"It's me being a serious journalist. It's like Louis Theroux after 4 pints of lager."
The latest series of Celebrity Juice has just ended, but Keith Lemon has kept his Thursday night slot on ITV2, as he launches a brand new chat show. But a chat show with a difference. Shopping with Keith Lemon sees Keith hit the high street as he takes famous faces shopping whilst having a good old natter about their life and career.
Over eight weeks, he will go shopping with the likes of Amanda Holden, Big Narstie, Busted, Caroline Flack, David Dickinson, Emily Atack, Fearne Cotton Jimmy Carr, Kate Nash, Matt Goss, Mel B and Rob Beckett.
I recently caught up with Keith Lemon to talk all about his new show, including his favourite shopping trips, how it was influenced by Car Share and how his opinion towards Piers Morgan has now changed.
How did the idea for the show come about?
I was talking to the commissioners at ITV and said "Did you watch the unscripted episode of Car Share? I wanted them to get out of the car and just go shopping. Wouldn't it be good if there was a cameo from a celebrity in there?" and then I went - "I've just started pitching at you. It's called Shopping and I go shopping with famous people. I'm sure one of my friends will go shopping with me for a pilot. For a ten-minute tease"
And they just went "We're doing it!" and I went "Oh good. Then I ran back to the office!"
I think this show is going to become one of my children and I would hope it does, because it happened after a conversation in a meeting rather than a long pitching process that can sometimes feel forced.
Where do you go to in the series?
Wherever they want! It's all up to them. Yesterday with Matt Goss we went to a shoe shop where the shoes are handmade and they measure you up and I didn't realise that my left foot is a size 8 and my right is a size 7. So now I've got one foot bigger than the other.
Then we went hat shopping because we're both a fan of hats and we went for a shave because Matt really wanted to turn me into a gentleman. He bought me a hat and normally they don't buy me, they only buy the things they're after
We were planning to go for a suit as well but we didn't have time so we went t'pub instead after we started talking about drinking and he goes "Can you drink?" and I go "Yeah, I'm northern." and I got obliterated!
I asked Dan our director if he could see I was drunk. He said "No, you were alright" and when I got home I realised I were mad drunk.
How was Matt Goss?
He were lovely! He's a lovely guy and I knew they were an advocate for Just Say No and not doing drugs so we bonded that way because I never have done drugs and don't believe in it. I don't judge people who do, you do what you fucking want, but I don't take them. And don't offer me any!
So we bonded over that and I said "I do drink though" and he says "I like drinking" and then we got really really drunk!
What's weird is they filmed us having a drink outside a pub with all these Brosettes across the road and then we filmed at his favourite tree. We didn't know the full story about this though. It was a tree where he had his last photograph with his mum. But when you say you've got a favourite tree you sound like a mad person!
Actually, Matt text me this morning and said some lovely words. I won't say what they were because I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but they were lovely words.
Who did you base your interviewing technique on?
On no one really but I like Louis Theroux and I wasn't sure what my tone would be in this. I guess I say humorous things normally in every day conversation and what I wanted to get across was normal conversations with famous people.
I love the idea of a chat show and I love Jonathan Ross but I could never be him so I didn't want to be in a studio. Also, I thought you wouldn't get 'Chat show front' if we're not in a studio. I know what that is because I do it as well when I go on a chat show and you have to remember the things you're plugging.
I just wanted talking, and shopping spurs so many conversations.
But did you try to go all Piers Morgan on them?
When I was with Mel B I said to her "I used to hate Piers Morgan but now I piss myself laughing, I think he's ace. But I'd like to think I could go deeper than him so how deep did you go with Geri? Did you feed her horse? Did you clean her windows?"
And if they don't want to talk about it they don't answer or I say "Cut that bit out" and I do. With Mel B, she told me to fuck off a couple of times and I said "Just blink if it's a yes or no".
I don't think I've ever seen Nick Grimshaw being interviewed about his sexuality so I just said "When did you realise that you wanted to smoke dicks constantly?|" So I ask questions in the way I talk which a regular interviewer couldn't get away with I guess.
I'm like a puppet and a puppet can get away with saying anything it wants and I seem to get away with just saying "Have you had bum sex?" and then they go quiet on me and I go "You have, otherwise you'd have answered straight away!"
What's the tone of the show?
I wouldn't say it's that rude, now and again maybe. When I was with Mel B, she spoke about being an ambassador for ladies who have been in abusive relationships so it goes really straight and dark.
So we talk about that for a while and then at the end I say something like "So what was it like sucking Eddie Murphy's dick?"
It just lightens the mood. We don't do jokes or skits in it, we just have normal conversations. It ain't funny. It's me being a serious journalist. It's like Louis Theroux after 4 pints of lager.
I wanted this show to be nice and humorous, but it's not a comedy show as such. Anyone watching could go "It ain't fucking funny" and I'd go "I know. It ain't meant to be."
In the trailer we see David Dickinson reveal that he went to prison. What can you say about that?
I said "Is it true you've been to prison?" he said "I don't really want to talk about it." I went "Cool, cool. How long were you in for then?" and then he went into it.
So far, touch wood, we've had a great day every time we've been out with these people. They thought I would piss about and stuff but funny comes from just general conversation.
Again, with David Dickinson I said "What's the most obscure item you've ever valued?" and he said "It was a cock ring." So I asked him "What's a cock ring?" just so that I could hear him talk about a cock ring.
That episode actually felt very Louis Theroux because he invited us into his home, then we went antique shopping and it felt like a journey and it felt like I were with a grown up.
Any favourite shopping trips?
Jimmy Carr was good and hopefully you were always going to get humour out of chatting to someone like him. So I guess it's funny that way, but if someone says to me "It's not fucking funny." I'd go "It ain't. It's me talking." But Jimmy Carr was great, he opened up a lot.
It shocked me how open people were. To the point where we went "We can't put that in, it'll destroy them." And we want people to tell their friends, "I went shopping with him, you should go, it's fun."
But they have, they've been very open. Emily Atack telling me she's never had an orgasm and fakes it all the time! I did tell her, if she didn't want us to put it in, we won't, but she didn't mind. i think she likes being open.
We went shopping for cars with Caroline Flack, so looked at the cars and we did a test drive but that was as far as the purchasing adventure went. I don't know if she went back and bought the car afterwards.
I'm not a fan of food shopping and we've been to ASDA with Mel B and then back to ASDA with Nick Grimshaw. So I'm not very excited by their items but they were good chats.
How much fun have you had filming this series?
Well when I'm with someone that I know, I'm just hanging out with me mate, like Fearne Cotton. We did Fearne after she'd left Celebrity Juice and I said "Don't give me the PR reason. Why did you leave Juice?"
She's straight ain't she so she told me the PR answer which is the truth. She's focussing on that Happy Place thing she's doing. I totally get it, she's gone in a different direction really and she can't be doing Happy Place stuff and then have dildos thrown at her on Juice! It don't make sense does it?
Do you miss Fearne?
Of course we do, we miss her on Juice but Paddy has been fucking excellent. At the wrap party, when I was incredibly drunk, I said "Holly, I know Phillip Schofield is your TV husband but I always look at you as my TV sister and Paddy, it's like having my big brother there."
And we're hugging and Holly - who was also very drunk, so much so she told me she were almost going to puke on This Morning - said "Look at us! There were big shoes to fill McGuinness, but look at us."
They were big shows but it's happened, that chemistry. That's the secret to the success of Celebrity Juice, that chemistry. If you ain't got that chemistry it ain't gonna work. I think it had to be a friend.
You've appeared on many chat shows over the years. What's been your favourite chat show experience?
My favourite chat show always is The Jonathan Ross Show because you feel like you've arrived. He is one of my heroes and doesn't like me saying it to him. Whenever he comes on anything of mine, he gives me so much shit, it's like a bullet. And I just keep telling him how much I like him. But he has been very kind to me over the years and supported me.
I always love going on This Morning and Loose Women because everyone's so nice. You feel like "Look at me, part of the ITV family." I love pushing it as far as I can with Phillip Schofield and he'll do a little nod that says "That's enough. You've gone far enough." because he knows what I'm doing.
Every year or two you seem to have a new show. Are you constantly coming up with and pitching new ideas?
I have to try not to think of ideas and I do it all the time. Sometimes when we're really busy I can see the look on the commissioner's face or the producer's face which says "We're not doing anything else"
I was talking about ideas with a commissioner at ITV and went "Do you still want new ideas from me at all?" and she said "Yeah, I want ideas from you all the time." So I went "Good, this week I think I'm going to send you three a day." and I did.
It's easy innit coming up with ideas? I just ask myself "What would I like to see on telly?" and they don't always say yes. But it's nice to have a new show out every so often. For me, I've always thought it's been a hit if I get three series.
We're not doing any more Keith & Paddy's Picture Show which is a shame because I would have liked to do three series but because of Netflix and things, telly hasn't got as much money as it used to. For half an hour, Picture Show was an expensive programme.
They were saying in the paper "It dropped half its ratings in the second series." - Yeah, but it's still the highest rating show in that slot for the past 10 years. So good luck to the next person who's got that slot!
Shopping with Keith Lemon airs Thursdays at 10pm on ITV2