AS the X-rated host of TV’s most outrageous panel show, Keith Lemon is an unlikely A-list socialite.
But after 12 years at the helm of Celebrity Juice, the funnyman has plenty of gossip on some of the best-known celebs in showbiz, including Kate Moss, Ed Sheeran and Holly Willoughby.
And Keith today shares some of his famous pals’ off-screen antics in his typical no-holds-barred style.
From watching new Juice panellist Emily Atack claim Holly’s crown as the show’s biggest boozer to revealing football pundit Chris Kamara had to be carried home “off his face” after filming, cheeky Keith doesn’t hold back on blowing the lid on his co-stars.
He also reveals Gary Barlow is a huge fan of the comedy programme — but is “too terrified” to appear. Speaking about his new co-star, Keith says: “Emily is a bit wild. I say a bit wild — she’s off her rocker.
“Holly’s wild, but Emily would give her a run for her money. She is a real party animal. Emily drinks more than anyone I know. I always thought that Holly was the drinker, but if Emily was an action figure, she would come complete with a glass of champagne.
‘OFF HIS FACE'
“She’s always got a glass of champagne. Or a glass of wine. Anything, actually — she drinks anything. A tin of Skol. Anything, man. I have partied with her for many years.”
Along with Emily, the ITV2 show’s new-look panel also includes Love Island host Laura Whitmore, 35, following the departure of Paddy McGuinness and Spice Girls singer Mel B.
Pregnant Laura, Keith explains, is “very professional” and keeps the others in check.
But her arrival comes too late for boozy Soccer Saturday favourite Kammy — who appeared in this year’s Christmas special then struggled to make it out of the studio without assistance.
Keith reveals: “He was off his face.” Recalling another episode of the show from a few years back, Keith reveals: “When Kammy went on with Ed Sheeran, Ed had a coffee cup. But it wasn’t coffee inside.
“So I said to Kammy, ‘Can I have a drink of that?’ — and it’s gin. We ended up having to carry Kammy and put him in his car.
“He couldn’t walk, paralytic. But that’s not a bad reflection on Kammy. He’s a lovely person and he always laughs at everything. You say, ‘Spoon, Kammy, spoon!’ and he’ll start p***ing himself. He’s just full of joy.
“Everyone gets slightly drunk on Juice, some more than others, but we encourage it because we want to make it feel like you’ve gone for a night out.”
While some of his celebrity pals are happy to make fools out of themselves on the show, one famous face who is too chicken to take part is Gary Barlow — even though his Take That bandmate Howard Donald has been on a number of timesand loves appearing.
Keith said: “Gary’s a really nice fella. He’s a big fan of Juice but he said he won’t come on it.
“But Howard Donald comes on quite regularly. We’ve even talked about doing some telly together.” One thing Keith won’t be doing is changing his hairdo again.
He used to have a bottle-blonde style that he reckons made him look like Anthea Turner — so now he is sporting his natural red tresses.
Keith said: “I used to say that I had strawberry blonde hair when I used to dye it peroxide blonde, but everyone used to call me ginger anyway so I stopped dyeing it. Me and Anthea Turner had a very similar haircut.
“It looks good on her but I look back now and I think, ‘what was I thinking?’ I’m a proud redhead — I’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.
“But people say to me as a slur, ‘You’re starting to look like Mick Hucknall’. So I go, ‘Good — I love Simply Red’.”
Off-camera, Keith is no stranger to a wild night, having partied with the likes of supermodel Kate Moss. He said: “Kate is an incredible person. I remember talking to her on a boat on the Thames.
“I was coming from the Brits, going to some party, and there were all these people there so I was just chatting to Kate Moss. She grabbed me, which was nice, and I had a chat with her.”
Keith — the alter ego of Leeds-born Bo Selecta! creator Leigh Francis, 47 — added: “The next thing I know she ended up having a dance-off with my missus and (television presenter) Gabby Logan.
“My missus won that battle. I can’t remember what they were dancing to — I was super drunk, as always.”
Kate isn’t Keith’s only famous fangirl — Little Mix star Perrie Edwards told him she wants to hang out with him.
‘I’M NOT A DO-GOODER'
The funnyman said: “Perrie messaged me about a month ago and said, ‘I hope this doesn’t sound stalkerish but I think I’ve moved near you. I think I’m your neighbour’.
"I said, ‘Well come over then’, but she hasn’t been over yet, obviously, because we’re in lockdown. I told her when all this s***storm’s over to come round. It’s always nice to know someone in the area.”
Despite lockdown, Keith has still managed to make a socially distanced new series of Celebrity Juice, even if it meant he had to shout to be heard by his co-stars.
He said: “It’s been weird. If you get an Uber from one side of the desk to the other on Juice it costs £5. I mean, how long are these desks? I’m just looking forward to the next series, where we’re a bit closer and we can throw stuff at each other again.”
And he is also looking forward to more of the show’s daft chall- enges, including one he has dreamt up especially for Mariah Carey — if he can persuade the superstar to appear.
But the comic, who recently released a festive charity single, also joked that the diva should donate money from her hit All I Want For Christmas Is You to good causes.
Keith, whose track Do They Know It’s Christmas (Locked Up) features his pals Emma Bunton, Peter Andre, Kimberley Walsh and Nicola Roberts, joked: “If I didn’t have this song out I’d be glad that Mariah was number one.
“But how many dollars does she need? She’s definitely bought herself a new pair of boobs with the money. I was watching a Christmas special and I thought, ‘what are those big things?’ But they look great and she looks great.”
Thinking that it might seem like he is toning down his opinion, Keith added: “I’ve just turned into a do-gooder. Don’t hate me for being a do-gooder — I still say f*** and b*tch!”
For his next project, Keith is inviting fans to join him on Monday for an interactive, live- streamed game show from his garden.
In The Front Row, Keith Lemon’s Daft Games Night invites you to play knockabout games such as Fill Your Boots, where players must pack a list of items into footwear, and a drawing challenge with “artist” David Cockney. The Bear from Bo Selecta! will even make an appearance.
Keith said: “When we did the lockdown Celebrity Juice in my garden I said we should do punter Juice like this — just all virtual. So that’s what we’re doing. It’s during that time when Christmas is done and New Year’s is round the corner.
“No one can go anywhere ’cos we’re in tiers, so hopefully people will come play silly games with us and win prizes.
“I’m looking forward to having a laid-back booze-up with strangers. It will be like Celebrity Juice at home.” As Keith would say, that sounds bang tidy.
- Tickets for In The Front Row, Keith Lemon’s Daft Games Night, are on sale now for £15. See gigsandtours.com 15+ only
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