Craig David: Bo’ Selecta ‘humiliated me’, was racist and Leigh Francis needs to be accountable
There were five series of Bo Selecta from 2002 to 2009.
Singer, Craig David, has described his portrayal in popular comedy series, Bo Selecta, as having had a profoundly negative impact on both his life and career.
David, 41, along with other well known celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Spice Girl, Mel B, Black Sabbath singer, Ozzy Osbourne and magician, David Blaine, was the butt of many sketches written and performed by comedian, Leigh Francis.
Francis has publicly apologised for the way in which he portrayed people of colour on his show.
David, despite being from Southampton, was given a Leeds accent on the show and his character had a colostomy bag and a pet kestrel called Kes, a refernce to Ken Loach’s 1969 film of the same name.
“Every sketch felt personal,” recalled David in an interview with The Sunday Times.
“It felt like a vendetta and when it got a following, it became something that affected me.
“People would shout at me on the street and I felt the same feeling I had when I was bullied at school. Leigh Francis had normalised bullying by making it comedy.”
David added: “It was bullying across the board for everyone.
“When he put blackface on, that was being racist.”
David said Francis has yet to contact him directly to apologise for his treatment of the singer.
“We can all apologise when on the back foot,” he said.
“The moment of expressing his apology seemed very coincidentally timed. Has he reached out to any of the people he did on his show? He hasn’t reached out to me. Has he gone to communities to talk about bullying? Racism? And to be educated? You can only ask him.
“All I’ve seen since his apology is people still tweeting him thinking Bo’ Selecta! is fun and the tone of his response being very much still, ‘I’m the funny guy here’. That he still plays it like a joke after his apology tells me everything.”
Channel 4 has since removed all five series of Bo Selecta from its streaming service All 4.