Keith Lemon reveals he considered leaving Celebrity Juice after Holly Willoughby’s shock exit

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LIKE real siblings, Keith Lemon and his “TV sister” Holly Willoughby spent days on end together teasing and making up unflattering nicknames.

But this week Holly, who Keith calls “Willough-booby” on their hit ITV panel show Celebrity Juice, announced she was quitting after 12 years.

Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, revealed he considered leaving Celebrity Juice after Holly broke the news that she was quitting
PA

Keith Lemon, real name Leigh Francis, revealed he considered leaving Celebrity Juice after Holly broke the news that she was quitting[/caption]

Now Keith, 47, real name Leigh Francis, has revealed he considered leaving the show too after Holly broke the news.

He said: “I was really sad and realised I was going to miss her.

“She rang me up. She never usually rings me so I thought she is going to tell me she’s pregnant.

“She said, ‘I’ve got something to tell you. This is like breaking up with a boyfriend’.

Holly this week announced she was quitting the hit ITV panel show after 12 years
Rex Features

Holly this week announced she was quitting the hit ITV panel show after 12 years[/caption]

“I said, ‘You’re going to tell me you’re leaving, aren’t you?’ and she said, ‘Yes, it’s been 12 great years but I want to spend time with the family’.”

On his close relationship with Holly, Keith add: “I’m gutted, she was like my TV sister. She’s welcome back any time. I’ll properly miss her.

“It’s weird not being able to say goodbye to her in person at the moment. A virtual hug isn’t the same as a real one. I’ll miss Holly’s hugs.”

Mum-of-three Holly, 39, who joined host Keith’s Celebrity Juice as a team captain alongside Fearne Cotton in 2008, said: “Keith Lemon, where to begin? I remember starting this journey with you and saying, ‘I think this might work’. My goodness me, it did.

Keith said hes gutted Holly is leaving, describing her as his TV sister
Keith said he’s ‘gutted’ Holly is leaving, describing her as his ‘TV sister’

“Three friends — you, me and Fearne Cotton. I love the bones of you, Lemon. Thank you for making me laugh for 12 years.”

Holly’s last episode of Celebrity Juice was filmed during lockdown and aired on Thursday.

Keith said: “We didn’t say goodbye on the show, I didn’t want to bring the mood down and tell everyone she was leaving. So next Thursday is a compilation show looking back and saying goodbye to Holly.”

Fearne quit the show in 2018 after ten years so Keith is the last of the trio on the panel show.

ITV

Keith said Holly is ‘welcome back any time’[/caption]

He said: “I was gutted when Fearne left. If anyone leaves who you like a lot, love a lot, you’re upset, aren’t you?

“But we are all adults. I’ve been better. It’s a shame Holly’s last show wasn’t in the studio but lockdown ruined the world.”

Keith is now on the hunt for a replacement for Holly, who also fronts This Morning alongside Phillip Schofield, 58, and he has hinted that Michelle Keegan, 32, could be in the frame.

­Earlier in the week he said: “We need to find someone with the right chemistry.

Fearne Cotton quit the show in 2018 after ten years so Keith is the last of the trio on the panel show
ITV

Fearne Cotton quit the show in 2018 after ten years so Keith is the last of the original trio on the panel show[/caption]

“A lot of names have been mentioned. Michelle is one, she’s a lovely lady, but nobody has been chosen yet.”

And today, in an interview with The Sun on Sunday, Keith has told how he has been keeping himself sane during lockdown by sewing and making face masks.

He says: “Everyone is concerned about whether you should wear a face mask or shouldn’t wear one. Who cares if you should or shouldn’t?

“It is better to be safe than sorry so just wear them, so I decided to make some fun masks.

Keith has hinted that Michelle Keegan could be in the frame to replace Holly
Getty Images

Keith has hinted that Michelle Keegan could be in the frame to replace Holly[/caption]

“I liked the idea of looking like Brad Pitt so I made a Brad Pitt mask.

“I drew it on my iPad and then printed it out and ironed it on to an old shirt and hemmed it.

“I have learnt how to sew. I’ve had a sewing machine for years but I didn’t know how to put a spool in so I watched a video that showed me, so I can sew now.

“Would you have imagined that Keith Lemon has a sewing machine?”

Keith has been keeping himself sane during lockdown by sewing and making face masks - including a Brad Pitt mask
Keith has been keeping himself sane during lockdown by sewing and making face masks – including a Brad Pitt mask

Keith is also doing what everyone else in Britain has suddenly taken up — walking, and video calls on Zoom.

He says: “Before lockdown I never used to go for a walk for an hour. But now I go every day for an hour.

“And my Leeds mates always text me to see if I want to do a Zoom and we are there till 2am.

“Everyone is waiting for someone to go because they’ve had enough but you can’t be the first one to go.

Keith says one plus side of lockdown is not having fans coming up to him in the street and grabbing him
Dan Charity – The Sun

Keith says one plus side of lockdown is not having fans coming up to him in the street and grabbing him[/caption]

“I say, ‘Oh my battery is running out on my iPad, I’ve got to go’.”

Keith, instantly recognisable with his moustache and wild hair, says one plus side of lockdown is not having fans coming up to him in the street and grabbing him.

Jokingly, he adds: “I project this sexual beast on Celebrity Juice and they think they are allowed to come up to you when you are having your dinner and touch you where they shouldn’t.

“People say naughty and inappropriate things to me all the time.

Keith says lockdown ruined the world and meant Hollys last show on Celebrity Juice couldnt be recorded in the studio
ITV

Keith says ‘lockdown ruined the world’ and meant Holly’s last show on Celebrity Juice couldn’t be recorded in the studio[/caption]

“When I am with friends they are surprised and go, ‘How dare they come up to you and say that’.

“If I was a lady, there would have been a lot of people in trouble because of people manhandling you.

“I went to see a Matt Goss gig recently and there were a lot of ladies with hands on me. I guess it is part and parcel of what I do. People say very sexual things to me about my penis and stuff. It’s weird.

“I’m not good at being famous. I do spend time with people and do pictures. I just don’t like it when they try to touch my bum.

A compilation show looking back and saying goodbye to Holly will be aired next Thursday
ITV

A compilation show looking back and saying goodbye to Holly will be aired next Thursday[/caption]

“That’s happened a few times. Often it was at corporate gigs because they all get drunk and do that. So I don’t do corporate gigs now, ever.

“I suppose it’s my fault because of Celebrity Juice but I am playing that with friends and I know how far I can go.”

Keith is now hosting new series The Fantastical Factory Of Curious Craft — which begins tomorrow night on Channel 4 — alongside Anna Richardson.

The show sees four crafters go head to head making various creations.

Keith doesnt like it when people try to touch his bum
PA

Keith doesn’t like it ‘when people try to touch his bum’[/caption]

It is ideal for Keith, who loves making things, with mixed results.

He said: “Often if I haven’t managed to get someone a present I would do a little portrait of them and I do them quite small.

“A friend asked me to do one for her 50th birthday. She is a collector of art so I did it quite big.

“She wasn’t happy with it. She said, ‘I don’t want a big picture of myself on my wall’.

Keith is now hosting Channel 4s new series The Fantastical Factory Of Curious Craft alongside Anna Richardson
MarkJohnson

Keith is now hosting Channel 4’s new series The Fantastical Factory Of Curious Craft alongside Anna Richardson[/caption]

“But my Leeds mates were saying this show is perfect for me because I craft, but the producers didn’t know I could craft so it aligned perfectly.

“When I was a kid I made a spoof of Jurassic Park and I made a 5ft T-Rex.

“I made a Jabba The Hutt when we made a spoof of Return Of The Jedi called Yoda Knows Best.

“People will see a different side of me in this and hopefully they will like it. But it is very different to Celebrity Juice.”

Keith and Holly’s favourite bits

FROM asking EastEnders actor Danny Dyer about his “massive testicle” to getting guests to lick his strategically placed Christmas baubles, cheeky Keith never shies away from creating outrageous moments on Celebrity Juice.

Here we look at some of the most outrageous moments he has dreamed up for Holly over the past 12 years on the hit ITV2 show.

Banana kiss

Holly and Fearne had to complete an obstacle course while holding the same banana in their mouths
Holly and Fearne had to complete an obstacle course while holding the same banana in their mouths

Holly and Fearne have to hold the same banana in their mouths while on an obstacle course.

As they hug, Keith jokes: “If you feel nervous and want to comfort each other, the most comforting part of the body is the breasts.”

Tongue twister

Keith said Holly and Fearne picking up an olive with their tongues was the sexiest thing hes ever seen
Keith said Holly and Fearne picking up an olive with their tongues was ‘the sexiest thing he’s ever seen’

Holly and Fearne have to pick up an olive from the floor and put it into a bowl, using only their tongues.

Keith says: “In all my ten years on Celebrity Juice that is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen.”


Got it licked

Holly had to get down on her knees and lick a bauble to identify the food it had been dipped in
ITV

Holly had to get down on her knees and lick a bauble to identify the food it had been dipped in[/caption]

In a Christmas special Holly had to get down on her knees and lick a bauble to identify the food it had been dipped in.

Keith joked: “If you are 16 at home alone, grab a box of tissues . . .” as he played a slow-mo of her attempt.