“When I’m caressing someone, and he’s got no top on, and all I can feel is that he’s got really long armpit hair and it’s tickling me, I’m just thinking: ‘This is the least erotic thing I’ve ever done in my life.’”
That’s Paddy McGuinness, describing in gruesome detail what it’s like to get intimate with Keith Lemon.
“But why?!” I hear you cry. It’s all thanks to a new comedy sketch series called The Keith and Paddy Picture Show which sees the pair recreate classic blockbusters. The above anecdote refers to one of their many love scenes in Dirty Dancing, where Keith plays Jennifer Grey’s Baby and Paddy takes on Patrick Swayze’s Johnny.
The series will see the duo tackling five films in total: Dirty Dancing, Star Wars, Jaws, Rocky, and Ghostbusters. They say they hope to inspire a whole generation with their half-hour recreations of the movies. “There are kids who will never have even heard of Dirty Dancing,” says Paddy. “And I hope they’ll watch ours and think, ‘Oh, I’ll rediscover that.’”
Rocky: Paddy McGuinness as Rocky and Anna Friel as Adrian
It’s not the first time Keith and Paddy have parodied their favourite films – they’ve previously put their own spin on Dirty Dancing for 2009’s Comic Relief and Forrest Gump on The Keith Lemon Sketch Show. But this new series will be accompanied by mockumentary-style behind-the-scenes footage.
Joining Keith and Paddy in the films is a varied roster of talent, ranging from serious actors and TV presenters to celebrity personalities. With a high-profile star like Anna Friel, Keith and Paddy “thought it would be actually funny not to give her any lines”. Emily Atack, meanwhile, gets turned into a Slimer in Ghostbusters. “She thought she was going to be Dana,” chuckles Keith. Phillip Schofield also makes an appearance and is “shockingly good” as Yoda, while John Barrowman is simply “a beautiful man”.
But for many, the highlight among the show’s guest stars will be Ant and Dec, who “got properly into” their roles as Ewoks in Star Wars. How did Keith and Paddy convince the most-wanted men on TV to get involved? “We told them it were for charity,” they say in unison, wearing grins from ear to ear.
Star Wars: Michelle Keegan as Princess Leia and (possibly) Ant or Dec as an Ewok
The pair clearly have a deep affection for their presenting rivals. They recount a very surreal story where, after a day of filming Dirty Dancing, they had to run straight to the National Television Awards, still in costume.
“We showed up at the NTAs dressed as Baby and Johnny,” explains Paddy. “I walked straight into the toilets because I was late, for a quick wee. Ant’s in there with Dec and their wives, trying to pin his wife’s dress up. I walked out of the toilets into our dressing room and got showered. Walked back out into the corridor and they’re walking past me with an NTA. And I went, ‘You’ve only been in the building 20 minutes! I’ve had a shower and you’ve won a f***ing NTA!’”
“I didn’t even have time to shower,” Keith chimes in. “I had to sit there. Dressed as Baby. Losing to Ant and Dec.”
Celebrity guests aside, it feels remiss not to mention The Sex Scene – the ‘climax’ to episode one where the pair recreate Johnny and Baby’s Dirty Dancing night of passion which by some strange twist of fate sees Paddy on top. As soon as it’s raised, the two burst into uncontrollable schoolboy laughter, admitting it took countless takes and an entire morning to shoot.
Jaws: Stephen Tompkinson as Quint and Paddy McGuinness as Brody
Bizarrely, the scene was filmed in a freezing cold hut in a shooting range, which one can only imagine must have dampened the atmosphere considerably. Keith and Paddy had to repeat the scene over and over because every time they gazed into one another’s eyes, they would fall about giggling. “I can remember looking away quite a lot, I was nervous for that scene,” admits Keith.
Did they enjoy it at all? “I liked it when you were doughnut-ing my belly,” Keith says to Paddy, who by this point is in actual hysterics. (Doughnut-ing, it turns out, is a kind of simultaneous squeezing, rubbing, circular motion.) “Yeah, that was nice,” muses Paddy. “But I think when you’re together and you’ve both got your bellies slapping together” – he makes the sound by clapping his hands repeatedly and maintaining excruciating eye contact with me – “That’s very sexy.”
“I did panic and think, ‘I hope I don’t get a hard on,’” reveals Keith. “Because you can get a hard on on a bus.” To which Paddy replies, “I’ve got to put it on the record, that was never going to be one of my issues. That was never going to happen.”
I try to change the subject, but not before Keith begins to reminisce on his other gay TV moments: “When I kissed Gok Wan, I wanted to properly try it out. Like not just jokingly, but tenderly kiss him. And do you know what? It was the same feeling as kissing a chair.”
One beautiful, tender moment between Keith and Paddy in the first episode is the famous Dirty Dancing lift. Incredibly, they did it in one take, performing it later that day in front of the crowds at the NTAs. The party trick gave Keith bruises on his thighs, while Paddy says he got sore arms. “Christ, yeah, I were in bits.” But they’d both been in training for the big moment: Keith says he hasn’t eaten bread since September, while Paddy’s been working out – or “lost a bit timber” as Keith puts it.
In terms of getting in character, it’s not difficult to guess who loves dressing up the most; when we meet, Keith’s wearing a stripy multi-coloured jacket – “there’s nowt wrong with that, is there?”
In The Picture Show, both men dabble in cross-dressing. “I quite enjoy the ladies’ clothing,” says Paddy. “When I’ve got a nice flowing skirt on and a blouse, oh it’s heaven. Freedom.” Although, standing at over six foot, he says the bras were a bit tight around his back.
Accents, they confess, they struggled with. Especially Paddy. “I like his American accent that sometimes twangs with Bolton,” says Keith.
“Yeah. And Scotland. New Zealand,” adds Paddy. “That’s the one thing I struggled with on this series: a genuine American accent. I can do Batman. What I can’t do is normal, generic American accents… So I just do Christian Bale’s Batman for all my American accents.” He then proceeds to do an impression to the complete and utter delight of Keith.
Ghostbusters: Paddy McGuinness as Venkman, Keith Lemon as Stantz and Robbie Williams as Spengler
Luckily, Keith and Paddy mostly stick to their native Leeds and Bolton lilts on the show. There’s been a lot of talk lately about the representation of regional accents on TV, and the pressure to “posh up” for programmes – have they experienced this?
“I remember when I first started telly it was a bit difficult,” says Keith. “And then Oasis happened and The Stone Roses and suddenly it was hip to be northern. And then I found it much easier. But initially when I moved to London I was mocked a little bit… Sometimes I do posh it up because I can’t be bothered repeating myself.” Paddy says it hasn’t especially affected him: “I’ve never felt the need to get elocution lessons and all that carry on.”
With their northern lilts, and endless fits of laughter, it’s hard not to warm to the duo and join in. “I’m a bit nervous about criticism with this show, where normally I couldn’t give a s***,” admits Keith. “Because we’ve loved it so much we really want people to like it… But if you don’t like me and Paddy, you’ll f***ing detest it.”
The Keith and Paddy Picture Show begins on Saturday 6th May at 9.15pm on ITV