Bo' Selecta! is a British TV comedy sketch show which ran for three series on Channel 4 television and had several spin-offs. Written and created by Leigh Francis, the programme involved lampooning celebrity culture, featuring Francis himself in a series of surreal, often crude, celebrity imitations using rubber masks. Notable personalities spoofed in the series included Michael Jackson, Melanie Brown, David Blaine, Kelly Osbourne, Elton John and Craig David. The title of the series originates from David’s single Re-Rewind, which contains the line "Re-Rewind", when the crowd says "Bo Selecta!".
The programmes were bookended by Francis as an Eastern European celebrity stalker known as Avid Merrion, who would conduct interviews without the celebrities involved realising he was in character, a similar concept to the original Ali G performances. In nods to the 'cult of celebrity', the character was revealed to have Craig Phillips, the winner of the first Big Brother UK TV series, locked in his cupboard. A second character involved in celebrity interviews was Francis as ‘The Bear’, a small creature that would get erections at inopportune moments during interviews.
Although ratings for all three series were strong, critically the show has been singled out for allegations of racism, misogyny, or just being wilfully puerile Nevertheless, the series, for a time, made its mark on modern society, including being referenced in an episode of The Office
In April 2006, a fourth series of Bo' Selecta! was commissioned by Channel 4. Known as "Bo! in the USA", the first episode aired on 13 October 2006. Verne Troyer, best known for playing the vertically-challenged character "Mini-Me" in the second and third Austin Powers films, features regularly as The Bear's Hollywood agent. Barunka O'Shaughnessy stars as Sascha Merrion, Avid's wife and sister. The series is set entirely in the USA, with Avid and Sascha running a luxury hotel, but retains most of the regular characters, as well as some new ones.
Series 1 = 6 Episodes
Series 2 = 8 Episodes
Series 3 = 9 Episodes
Series 4 = 6 Episodes Plus X-Mas Special (Bo' In The USA)
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