Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In postmodern fashion, Leigh Francis conducts every interview and arrives at every celebrity function in his character guise of Avid Merrion. Francis has taken Andy Kaufman's Tony Clifton creation and carried it to an extreme so that the identity of the performer is completely lost beneath that of the character while in the limelight. Many have trouble understanding that Avid Merrion is a fictional creation and Francis' name means very little in popular discourse.
Francis also plays many other celebrities, using comical masks and inappropriate accents, in sketches in his series Bo' Selecta!. Starting with the fourth series of Bo' Selecta! he will apparently be concentrating on the character of "The Bear" (a rude teddy bear based on Ronnie Corbett), rather than Avid Merrion. This follows the first use of Francis' real name at the head of the titles for the 2004 Christmas special.
Avid Merrion is most famously known from British television comedy sketch show, Bo' Selecta! Avid used to be a stalker of celebrities but is now allowed to socialise with them thanks to his new status as a celebrity himself.
Born in the small town of Arachnipuss near Transylvania, Romania to a father who was a Dracula Impersonator, Avid grew up to be the "number one super fan, here in the world". He came to England because of "something to do with the police".
Merrion lived in his London flat for a long time with his dead mother slouched in one cupboard and Craig Phillips from TV's Big Brother chained up in another. His only other friend was Ozzy, a refugee who used to operate a TV printing business in the flat beneath Avid's.
With his slurred and broken English, ginger mullet, peculiar sexual fetishes and obsession with showbiz figureheads, he made one scary stalker of celebrities. He famously wears a neck brace due to an encounter with Liza Tarbuck which resulted in her punching him in the throat.
Merrion won the 1997 Best Newcomer Award in the 13th Annual British Academy of Adult Movies and Entertainment for his performances in Baker's Dozen and Red and Ready.
Avid spends most of his time harassing celebrities at functions such as book signings or movie premiers. He doesn't see it as harassment though but rather affectionate worship. Due to his hanging around at these events, he became noticed by the media during the third series of Big Brother on Channel Four after he repeatedly attempted to break into the house to get closer to his television heroes.
After this, he was allowed to play his own part in the comedy series Bo' Selecta!. By the third season of this show, his newly elevated status in pop culture allowed him to talk one-on-one with celebrities rather than stalking them so his spots on Bo' Selecta! were transformed into his own chat show.
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