Frankie Boyle finds a new home… at the BBC

The controversial comedian looks to put his past behind him with two new shows for Radio 4 and BBC iPlayer

Controversial comedian Frankie Boyle has made two new comedy shows for the BBC.


In May, the renegade comedian who has not had his own mainstream show for four years, will be appearing in a short sketch programme with Bob Mortimer made especially for BBC iPlayer.

The film, called Frankie Boyle and Bob Mortimer’s Cookery Show, sees the pair satirising the format popularised by programmes such as Saturday Kitchen but with touches of the surrealism viewers might associate with Mortimer (in one scene, they have a set of lights in front of them which light up according to the quality of their banter).

Meanwhile, Boyle is understood to have recorded a pilot for Radio 4 called Happies, according to BBC controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen, who has long championed the edgy comedian but has not been involved in either of his latest BBC ventures. These were overseen, respectively, by Radio 4 executives and Victoria Jay, head of iPlayer programming.

Boyle’s last 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.

Recently, Channel 4 comedy head Phil Clarke said there were no plans to use Boyle on his channel.

At the launch of the new-look iPlayer today, BBC director of television Danny Cohen promised that, while online content is not bound by Ofcom guidelines, the BBC had its own editorial standards which it would abide by.

Cohen admitted he wasn’t a fan of some of Boyle’s more risqué jokes but added: “We don’t have any bans on comedians and nor should we. We don’t ban particular comedians because of jokes they may have made elsewhere.”

Jay said that Frankie Boyle and Bob Mortimer’s Cookery Show featured Boyle swearing only once.

Other comedians who will be making special content for the iPlayer, also to be shown in May, include Mickey Flanagan, whose Foxageddon is a monologue about an incident involving a fox and co-stars Derek actor Kerry Godliman.

Morgana Robinson will deliver a series of impressions, while Stewart Lee, Meera Syal, Matt Berry and Reece Shearsmith have all produced their own material.

BBC iPlayer began commissioning comedy pilots in 2012 but this is the first time it has brought in established talent exclusively for the streaming service.

People Just Do Nothing – one of the shows piloted on iPlayer as part of BBC’s so-called Comedy Feeds trials – has been given an extended run. The comedy fronted by Steve Stamp and Hugo Chegwin will premiere a four-part series on iPlayer in May with a BBC3 run to follow.