Melanie Sykes claims Keith Lemon made her cry with three hours of sexual jokes
Should the Keith Lemon character be a thing of the past?
TV presenter Melanie Sykes says she was left distressed after appearing on Keith Lemon's Through the Keyhole back in 2018. The panel show follows Lemon as he explores celebrity homes, the panel of guests then have to discover whose house it is.
Sykes says that she was left crying when Lemon made repeated sexual jokes towards her for the three hours it took to film the episode. She later complained to the producers, and sources have told the Mirror that the allegations were taken very seriously. She was also involved in the final edit of the show, which allowed her to give approval to the content shown on TV.
Have always been confused by his on-screen persona. Gross, sex-based gags, always flanked by two sexy ladies. Why is it still the 70s in his head and why are TV execs OK with it? Good on Sykes for speaking up even when the prod-co made her feel bad for doing so. https://t.co/uWSVqnYQYC
— Julia Raeside 💙 (@JNRaeside) June 20, 2021
Speaking to Lynne Franks on the Frankly Speaking podcast, Sykes had the following to say:
"I went into the studio and I didn’t think Keith was going to be like he was on the other show that he does [Celebrity Juice] where it’s all sex and blow jobs and talking about people’s a**holes and all that.
"I sat there for a three-hour record and he did all of that stuff to me verbally to entertain the live audience — because it was never going to make the edit of the show, because it was a family, Saturday night show, so he used me to entertain the audience.
“I had Jonathan Ross to my right and Ashley Banjo to my left and the first thing that Keith said to me, in character, 'I bet your a**hole smells of flowers'."
"It makes me want to cry right now because I was so caught in the headlights and wasn't expecting it.
Melanie Sykes is absolutely 💯 right about Keith Lemon and his bullshit - I've had his 'hilarious' catchphrases shouted at me by intimidating groups of drunk men. Time for his act to go in the bin, where it belongs.
— Nichola McC (@mamalas) June 20, 2021
"It went from bad to worse, I kept thinking 'What am I going to do?' I can't get up and storm out because it will be all over the newspapers that I've walked out and it will, of course, be my fault, everybody in the audience has a mobile phone so they could see.
"So for three hours I struggled through that. I got home that night and I cried all night and I rang my agent in the morning and told him about my experience and I said, 'I don't know what I'm going to do about it'.
"So I rang the head of the production company, and said, 'Can you make sure in the edit I don't look out of my depth, angry or upset, because I don't have a poker face, because it's detrimental to me'.
"And she agreed for me to part of the edit and I would approve the edit, and I said, 'It was a terrible experience' she said, 'you're the first person that has ever complained about him' and I said, ' I don't care' and this was before MeToo, so it wasn't like I felt strongly because of it.
"I said 'you and I know that there are loads of women who don't say anything, it doesn't mean it's not happening'.
In today's social climate, such allegations are rightly taken very seriously. Many online have called for an end to the Keith Lemon character, citing that he is out of touch with today's attitudes towards his brand of "humour".