highlight of the series. In Keith and Paddy’s Film Bit, Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness try – and invariably fail – to re-enact famous scenes from Hollywood movies, including When Harry Met Sally, Rain Man and The Empire Strikes Back. The film bit also covers other decades (Superman from the 1970s, and Jurassic Park and Basic Instinct from the 1990s) but is always prefaced by a 1980s theme tune (that of Back to the Future, the Indiana Jones series and E.T. on two episodes apiece).

Perhaps best of all is when the two – celebrities and the 1980s – come together, such as when Sloth from The Goonies – “Hey, you guys!” – appears on Loose Ladies, a spoof of Loose Women. Both Jabba the Hut and his advisor Bib Fortuna from Return of the Jedi appear in skits of present-day reality shows – Secret Eaters and The Non-Dateables Intergalactic Special respectively – and on both occasions Princess Leia (played by the actual Carrie Fisher) gives her opinion.

The elderly Jedward, an Irish Kim Karshashian, Prince Adam, Skeletor, Sloth, Jabba the Hut, a Scouse Bib Fortuna… these are all played by Leigh Francis, whose versatility as a comic performer is often overshadowed by the predominance of his Keith Lemon character. In this series his other notable characterisations include annoying kids’ television presenter Dickie Doodles, American plastic surgeon Dr Tony, the very unladylike Miley Cyrus, and the centaur Dr Crispian, host of Oh No! There’s Something Wrong With My Body – I Must Go on Television and Talk About It.

Francis is ably supported by comedy actors such as Tom Davis, Emily Atack, John Thomson – who adds real value to the Hairy Lairy Bikers and Billy & Miley’s European Vacation sketches – and the voice of Bill Oddie commentating on Ed Sheeran Watch.

In addition to the six 25-minute episodes, the DVD also includes a half-hour Behind the Scenes programme, fifteen minutes of deleted scenes (the best of which is an extra Strictly Come Dancing routine) and five minutes of outtakes (some of which you will have already seen after the episodes’ end credits).

For me, the 1980s references hit the spot more often than the reality-show stuff, but if you like either of those sorts of things then this particular Lemon should be to your taste.


Richard McGinlay

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