Leigh Francis’ creative journey from Leeds College of Art

Leigh Francis, these days better known as Keith Lemon, attended Leeds College of Art from 1989 – 1993.

Leigh came to the College in 1989 to study the Post Diploma in Art and Design. He then continued for the next three years gaining a diploma in Graphic Design and Advertising. During this time he met drawing tutor Laimonis Mierins, who Leigh credits as “basically the whole inspiration for Avid Merrion”, a character made popular on his Channel 4 sketch show Bo’ Selecta.

After graduating Leigh Francis worked in the creative department at The Yorkshire Evening Post for three years before moving to the graphics department of the Paramount Comedy Channel. Leigh’s career in television took off following his appearance on Channel 4′s Take Over TV. He then began developing characters and staging meetings in various guises that lead to his own show on Play UK. A nomination for Best Newcomer at The British Comedy Awards and three series of Bo’ Selecta followed and at the end of 2005, Avid Merrion went to Hollywood for Bo in the USA.

Leigh introduced Keith Lemon via Keith Lemon’s Very Brilliant World Tour. This lead to the birth of Celebrity Juice the long running show for which Leigh won ‘Best Entertainment Performance’ at the BAFTA Awards in 2016. He fulfilled a lifetime ambition in 2012 when Keith Lemon: The Film was released in cinemas across the UK and was a box office success.

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Keith Lemon is still on our screens appearing in many popular ITV and ITV2 shows including Celebrity Juice, Lemon La Vida Loca, Through the Keyhole and The Keith Lemon Sketch Show.

Now a successful stand-up comedian, actor, director, producer, writer and voice artist Leigh still remembers his time at Leeds College of Art:

“I loved being at Leeds College of Art and Design, I still have the same friends that I hung out with then. I still use my graphic design skills a lot. I designed the covers for my first two DVD’s. I do some of the graphics for the show if I’ve got time and I designed all the silly masks for Bo!”

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