Photography by Mark Hayman
Distinctive hoots of laughter tell us Keith Lemon is in the building. The moustachioed, bleached-blond Yorkshire playboy is scrolling through his phone, showing everyone the hilarious behind-the-scenes photos from his new movie. Sha-ting!
Yes, as well as being a TV host, heart-throb and international style icon, Keith Lemon is now officially a film star.
“And I’ve already got plans for the sequel,” he says.
We don’t doubt him. With the deliberately unimaginatively titled Keith Lemon: The Film (also starring Kelly Brook, with cameos from Gary Barlow, Chris Moyles and Peter Andre, among others), reality show Lemon La Vida Loca, a new series of the award-winning Celebrity Juice and a book due out in time for Christmas, life is giving us a whole lot of Lemon right now.
“I know!” he says in his broad Leeds accent. “The past two years have been amazing!
“Movie star-wise, I’d compare meself to Owen Wilson cos I look like him, apart from the fact I’ve got a ’tache and my nose is nose-shaped rather than penis-shaped.”
Leigh Francis, the man behind the alter ego, never surfaces. Even over lunch, it is Keith, not Leigh, who chats away and it’s very easy to forget you’re actually talking to a fictional character.
When our orgy-themed photo shoot is over, we settle down with Keith to find out just how he became so successful, whether fame has gone to his head and why, after years of playing the field, he’s finally decided to settle down with girlfriend Rosie.
So, Keith, you’re a proper movie star now.
Yeah! Earlier this year I were at the Cannes Film Festival with Kelly Brook and a glass of champagne which was never empty. And as I sat on this balcony looking at all the boats, I thought to meself: “If me Leeds mates could see me now they’d probably spit in me face.”
Tell us a bit about the film.
It’s about me moving to London in search of success. I get it ten-fold by inventing the Lemon Phone, which makes me a gazillion squillionaire. And I change. I become a bit of a monster and forget about me girlfriend in Leeds and I hook up with Kelly Brook. So it’s about not letting money change you. It’s a fantasy film with a lot of morals in it. It’s a small film with a big heart and a massive tallywacker. That tallywacker being mine. Which you see.
What was it like working with Kelly Brook?
It was really hard to make it look like I was having fun cos it were ’orrible. Before she’s got her make-up on she looks like Sloth from t’Goonies. And then they just draw Kelly Brook on to her face and she looks all right after that. There’s quite a lot of saucy bits in t’film. It’s quite naughty, really. Filthy.
That’s exactly what we’d expect from you!
I s’pose so. But I think people will be surprised at how much heart it’s got. Me mam saw it the other day and she said: “Ah, it’s all warm and nice.” It makes you feel good at the end, like an ’80s movie. I want people to leave the cinema singing When The Going Gets Tough by Billy Ocean as they head to the boozer. It’s got more morals than a He-Man cartoon. Y’know how there was always a moral at t’end of a He-Man cartoon?
And we meet your girlfriend Rosie Parker for the first time.
We auditioned people to play Rosie, but the closest we got was a 6ft black girl. But she’s not black, is Rosie. And she’s not 6ft either. It didn’t feel right. So in the end she decided to play herself. She’s not an actress, but she’s very good.
We hear you’ve properly settled down with Rosie now.
We were on and off and then during the film it became more on than off. Well, actually it got right off and then it got on. So I asked her if she’d move down to London and she did. We’re just living together at the moment and filming our reality show Lemon La Vida Loca.
Your £6million mansion is quite something. Just how we imagined it, in fact.
I love me pool. It’s amazing. And the picture of me and Rosie above the fireplace [demonstrating a rather complex sexual manoeuvre] – Neil Buchanan from Art Attack drew that.
What made you want to settle down in the end?
Well, I’m getting on now. I’m nearly 30, [ahem, ahem]. So I just thought it was time to settle down and I’ve known Rosie for years. No one knows me more than her. She’s got a proper tick body. I’m not talking about marriage at all yet cos it’s only been a few months. I’m always saying I’d smash whoever’s back door in, but I think it’s time to grow up.
If you were single, which celebrity women would you like to date?I don’t think I’d go out with a celebrity. I’d s**g one, though. Who would I s**g? Who wouldn’t I s**g! Kelly Brook, Jessica Simpson, Cheryl Cole and Jessie J. She’s both, in’t she? Sucks and blows. Or whatever the street term is. I like Natalie Portman as well. I stayed in her apartment in Belfast. She’d been shooting Your Highness and when she left, I moved in. And the shower was blocked with all her hair. I’ve got a picture of it, it’s disgustin’. I’m not jokin’. Do you wanna see it? I’ve got a photo of it on me phone. It’s hair from her head, unless she’s got really long, straight you know whats. [Keith scrolls through his phone before finding the picture. It’s gross.] See? Horrible, innit?
Would you ever sleep with a groupie?
If she was fit, yeah. I’ve never slept with a groupie, though. I’ve just poked ’em. They get a bit fruity with me sometimes and I get a bit nervous about it. Cos I know I give it all this, but when they come on to me I’m a bit: “Woah, slow down.”
Ever had a threesome?
Yeah. One and a half times, cos the first time I bottled it. There’s a lot of, er, options with a threesome. Four options if you count t’back doors. Well there’s six if you count the mouths. I don’t know about ears… I’ve never tried that.
When did you lose your virginity?
When I were about nine. I’m not saying her name but it was at t’back of the youth club. I didn’t go full way, though. I put it in and had a bit of a fun time, but I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing. I thought I were going to wee meself but little did I know it was a sexy wee.
Ever made a sex tape?
No, but I’d love to. I keep tellin’ Holly [Willoughby] and Fearne [Cotton, his Celebrity Juice panellists] we should do one to promote Juice. But they won’t do it. I’ve even offered to cover up all the pink bits with t’Juice logo, but I don’t think Rosie would appreciate it.
How do you rate yourself in bed?
I think I’m ace. I think of equations, puppies or Gail Platt from Corrie so I can last longer and give the lady a good time. I think it’s important for her to enjoy herself before the man because, let’s face it, we can do it instantly, in seconds.
Do you measure up down there?
What, with me penis? Yeah, I like it. I’m happy with me tallywacker.
If you were going to take me on a date, where would we go?
Well, you’re very pretty by the way, so I’ll tell you now I have a special Nando’s card. So I’d take you there and you could have as much free chicken as you wanted. Then we’d go swimming, cos I think you get to know each other well having a swim. Then I’d probably reward you for your swimming with some cheese and onion crisps and some hot chocolate and maybe some of those mini cookies. Then we’d go back to mine and watch every TV show I’ve ever been in.
Do you have a chat-up line that always works?
I’ve got good banter and I can sweep a girl off her feet with that. I’m charming. I don’t chat girls up these days, cos I’m sorted in that department. But it did get to the stage where they’d go: “Are you Keith Lemon?” And I’d go: “Yeah, do you want to have it off?” Generally, that worked. Being on telly is an incredible gift and one of the perks is being able to have it off with women you wouldn’t normally have it off with.
Does Rosie ever get jealous of all the attention you get?
She’s used to me flirting with other women, so she doesn’t get jealous of that. But when women flirt with me, she doesn’t like that too much. She knows I won’t do nothing. I’m all mouth. We had a dinner party a couple of weeks ago. We had Jenny Powell, Toby Anstis, Stacey Solomon and Chris Fountain from Corrie over. We all got p****d up and it were ace. But Jenny Powell’s got the hots for me. Normally she can hide it, but when she gets drunk, it shows. We had a little bit of a kiss when we were saying goodbye and Rosie got all funny and dragged me off her and told Jenny where to go.
What type of woman do you usually go for?
I’ve never really had a type. Just as long as she looks like she’s clean.
What’s your favourite part of a woman’s body?
In t’past I would’ve said t**s. But Rosie’s got none. They’re nice shaped, but she’s not a million miles away from [Fearne] Cotton. I like arse as well. But mainly face. She’s got to be pretty cos that’s what you’re going to see more of, really. And if she’s got a wicked body but a mashed-up face…
Are you in love with Rosie?
I never said I was in love with Rosie. When I leave the house, I say: “Like you!” She’s moving faster than I am, but I’ve told her that it’s because I’m emotionally immature. But she likes me cos I’m fun. We have movie nights and we sometimes dress up as some of the characters. [He shows us a picture on his phone of him and Rosie dressed as Superman.] It’s fun dressing up and if you make sure the zips are in the right places, sometimes you can keep the outfit on.
Shall we give Rosie a call?
[Keith gets his phone out and rings Rosie. It goes to voicemail.] Hi Rosie, it’s Keith. I’m just doing an interview for Fabulous magazine and I just wanted to check it was OK to answer some questions about you. Cos I know you go mad when I say [says something utterly unprintable]. But I haven’t told them that I [repeats the utterly unprintable]. OK, ta. Like you.
Are you lavish with your money?
Not really. I’m not extravagant cos I remember when times were ’ard and I used to sell jeans at Leeds Market. You never knew if you were going to have a good week or a bad week, so I’m quite careful. I’ve just bought some fake Louboutins for meself. I keep it real and buy fake. £100, they were.
Who’s your best friend?
I love Fearne cos I like picking on her. We pick on each other to see who can say the nastiest thing. And I love Holly cos she’s, like, motherly. Me mate Jonesy, Jade Jones, is always at a premiere with me. [Emma] Bunton’s me good mate too.
Have you ever actually seen Holly’s bush?
Yeah, it’s massive. If you throw a pound coin at it, it’d bounce back and hit you in t’face. I’m tellin’ yer. She keeps it natural, all thick like a Brillo pad.
Do you have a favourite episode of Celebrity Juice?
Ant and Dec was a good one and then we had Schofield on after that. His was the highest-rating one, so I think he was chuffed with that. I think we got 2.3 million for that one. We’re having beers while we’re filming the show and by the end of it, you’re drunk. And no one is more drunk than Holly. She likes a drink.
Don’t you ever feel like you’re too mean to Fearne?
Fearne plays it well, though. She does it to get her army of fans. One week, I told her I was going to be right nice to her. And she said: “No, cos I want people to hate you and like me.” All right then, you boy-titted, big-nostrilled, lanky streak of p**s.
Who’s lined up for the new series?
Loads of people on Twitter keep asking when we’re going to do a Geordie Shore special, but I wouldn’t know any of them. If one of Geordie Shore did a s**t on me belly I wouldn’t know who they were. I watched it and I wasn’t prepared for how rude it is – I were shocked.
What’s on your backstage rider?
I don’t have one. Why should you suddenly be able to demand Scotch
eggs or whatever, just cos you’ve turned up to work? When I first went back to Leeds, I thought they’d be like they are to Emmerdale people. Cos when I lived there and someone from Emmerdale came in the pub, you’d go: “Bet they think their s**t don’t stink cos they’re on telly.” But when I go back, everyone wants to buy me a pint, everyone’s right nice to me. I think it’s cos I’ve kept it real.
Do you work out?
Not really. I’ve got good genes – and by that I don’t mean Levi’s, I mean my inner being. I’m not ripped up, but I am robust like a proper man.
Is there a second series of Lemon La Vida Loca in the pipeline?
I’d like to do more, cos I’ve really learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned that I have to respect other people’s feelings more and it’s not all about me, even though it says my name in the title. It’s been good for me and Rosie’s relationship cos I’m right chuffed she’s me bird.
What has been your greatest achievement?
Once I had some “me” time and it hit t’headboard on the back of the bed. That was quite an achievement. Just getting up every morning and having your arms and legs is an achievement. I’m very humble and thankful that people like watching me mess about. I feel bad sometimes that I get paid for p*****g about. Do you want to see the drawings I did? [Keith scrolls through his phone, revealing some very impressive portraits of the likes of Vernon Kay, Caroline Flack and Janet Street-Porter. He comes to one of himself in a superhero outfit.] And there’s me as a superhero, firing Scotch eggs from me hands. That would be me superpower – to fire Scotch eggs out me hands at a speed which would knock the enemy
out on the floor. Not kill ’em, though, cos that would mean I’ve moved over to the dark side. And then you can pick up the Scotch egg, eat it and be on your way.
How long have you had the ’tache for?
I grew one as soon as I could – I had one of those bum-fluffy ones. Then it turned into man hair. I think it looks good. Not many men can pull it off. I sometimes grow a Christmas beard with me mates.
You’ve got your movie, reality show and more Celebrity Juice on the way, plus a book coming out in the autumn. You’re a very busy boy.
Rosie gets vexed cos I’m never in. I’m always working. And sometimes I don’t get plus ones. And when I tell her I’ve got to go by myself, she says: “But you always go with Jade Jones.” But that’s cos he gets invited too and I know him right well so we go together.
Do you think a knighthood could be on the cards? Arise, Sir Keith?
That would be amazing. Wowee! I ran with the Olympic torch, got a Bafta and a National Television Award and I got me bronze swimming award. I couldn’t believe that cos I cheated! I got bored and knackered and put me feet down and only started swimming again when I got to the deep end.
Can you believe how far you’ve come?
It’s insane. I was talking to me mate about it and I says I’ve just got to ride this wave. All I do is get paid to have a good time and I enjoy myself like no other telly person I’ve ever met in my life. I love it too much sometimes.
● Keith Lemon: The Film is in cinemas August 24.
Keith Lemon VS Leigh Francis
Name Keith Lemon
Age 29, allegedly
Marital status In a relationship with Rosie Parker
Notable achievements 1993 Businessman of the Year
Most likely to say “Bang tidy!”
Name Leigh Francis
Marital status Married to Jill, one daughter, Matilda, three
Notable achievements Creating comedy characters Avid Merrion and Keith Lemon
Most likely to say Nothing – Leigh rarely gives interviews as himself
Tell us what you think on Twitter #FabMagKeithLemon