'I wonder how stupid Joey Essex is going to get': Keith Lemon's lockdown TV

Interview Ammar Kalia

I haven’t been watching very much TV; it has felt difficult to focus on one thing with so much else going on. I did see myself the other night on Through the Keyhole from 2015, when I had hair like Anthea Turner, but apart from that the only other show I have really been watching is Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. I like watching Joey Essex because I always think: “How stupid is he going to get before he lets it down and people realise he’s actually not that dumb?”

I’ve watched a lot of lockdown versions of shows since I got told that we were doing Celebrity Juice via video calls. I was surprised by the lack of enthusiasm in so many of them, so when we came to film, I knew we had to give it some welly. Normally it has such an atmosphere with the audience, and so without one it would be very weird.

Jimmy Fallon has become more interesting than funny since lockdown started. It is more intimate and he is getting to the heart of his interviewees and how they’re coping. But with Celebrity Juice, we wanted it to be more funny than interesting. I think we pulled it off as it still feels like a party but a more intimate one.

It’s a very weird way to film and I can understand why some people might not be as enthusiastic. You’re just on your own at home. The picture and sound isn’t very good and there’s a delay so the whole idea of comic timing just goes out the window. I told the producer that I was going to go hell for leather and be super-energetic, so they should just edit out the bits where I get tiresome.

I do really miss making shows with other people and I hope we can get back to it soon. Maybe we’ll do Punter Juice via Zoom in the meantime, where everyone can get involved themselves from home.

Keith Lemon hosts The Fantastical Factory Of Curious Craft at 8pm on Sundays on Channel 4