Mel Sykes ‘cried all night after Keith Lemon verbally abused her for hours’

Melanie Sykes has claimed she was left crying all night after Leigh Francis – who plays Keith Lemon on TV – verbally abused her for three hours.

TV presenter Mel, 50, says the alleged verbal abuse occurred when TV host Leigh Francis, 48, was playing his famous comedy character of Keith Lemon whilst filming for when she was a panelist on ITV's Through The Keyhole.

Mel has revealed she went to show producers to report the behaviour of Francis, 48, after receiving his comments in front of a live studio audience, and reported Francis' behaviour to production firm Talkback.

This comes as the mum-of-two, who cried all night after being hit with the comments whilst on the panel, has only just spoken out about her experience after it occurred in 2018.

Leigh, who plays the sharp-tongued character of Keith Lemon on panel shows, hosted six series of Through The Keyhole from 2013 until its cancellation last year.

He has also anchored the crude ITV2 panel show Celebrity Juice for 24 series dating back to 2008.

Mel recalled: "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’."

“So for three hours I struggled through that. I got home and I cried all night and I rang my agent in the morning and told him.”

Mel said she had been feeling happy and relaxed after enjoying a holiday, and that she didn't expect Keith to act like he did on Celebrity Juice with rude comments about sex.

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Continuing, she also says she felt trapped during her time on the panel, stating that she couldn't storm out during filming as it would be all over the newspapers that she'd ruined the show.

Reporting Leigh to the production company was apparently a terrible experience for Mel, and she was told she was the first person that's ever complained about him, prompting her to reply that she didn't care.

In a scathing review of Leigh's comedy character, Mel went on to say she didn't understand why Lemon gets on TV as his character represents verbally abusive men in the street, the workplace and at home.

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Opening up earlier this week on the Frankly Speaking with Lynne Franks podcast, Mel said she is treated like a "geezer bird" and doesn't understand why.

She went on to relate how men speak to her in a "real brazen way" and expect her to be okay with it, before insisting she wants respect and that she is actually "really feminine and really sensitive".

Last year, Mel slammed Keith Lemon whilst discussing men and dating, saying she felt "sorry" for men who take 'charm' lessons from him, saying she thinks he has a "limited vocabulary".

Daily Star has approached Leigh's representatives and Talkback for comment.

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