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I TALK TO Keith Lemon & Paddy McGuinness

Film buffs Keith Lemon and Paddy McGuinness have united in what seems like the perfect job for both of them. In The Keith & Paddy Picture Show, the duo will be joined by a host of celebrities in half-hour re-enactments of classic Hollywood movies.

Over the course of the series they’ll be recreating Jaws, Ghostbusters, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi and Rocky.

How did you two first meet?

Keith: In a gay bar. (Laughs) He wanted to suck me off and I said “No, I’m not gay” (Laughs)

Paddy: I’m going back a long long time now, but there used to be a music show on Channel 4 called Transmission. Steve Jones and Lauren Laverne hosted it and we were on as guests, separately, for whatever we were doing at the time.

I loved Bo’ Selecta and I got talking and we just hit it off. You meet people in this job who you’re friendly with and you see them now and again. But then you see people who you’re really friendly with. We swapped numbers, we kept in touch and that’s how it started really.

The first thing I did with you was on Keith Lemon's World Tour and it’s just carried on.

And how did The Keith & Paddy Picture Show come about?

Paddy: Well this has been brewing for about eight years.

Keith: He roped me in to Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. I think the actual sentence he said was “We’re going to do a Dirty Dancing sketch” and then on the second day I was sat on the floor shattered and I said “I thought we were going to do a sketch. I didn’t think we were actually going to do this dance.”

We then said that we should take this further and wrote a half hour version of Dirty Dancing, pitched it to I don’t know how many people!

Paddy: Channel 4 it went with originally.

Keith: People were saying that you should do loads of films within one episode, but we thought that wasn’t special enough. What we wanted to do was that performance we did but extrapolate - I think that’s the word - and do the whole film. Cut out what you don’t need so the narrative still works.

So we pitched it. It disappeared. I did a book and put a bit of it in there and then we started doing the Sketch Show.

Paddy: That was the plan with the Sketch Show, we said why don’t we secrete it into people’s consciousness and see how we get on. What was good, was that because we’d already shown that we could do that, the commissioners at ITV when we started pitching the idea again, knew what we could do.

In this obviously we’ve got more budget and more time, so all the movie stuff in the Sketch Show were great, but in this, it’s next level production wise.

Keith: Same lousy American accents! (Laughs)

What were the costumes like?

Paddy: Well I didn’t realise until I started doing this how claustrophobic I am...

Keith: Fucking hell is he?!

Paddy: Keith loves being in prosthetics. Literally, the more you can’t breathe because of it, the better for him. Whereas I don’t like all of that. They did me up and put full Bill Murray prosthetics on, I went to the toilet, someone came up to me and started talking and I started scratching my face but couldn’t feel anything.

So I went “Oh my God!” and literally ripped the whole thing off and walked back in after they’d spent hours putting it on.

The worst outfit for me in the whole series, and what I hated wearing, were C-3PO. How he went on in the originals wearing that... that is so claustrophobic it’s untrue. It’s literally solid all over. Once you put your arms in, you can’t move. You can’t get out of it.

The thing just clips on and it’s horrible. I was like “Get this done. Do it and get me out of it.” It’s fucking horrible!

Keith: I kept that! (Laughs)

Paddy: You’re welcome to it.

Keith: I thought you wanted it at first but when I saw you wearing it I thought “That’s mine”.

How did you go about casting the series? Because you’ve got some amazing names.

Paddy: We wanted to get proper actors in to do the meaty bits. So when you get people in like Stephen Tomkinson, Anna Friel, Sarah Parish and Michelle Keegan, they’re just really really good at it. We wanted people who you don’t normally see on stuff like this.

Keith: And people that we haven’t done stuff with. There’s a couple of people like Schofield.

Paddy: Yeah, we’ve got the usual suspects like Ant and Dec, Phillip Schofield and Andi Peters... and Spit the Dog!

Keith: Yeah, what’s the polite term for that booking? Kitsch?

Paddy: With Stephen Tomkinson, because he’s a proper actor, we wrote him in in a way where he comes on set as this actor person, taking it very seriously, and his hatred of Keith grows throughout the episode. Just for that little story arc and seeing this little thing growing between Keith and Stephen, Jaws is one of my favourites. It’s a very very funny episode.

Keith: While my soul was destroyed because I thought I got on with him.

And what about Robbie Williams?

Paddy: The thing about Robbie is that he’s a funny lad when you’re with him. He’s got a good sense of humour. But he really got stuck into this and even though he’s a massive star, when he came on set he just hung around with us all day.

In between takes he never went “I’m going back to me room” - he just stayed on set.

Keith: Because there weren’t a room! (Laughs)

Paddy: (Laughs) Yeah, there were nowhere for him to go to. He thoroughly enjoyed it.

You touched on the format of the series earlier, so this is one film per episode is that right?

Paddy: Yeah, and when you were talking earlier Keith about them wanting to put multiple films in one episode, I mean we struggled with half hours. There’s so much to get in so it’s a difficult one when you’re editing it because you don’t want to lose the flow of the story and the jokes and everything else. But you have half an hour, which on ITV is like 24 minutes.

We could have easily done two films. We could have done three or four films! But you just wouldn’t have seen hardly any of them. We’ve just about got away with it in half an hour.

Keith: The simpler the film, the better. Dirty Dancing is quite a simple storyline so that makes more sense in half an hour. Something like Return of the Jedi is all over the place. There are massive bits missed out and in the show you see us talking about why we’ve missed that out. Also, if you haven’t seen it we’ll tell you. For example “Luke Skywalker goes here now. But we couldn’t afford to film that."

Paddy: Yeah in between scenes it cuts to us talking to camera which helps string it all together as well as behind-the-scenes. So you get a sense of the storyline, even if you’ve never seen the film before. It still amazes me when people say that they’ve never seen Rocky!

Hopefully they’ll watch this and then go and watch the original.

Keith: I’d love it if ITV would play the originals after.

Paddy: That’d be nice yeah. We can but dream.

It looks as though you had a brilliant time making the series. Did you?

Paddy: It was an absolute pleasure, and I said this the other day on something or other, it’s the best thing I think I’ve ever worked on.

Keith: Same here. I’ve said it every time.

Paddy: You’re working with your mates, and I’ve worked with plenty of mates in the past, but because we both love films so much. I’ll never forget the first time we pitched it years ago, I won’t say which channel, we said “We’ve got this idea and we’re going to recreate some films” - and they went “Films? Is that a bit niche?” and I went “What?! The things that everyone watches? Niche?!"

It sounds a bit sickly, but at the end of every day we’d be hugging ‘cos we’ve had another great day. We never had any bad days. It were just lovely to do and I’m very very proud of it. When you see the final episode, hopefully you’ll enjoy it.

Keith: It was living the dream because we’re big movie buffs. I think that was they joy for everyone else and we got joy from watching them. i think they were living the dream also. Being a Ghostbuster or being eaten by a shark!

Were you tempted to ask anyone from the original films to be in the series?

Keith: I think if we get a second series that’s what we’re talking about. Because the nature of the films that we do - and I mean this in the nicest way - a lot of them are fallen stars now, so you could get certain people.

You couldn’t get Bill Murray, but maybe lesser characters. And it’s nice to go “That’s the actual guy!"

Paddy: It’s like the bits when we did the Sketch Show and you’d have Mark Arnold from the original Teen Wolf. So you’ll have an ensemble cast who were in all these big films who you could probably get back in when you recreate it.

Keith: I was talking only the other night to Zach Galligan who was Billy in Gremlins, and I said if this goes well we’re hoping to do a Christmas show where we’ll do a mashup of all of our favourite Christmas films. And I said it would be brilliant if you could come and be Billy and he’s well up for it!

So you’re definitely up for doing more?

Keith: I’ll do this for the rest of my life if they let me. There’s loads of films ain’t there?

Paddy: We’ve got this idea of doing Christmas special with Christmas films, a Halloween special with all horror films as well as a regular series as well. We’ve got tons and tons of ideas an films. That’s the difficult thing about this job, the debates about what we’re going to do.

Because everyone’s got their favourites and we’ve got to look at what we can do with it and everything else, but it’s a good position to be in.

Keith: You’ve got to be able to replicate it. But again, saying that, Return of the Jedi makes that sentence totally nonsense because it’s all set in big sets! Real world ones are easier obviously.

We’re used to seeing you on ITV2, did you have to approach this slightly differently because it’s on the main channel?

Keith: The nature of the film dictates language really. And what time it’s on. In Ghostbusters or Return of the Jedi or Dirty Dancing or Jaws or Rocky, no one says motherfucker so we’re lucky! (Laughs)

Paddy: Also, we’re not taking the piss out of the films are we? We wanted to be pretty faithful to them.

Keith: Oh no, they’re all films that we love. You might not think that we’re Dirty Dancing fans but we wouldn’t be doing this if it weren’t for Dirty Dancing.

Which leads me on to your arrival at the NTAs earlier this year...

Keith: We went straight from set.

Paddy: We very nearly didn’t make it. We were in the back of the car pissing into plastic bottles. I was on the motorway dressed as Patrick Swayze with the door open, leaning out with a plastic bottle and pissing in it.

He’s got full tights on and everything! And because I’d had a piss he then wanted a piss so I had to sling my piss out the window, give him my used bottle which was still warm. Then he’d piss in the bottle and literally we were the last people on the red carpet.

They rung us while we were in the car and said “If you’re not here in the next one minute you’re going in round the back.” And I thought, fuck me. How the mighty have fallen? Pissing in bottle and not even going up the red carpet.

But we made it and I lifted him up and all the rest of it - we did that about four times - then we got in there. I was like “Can you fucking believe what has just happened in the last hour and a half?

Keith: I didn’t have time to get changed!

Paddy: I went up to the bar, got changed, he’s just sat there random on telly next to Fearne Cotton dressed as a woman! (Laughs) Fucking hilarious.

Keith: No explanation. What I loved about it is that it showed that we could do the lift. Because whenever I show people us doing the lift they go “How did you do that? Are you on wires then?” We did it three times on the red carpet!

Paddy: The third time were a little bit shaky! (Laughs) Me shoulders had gone by then.

The Keith & Paddy Picture Show starts with Dirty Dancing on Saturday 6th May at 9:15pm on ITV


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