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Series / Bo' Selecta!

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Bo' Selecta! is a British comedy franchise created by Leigh Francis that aired on Channel 4 from 2002-2006. In the show, Leigh impersonates and parodies several famous celebrities with Michael Jackson, Mel B and Craig David using latex masks often exaggerating their facial qualities. He presents the show under the guise of Avid Merrion, a Romanian stalker with a strange obsession with celebrites. Another popular character is the Bear, who interviews celebrities which often results in his "tail popping out".

In 2005, Bo' Selecta! was transformed into a sitcom involving the Bear and his adopted parents. However the fifth project went back to its original style called 'Bo! In The USA.'

Some of the celebrities parodied in the series include: Michael Jackson, Mel B, Craig David, David Blaine, The Osbournes, Davina McCall, Elton John, Trisha Goddard, John Lennon, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears, Richard and Judy, Lorraine Kelly, Jonathan Ross, Marilyn Manson, Christina Aguilera and George Michael.

Was also the first appearance of Keith Lemon.

This comedy series includes examples of:

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  • Alter-Ego Acting: Leigh Francis never showed his true persona on screen, which led many fans to believe that Avid Merrion was his real name. Eventually, on series 3 onward, he appeared as himself on the DVD commentary instead of Avid.
  • Author Appeal: It's hard to name a lampooned celebrity that's given a trait they don't actually have, the Yorkshire accent is a common one.
  • Celeb Crush: For Avid, this is every celeb.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Almost all of Leigh Francis’ characters.
  • Covert Pervert: David Blaine's "magic tricks" to pick up women.
  • Demoted to Extra: David Blaine had a weekly sketch throughout series 1 but had lesser appearances in series 2. He then disappeared completely.
    • Mel B was a weekly sketch in series 1 but was demoted to extra in series 2 before becoming a main character in next 3 series.
    • Enrique's Mole was a weekly character in series 1 with the “Week In Whole” sketch but was replaced by Jordan/Jodie Marsh's tits in the 'Week In Bits' in series 2. Then the whole sketch was abandoned in series 3 onwards.
    • Stephen, The Bear's squirrel companion appeared in every episode in series 1 and 2. In series 3 and even A Bear’s Tail, he had significantly smaller appearances and by Bo! In The USA!, he had disappeared all together.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Bear’s tail.
  • Fan Disservice: Mel B.
  • Funny Foreigner: Ozzey.
  • Gross-Out Show: The masks are quite grotesque.
  • Jerkass: Stephen, The Bear’s friend.
    • Also, The Bear himself. Especially in A Bear’s Tail where he verbally abuses Lillian and Richard. Also, he accidentally causes Richard to split up with Helena, but he doesn’t seem fazed by it and actually seems to find it quite funny.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: With soooo many of the celebrities in the show, it is difficult to tell if they took Avid Merrion seriously.
    • Averted with The Bear. In the first series, the celebrities didn’t know his ‘tail’ was going to pop out.
    • An out-of-universe example. Craig David blamed the fall of his music career on the show’s portrayal of him. Eventually he insulted Leigh Francis to the extent that Leigh kept his character on the show.
    • Many of the celebrities portrayed find their characters to be funny. Mel B, the Osbournes and Davina McCall made continuous appearances throughout the show in their true persona.
  • Oop North: Craig David is now from Leeds and has a pet bird.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Avid’s stalking is nothing compared to his kidnapping of Craig and chaining him up in his closet and storing his dead mother in his wardrobe.
    • Also, David Blaine is always let off when groping a woman mainly because the magic tricks do work.
  • Repeating So the Audience Can Hear: The Bear does this with Stephen because he only squeaks.
  • Self-Deprecation: The show often makes fun of gingers despite the fact that Leigh Francis is ginger himself.
  • Stalker with a Crush: For Avid Merrion, this is an understatement.
  • Shout-Out: The title takes its name from an Artful Dodger song that features Craig David on vocals.
  • Take That!: An out-of-universe example. When Craig David began to complain that Bo' Selecta! ruined his career and insulted Leigh Francis, Francis reacted by keeping his character on the show and even mention that Craig David (his character) was in America to launch a new career after his one in the UK was ruined by some ‘Bo Giddy!’ show or something. BOOM!
  • Title Drop: Craig David’s catchphrase is ‘Bo Selecta!’
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Avid and The Bear.
  • Villain Protagonist: Avid Merrion is a very disturbing stalker who often sexually harasses those he meets and keeps Craig from Big Brother chained up in his closet.

     Series 1 
  • Ax-Crazy: Elton John’s first appearance involves him killing the postman with an axe for no good reason.
  • Censored for Comedy: The Osbourne family are constantly bleeped while filming their show. Michael Jackson, living next door, is sometimes caught out by it too and realizes he’s just been bleeped.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Most of the female celebrities Avid meets make it very clear that they want him to leave them alone and actually run away from him. Avid then comments that he thinks that they want to have sex with him.
  • Distracted by the Sexy
  • D.I.Y. Disaster: The shelf Mel B made herself.
  • Groin Attack: Parodied. One of Michael Jackass’ stunts involves letting Bubbles smack him repeatedly with a baseball bat between the legs.
  • Gross-Out Show: In one episode, Michael Jackson vomits into a frying pan which his girlfriend, Bubbles, then eats up.
  • Insult Friendly Fire: The Bear tells one of his guests that Stephen is a bit obtuse because he was in a one parent family and grew up without manners. Then he turns to the camera and says ‘No offence.’
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Elton John. And he’s one of the most masculine characters on the show.

     Series 2 
  • All Just a Dream: In the start of episode 4, Craig finally escapes from Avid’s apartment only for it to be Avid’s dream. He wakes up and runs to the closet where he finds Federico from Big Brother 4 chained up instead of Craig. He wakes up again and this time truly finds Craig still locked up in his closet.
  • Ascended Extra: Brian, an extra seen in a Trisha Goddard sketch, is one of the staff in Avid’s show in series 3 and a Michael Jackson fan boy in the programme Who's Sad in A Bear’s Tail.
  • Berserk Button: Kelly Osbourne gets angry incredibly quickly then straight back to calm.
    • Also, the Bear in the final episode of series 2 with Steven.
    Bear: Fuck off, you tit-for-brains! I hate you! I hate him! The little shit! I hate him!
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: The Bear apparently does it with Myleene Klass but is not allowed to show the scene due to legal issues. “Something to do with bestiality laws or something.”
  • Bilingual Backfire: Mel B tries to pick up a man in a club in Spain by asking if he has a condom in Spanish. The man then replies he doesn’t understand her because he’s English.
  • Brick Joke: In ep 1 of series 2, Avid’s new friend is a mannequin of Federico from Big Brother 4 who Avid mimics saying “I would like to see you take a shit. What are you wearing down below?” In series 2, Avid has a nightmare about him where he says the same words. Then he returns again when Avid bumps into him while running from David Sneddon’s security. Guess what he says.
  • Demoted to Extra: Mel B.
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Jonathan Ross, a true parody as Jonathan Ross can’t pronounce ‘r’ sounds. But here, its taken up to eleven.
    Jonathan: Wibble wobble wib wib wobble wobble, no minge.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Parodied. Avid is jailed for harassing Vanessa Feltz at the beginning of series 2’s third episode. While behind bars, he considers stopping stalking celebrities and live his own life. A policeman then tells him he is entitled to one phone call. Who does he call? Vanessa Feltz, of course.
  • Hypocritical Humour: Richard constantly tells Judy not to speak because ‘she’ll spoil it.’ In one sketch, Richard tries to guess what celebrities a phone-in viewer is describing and gets every answer wrong, despite how Judy tries to call Richard’s attention by waving and raising her hand timidly because she knows the answer. Of course, Richard loses and blames it on Judy for talking throughout the game.
    • Davina McCall too. “You’re live on Channel 4, please don’t say ‘fuck’ or bugger’.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Avid’s pronunciation of ‘focus’.
    Avid Merrion: Can you teach me how to fuck-us?”
    • Christina Aguilera has different pants for each day of the week with a different word for them. ‘Come’ is the first one. She then comments that Top of the Pops wouldn’t let her perform with ‘Come’ on her arse.
      • Not so innocent. The pants make up the sentence: Come Over And Rub My Dirty Genie.
  • Irony: When Avid Merrion interviews the real Craig David, the first question he asks is “Is there any one here you wish was dead?” Later, Craig David would reveal he absolutely hated the show and Leigh Francis once stated that Craig David wants him dead.
    • Made even more ironic as Craig answered “Not right now.”
  • One-Steve Limit: Parodied with Mel B and Melanie Blatt.
  • Mood-Swinger: Kelly Osbourne. She goes from reasonably calm to Unstoppable Rage instantly.
    Kelly: We thought your performance was fantastic, except for the fact that I FUCKING HATE YOU! YOU WANT TO GET YOURSELF FUCKING CUT? You have an amazing voice though.
  • Pun: The Bear makes so many.
    The Bear: (to Kerry McFadden) You used to be a Katona, didn’t you? Tell me, how many cats did you own?
  • Rhyming List: Averted at the end of Avid’s poem about Davina McCall.
    ‘Lovely Davina,
    Have you seen her,
    Drinking Ribena,
    In the catena.
    I’ve never been keener,
    To show her my wiener,
    Its never been cleaner.
    Oh lovely Davina,
    She looks just like Xena,
    Warrior Princess with the sword.
    Thank you please.
    • Again when he calls Vanessa Feltz
    ‘Lovely Vanessa,
    I want to undress ya,
    I yearn to caress ya,
    Touch your big fat breast-a!’
  • Some of My Best Friends Are X
  • Talks Like a Simile: Marilyn Manson
    Marilyn: You see, behind that dark, satanic exterior, I’m really as soft as…(camera cuts to Marilyn eating a plate of mashed potatoes) Mashed potato.
  • The Ditz: David Beckham. He is like a giant child.
  • Take Off Your Clothes: David Blaine’s magic tricks revolve around removing a part of the woman’s attire and then appearing on him.
  • The Voiceless: Judy, mainly because Richard doesn’t let her speak.

     Series 3 
  • Affectionate Parody: All episodes of Series 3 start with one including “Shite Rider” and “Crappy Days.”
  • Anal Probing: Parodied. A man driving down the road encounters two aliens. He gets out of the car and two aliens rape him. The fact that this sketch is voiced-over by Marilyn Manson’s character makes it worse.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Which of these famous abbeys charge £2.50 for a look inside? A) Westminster Abbey. B) Bolton Abbey or C) Abi Titmus
  • Camp Gay: Ozzey.
  • Censored for Comedy: Parodied
    Brian: Oh no! The car said BLEEP.
    Charlotte: Brian, you can’t see BLEEP.
    Brian: I didn’t say BLEEP, the car said BLEEP.
    Charlotte: Alright, I’ll have a word with the BLEEP. Don’t bleep that, I said ‘car’ not BLEEP.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Brian, the director on Avid’s show.
    • The Bear when he visits Jamie Oliver because he is impersonating Gordon Ramsey.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Avid asks Kelly Osbourne on a date but she replies “fuck off, I’d rather die.” Of course, Avid takes this as a “yes” and goes to meet her at her house.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Craig David in his ghost hunting special.
    Craig: Casper, Beetlejuice, Slimer from Ghostbusters, Poltergeist from... Poltergeist.
    • Also, Avid to Jodie Marsh. “I noticed you noticed me noticing you.”
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: The one George Michael visits. What makes it disgusting isn’t the vile and tacky walls and floors but what George did there…and what he wants to do there with the cameraman.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Avid Merrion actually explains why ‘Cocknose’ is called ‘Cocknose.’
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: The lyrics of Craig David’s “Soda Pop” come up as a sing-a-long style with a Kes graphic moving across the words accordingly, however when it comes to Craig’s free styling, the Kes graphic begins to get confused and starts to move back along the lyrics before moving in all different directions. Then the subtitler gets confused when he adds ‘…?’ to the end of a verse.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Cocknose.
  • Fanservice: Craig’s co-presenter on I Love Wood.
    • Nadine.
  • FanDisservice: Michael Jackson looks at Bubbles’ boobs using massive binoculars. The audience gets a close-up shot of a man’s hairy chest.
  • Flanderization: Ozzey suddenly became gay and extremely camp in this series.
  • Gag Nose: Cocknose
  • Innocent Innuendo: “Welcome to I Love Wood with me, Craig from Big Brother. Today I’ll be screwing, banging and shelving.”
  • Odd Couple: Mel B and Patsy Kensit’s sketch.
    Mel B: She’s posh as fook and I’m common as mook and together we make a right odd couple. Yer complete set a bastards ya!
  • Precision F-Strike: When Jodie Marsh rejects Avid because she was only booked for one sequence.
    Avid: I wish our guests were booked longer. Fuck.”
  • Porky Pig Pronunciation: Ronnay Barkay.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Avid, when he’s excited, screams like a girl.
  • Think of the Children!: The term “twos on a bastard” is used throughout the series which basically means an unprotected one night stand. Apparently though “threes on a bastard” just isn’t fair on the kiddy.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Michelle McManus loves cake.
    • Also, Jack Osbourne uses the catchphrase ‘Brown Bread’ which means something awesome.
  • Visual Pun: Cocknose. Even Avid points it out.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Martine McCutcheon vomits all the time. Sometimes it is a Vomit Discretion Shot but there are always sick stains on her shirt.

     A Bear’s Tail 
  • Actor/Role Confusion: Keith Lemon confuses Helena Hennerson with Sadie King from Emmerdale.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Richard comes across as this and The Bear doesn’t help at all.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Richard takes the Bear to a counselling meeting. It doesn’t go well.
  • Banister Slide: The Bear pulls one off in an episode.
  • Berserk Button: After Lillian calls him a ‘fanny-wart’, The Bear throws a tantrum because he wanted to say it and temporarily quits the show. He comes back later and calls someone a fanny-wart much to his amusement.
    • Sue, when Bear calls her and Dave “sex-monsters.”
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The Bear notes that they “show some rubbish on Channel 4”.
    The Bear: Thank god for my show.
  • Bumbling Dad: Richard.
  • Censored for Comedy: Common in this series.
    The Bear: I can’t use these chopstick things! I want a BLEEPing knife! What you bleeping that for? I said "fork and knife!"
    • Also the Chaos Theory, which means the characters can’t swear inside the house without being bleeped but they can do it outside the house. However this doesn’t always stick depending on Rule of Funny.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Averted. Keith Lemon spends most of the series practicing martial arts and when it looks like he is just about to use them to free Bear from the circus, he simply slaps the strongman and fails to bend the cage bars.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Helena Hennerson does this a lot.
    (after Richard has just broken up with her.)
    The Bear: Why don’t we watch a movie - I’m thinking Single White Female.
    Helena: How could you be so thoughtless!?! (beat) You know I’ve already seen that movie.
    • Keith has a few of these moments too.
    Helena: Keith, Richard’s left me.
    Keith: Keith Richards' left you?]]
  • Cringe Comedy: Richard’s speech at his wedding reception is just, so, cringy.
  • Crotch-Grab Sex Check
  • Department of Redundancy Department: “An artful dodger named…the Artful Dodger.”
  • Dissimile: “That’s the thing about Keith Lemon, I’m like a little child at heart...A fully developed one though, y‘know, I‘ve get a full set of pubes and such.”
  • The Ditz: Sacha. She never gets anything right in her show.
    (during a live linkup)
    Avid: Sacha, where are you?
    Sacha: I am here.
    Avid: Where are you?
    Sacha: Where is it?
    Avid: Where are you?
    Sacha: It is here.
    • Also Helena, the Bear’s adoptive mother.
  • Evil Is Hammy: Russell Brand as the ringmaster who kidnaps the bear.
    Russell: Why not say ‘colouring book’ or ‘Helix shatterproof ruler!’
  • Fanservice: Jodie Marsh washing her car in a small bikini in the “Desperate Housewife” segment.
  • Flowery Insults: The Bear has a notorious one that Lillian even calls him out on.
    Bear: Well, I wish someone would cut open your stomach, and stick a teapot inside it, so when you sing “I’m a little teapot”, you are actually a teapot.
    Lillian: Well that’s a very creative insult isn’t it!
  • Give Geeks a Chance: Mick Hucknall in his tries to seduce women. But they aren’t interested because he’s ginger.
  • The Heckler: When Richard begins to describe his difficulties with the Bear. The Bear seizes a perfect opportunity.
    Richard: My name’s Richard —
    Bear: —and I’m gay.
    Richard: I recently —
    Bear: —found out I’m gay.
    Richard: Anything I say or do, he thinks I’m a —
    Bear: — That he’s a bender.
  • Hilarious Outtakes
  • Jump, I'll Catch You!! : Part of Keith’s Not So Great Rescue to save the Bear from the circus.
  • "Knock Knock" Joke: The Jimmy Carr parody has one.
    Jimmy Carr: Knock knock. Who’s there? I think you’ll find I am.
  • Lampshade Hanging: “That fire looks so perfect, it almost doesn’t look real.”
  • No Fourth Wall: This programme could win an award for the most demolishing of the fourth wall ever. It is a sitcom where only the Bear, the scriptwriters under the stairs and sometimes Keith Lemon speak into the camera. Also, the scriptwriter writes the script during the programme and characters acknowledge when they have been bleeped.
    • Also, this little gem.
    Bear: How do you know all this?
    Helena: It's in the BLEEPing script!
  • Not So Great Escape: Keith Lemon freeing the Bear from the circus.
  • Precision F-Strike: The Bear is fond of these.
    The Bear: Lillian, Lillian, Lillian, Lillian.
    Lillian: WHAT!?!
    • Also:
    Richard: Language, Bear!
    Bear: Oh, fuck off.
  • Reality Has No Subtitles: The German porn film has English subtitles but The Bear utters a German phrase while watching it which has no subtitles.
  • Running Gag: In series 2 of Bo' Selecta! Craig David said his best friend was a gay, and black, and in a wheelchair and every other minority you could think of. The Bear says the exact same about his crazy ‘bear-stard’ friend in A Bear’s Tail although adds he was albino and a lesbian.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: While watching a German porn film, The Bear begins to talk in German.
  • The Talk: Twice. First time, Helena tells The Bear that a baby is cooked in her tummy, The Bear then tells her ‘Oh stop patronizing me, I know it doesn’t come from your tummy, it comes from your arsehole.’ The next time is when a character asks how Helena got pregnant and tells her when Richard put “his roger in her rubies.”
  • That Came Out Wrong: Richard says this after he suggests they “go into the woods and take a great, big steaming poo.”
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: The Bear.
  • Volleying Insults: Bear and Lillian do this all the time.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: The Bear pukes up repeatedly in episode 4. Made even worse when Richard takes an undigested Haribo dummy sweet and uses it to propose to Helena. Still with sick on it.

     Bo! In The USA! 
  • Ascended Extra: Sacha.
    • Also Keith Lemon in and out-of-universe. Keith would later become Leigh’s most popular character and is now a famous television personality.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Averted. Sacha’s ex-husband was a dog. “She always loved dogs.”
    Sacha: Would you like to stick your lipstick up my bum-bum?
  • Black Comedy Rape: Sacha gives us this.
    Verne Troyer: Why the long face?
    Sacha: It’s from my mother’s side. She was raped by a horse.
  • No Fourth Wall: Craig David’s peregrine falcon, Kes, who has been around for 5 series, is finally noted by Sacha to be plastic, everyone else had been going it was real.
  • This Means War!: Keith Lemon tries to chat up Holly Valance when Craig David has his eyes on her.