After our great chat with BBC Technology Correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones earlier today, we now move on to a chat with the brilliant Leigh Francis – perhaps more well-known as TV’s Avid Merrion / Craig David / Mel B / Keith Lemon / The Bear to name but a few.
As the creator of the smash-hit Channel 4 show Bo Selecta, Leigh Francis is one of the most well known faces in Comedy, though according to Wikipedia, most people will be less familar with his real name. Amongst the characters he plays are Avid Merrion (Big Brother obssessive!), Keith Lemon (northern businessman) and a host of rubbery faced caricatures including Craig David, Mel B and Michael Jackson on Bo Selecta. But what does Leigh think of social networking?
You’re on Facebook – do you use any other social media and to what extent?
I use both MySpace and Facebook to promote whatever it is that I’m doing at that moment. I use them both as a way just to say thanks to everyone for watching the show, although nobody ever believes its me. People always think that I have some secretary doing it for me or its an impostor. I don’t have a secretary but there is plenty of impostors. I tried to make friends with Avid Merrion but he was having none of it, I told him he wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for me. Isn’t that strange having a face off with a character I invented? That’s a good idea for a film!
What has your experience of Social Networks been like so far?
Like I said its nice to say thanks to people. I do my best to reply to everyone, I suppose its like modern day fan mail. Although its a bit strange when people invite me to their weddings or birthdays, I’m not gonna go to a strangers wedding am I? Everybody is really nice though, they always leave messages saying they enjoyed Keith Lemon and stuff. If somebody is rude to me or doesn’t believe its me, I just don’t reply anymore.
As a public figure, how do you feel about / deal with fans (or critics in some cases) contacting you online?
Fine, most fans are nice that’s why they’re fans. Anyone who slags me off I just delete them. I never talk about personal stuff, just what is going on with my telly stuff. A lot of people ask me for jobs, which I can’t give them ‘cos its not up to me. Its not as though I’m gonna go into the office and go to the producer, here’s 60 total strangers that wanna work on the show. They have no experience in working in telly but they think it’d be a good laugh. Although saying that, if they do have TV experience I’ll just tell them to send their CV into the office.
What would you class as the main reason you use social networks – personal interaction, publicising your work, research, feedback etc?
Purely to publicise my work. No other reason.
Do you use any of Facebook / MySpace’s added features or is your profile fairly basic?
I just have a basic profile. Just so people can ask me "Does Craig David really hate you?" Like I said it’s a good way to say thanks for watching, really appreciate your nice message. Next show will be on at this date. I often pop some pictures up from shoots too. Sorry I’m gonna have to go, I’ve got loads of those pop up messages to answer.
Thanks to Leigh for making the time to answer our questions, and be sure to join us again this afternoon for the next CelebrityTweet