Trisha says her children were bullied in Norfolk over Bo’ Selecta portrayal
PUBLISHED: 07:30 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 07:30 12 June 2020
Television presenter Trisha Goddard has revealed she “felt sick” when meeting comedian Leigh Francis following his portrayal of her on sketch show Bo’ Selecta.
Francis apologised to Goddard and the other black celebrities he wore rubber masks to portray on the show, posting a tearful video to Instagram following the death of George Floyd.
Bo’ Selecta has since been removed from Channel 4’s All4 on-demand service. Speaking on Newsnight, Goddard, best known for her morning talk show Trisha, said she “hated” Francis’s portrayal of her.
The 62-year-old, who now lives in America but was based in Norwich for many years, said: “Let me just tell you, I’ve only just recently discovered how bullied my children were in Norfolk over the character.
“It was the big lips, and all the things that every black child has been bullied about. I can laugh at myself, but it was the racial over the top with the big wide lips and the ‘rice and peas’. I couldn’t watch it.
“A couple of times I bumped into Leigh, I couldn’t even talk to him, I felt so sick. And recently at an awards do, he knows I walked away from him.”
Goddard said Francis spoke to her daughter about the bullying she endured at school due to his work, saying the comedian, who is a father himself, was “absolutely horrified”.
She also criticised Channel 4 for commissioning Bo’ Selecta, which originally aired from 2002 to 2004.
She said: “For an entire corporation to say ‘yes that’s a good idea - let’s put it on and commission it’. We all make mistakes, but if you’re going to apologise, just the words aren’t enough.
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“While I was on air, a couple of times Special Branch had to teach my children not to open parcels sent to the house. They were once scrambled to my daughter’s school. Not because of anything I said, just because of how I look.”
Goddard also denied reports she had “forced” Francis into his apology and said: “After Leigh’s heartfelt apology, the racism, the remarks as a result, because it was seen as me forcing him to do it. I didn’t force him, I didn’t even ask him. I have gone through the most disgusting stuff.”
In his apology, Francis, 47, said: “I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey.”
Born in London, Trisha briefly worked as an air stewardess before emigrating to Australia with her first husband, Robert.
Her TV career took off with her becoming Australia’s first black news anchor woman, before a call from Anglia TV brought her back to the UK.
She became the host of ITV flagship daytime chat show, the BAFTA-winning Trisha, made at Anglia studios in Norwich.
In 2004 she left ITV to join Five in a new programme titled Trisha Goddard, which ran for five years.
During her time in Norfolk she campaigned on behalf of mental health charities and her former husband Peter Gianfrancesco for head of mental health service provider Mind in Norfolk for 14 years.
In 2008 her chat show featured on a Comic Relief episode of Little Britain where the character Vicky Pollard met up with her long-lost father.
Little Britain has been pulled off iPlayer and Netflix this week over the use of blackface by creators Matt Lucas and David Walliams to portray black and ethnic characters, with Netflix stating that “times have changed”.
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