Frankie Boyle’s controversial Twitter profile makes his return to TV difficult

BBC controller of comedy commissioning Shane Allen says the edgy comic's social media posts could be compromising - but he would never censor anyone and still wants to bring him to the Corporation

Frankie Boyles strident Twitter profile makes his return to mainstream television “more difficult”, his most senior supporter at the BBC claimed today.


Shane Allen, the BBC’s controller of comedy commissioning who has said he wants to bring the controversial comedian to the BBC, said that he would never censor anyone but that social media made his job more difficult.

“It is very difficult in a world where there is free communication,” Allen said at today’s Broadcasting Press Guild lunch.

He said that Boyle could make a show which would meet all the BBC’s editorial guidelines, but then he may be compromised on Twitter.

“I could make sure the show was compliant and so on on…. but then people will say the BBC’s Frankie Boyle has written on Twitter.”

Allen said it was “hard” for comedians when everything they do is public.

“Comedians private lives are no longer their private lives.”

However Allen added he would never issue instructions about what they could and could not post on social media sites as this would amount to “censorship” which would be “hypocritical”.

He said Boyle had been unfairly caricatured as an “offence machine” but defended his comedy which he said was justified because it has “intelligence and a purpose”.

Earlier this year Allen said he was keen to bring Boyle, who has not appeared on mainstream television in his own series for nearly three years following a series of controversies, may be returning to the Corporaation

However Allen, who worked with Boyle at Channel 4 where he made his last series in 2010, today said he has not yet received a Boyle script and was not working on a return.

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 abruptly following outrage provoked by a series of jokes about Paralympic athletes on Twitter in August last year.


Channel 4 declined to officially back or condemn Boyle after the protests. The comments were made on his personal Twitter account but embarrassed Channel 4, which was broadcasting the Paralympics exclusively for television.