Controversial comic Frankie Boyle has been handed his own topical news show on BBC2.
The channel’s controller Patrick Holland revealed today that the comedian will be fronting the new series, but declined to give RadioTimes.com further details of the format or its name – or to say whether the loose lipped comic will be appearing live. However, he added that strict impartiality rules meant that the show would air after June’s General Election.
He said: “I think the thing with Frankie is he is an extraordinarily strong voice and a passionate voice and he has the ability to be able to explore some of the issues of the day in a way that will be challenging viewing. It’s important that a person like Frankie is given a place on BBC2.”
Holland added that he told senior BBC executives he was keen to bring Boyle back for a full series when he got the job running BBC2 at the start of the year.
He said he had been impressed by Boyle’s iPlayer specials Frankie Boyle’s Election Autopsy in 2015 and Frankie Boyle’s American Autopsy last year, which were given terrestrial transmissions after going online.
Both shows addressed the national elections in the UK and the US respectively and featured guest comics, experts and audience interaction.
“Voices like Frankie’s are important,” said Holland. “If we are going to make the channel feel more contemporary, more relevant we need to look at the issues of the day and Frankie is someone who does that.
“Seeing Autopsy was one of the reasons I was so keen for Frankie to come back. But [the new show] is a different show from Autopsy. It is the kind of tone that Frankie will be able to achieve that I want to see on BBC2.”
As for curbing Boyle’s capacity to attract negative headlines, Holland added: “If you’re on the BBC there are BBC guidelines and the producers of the show know about that. Frankie is keen to be back on BBC2.”
Boyle’s last major TV series was the acerbic Frankie Boyle’s Tramadol Nights for Channel 4 in 2010.
The show was not recommissioned and Channel 4 dropped Boyle following outrage provoked by a series of jokes about Paralympic athletes on Twitter in August 2012. C4 was broadcasting the Paralympics exclusively for television at the time.
Ofcom also ruled in 2011 that comments made by Boyle about Katie Price’s disabled son “had considerable potential to be highly offensive” and were in breach of the broadcasting code.