The One Show viewers were left stunned tonight as Leigh Francis performed tonight – replacing his alter ego Keith Lemon.
It’s the first time the comedian has appeared as himself and not as a character on the BBC show.
Instead of the brash Keith, known for wearing big hats and carrying a bandage on his hand, viewers saw a calmer figure.
Leigh said after being introduced as himself: “Isn’t that weird? When I hear my name, it’s strange.”
He joined One Show presenters Alex Jones and Jermaine Jenas to announce a new UK tour.
Addressing his age, the star said: “Someone on the internet said I put on that much wood. Is not that so? That’s because I’m old. I’m 50.”
“I’m sure I’ll only get more wood. I’m starting to look like Richard Attenborough. Welcome to Jurassic Park!”
“You know what the PR person said? ‘Don’t wear a hat so they can tell you’re not Keith Lemon, you’re Leigh Francis.’
“Now my face looks even fatter. Look at the size of my forehead, it’s like a knee. I have three knees – I just saw it on the monitor.”
Some viewers said they didn’t know there was a difference between Leigh and his alter ego, saying they thought Keith Lemon was a real person and not a creation.
One insisted, “I prefer Leigh Francis than himself.” Another wrote, “I had no idea there was a real Keith Lemon.”
The comedian found early success with Avid Merrion, his Big Brother-obsessed character who also appeared on the cult series Bo Selecta.
After the series ended, he made Keith Lemon, another character from the series, a star thanks to the popularity of the Celebrity Juice quiz.
The show was a huge hit, running from 2008 until its final episode in December last year.