Shane Allen, the BBC’s new controller of comedy commissioning who worked with Boyle at Channel 4 where he made his last series in 2010, has revealed that he would like to see the comic have his own series at the corporation, despite the outcry it may cause.
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.
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.
Soon after, a Channel 4 pilot for a show called Frankie Boyle’s Rehabilitation Programme was quietly dropped but Allen now says the format, which he describes as “Wogan but with paedo jokes”, may be brought to the BBC. In the show Boyle takes a controversial position and asks the audience and invited guests to argue with him.
Boyle last appeared regularly on the BBC in 2009 on the panel show Mock the Week. He left following a series of controversial jokes, including one in 2008 about swimmer Rebecca Adlington that the BBC Trust ruled should not have been broadcast.
“I’m not going to suddenly stop admiring his unique comic talent because I’ve switched teams,” Allen told the Guardian.
“I worked with him at Channel 4 and I admired him but it wouldn’t be my first move to get him on air it would be quite bold. I want to make sure that we have the right vehicle and the right channel and that Frankie would get all the support from the top down and the thing about Frankie he has gone through a couple of media storms.
“For me, Frankie shares the same provocative, edgy comedy danger that Billy Connolly had early in his career and Billy is now hailed as a national treasure. I think TV can accommodate someone like Frankie now and it’s a shame we didn’t have more of Billy Connolly on telly in the 70s.”
Allen also confirmed that he is bringing over another of his former comedy talents from Channel 4, Peter Kay.
Peter Kay, who found fame with hit Channel 4 comedies such as Phoenix Nights and Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere will make his BBC debut with Car Share, a BBC1 comedy that will be the first mainstream show to premiere first on the BBC’s internet service iPlayer.
In the comedy, which could air on BBC1 as early as this autumn, Kay stars alongside Sian Gibson as a pair of supermarket workers forced to drive together in a company car share scheme.
Allen also revealed that he is also overseeing Mr Pompidou, a silent comedy the first non-verbal comedy from Little Britain performer featuring Matt Lucas, scheduled for 2014.
“In a crude sense it’s Matt’s Mr Bean moment,” said Allen. Another commission is a new comedy from Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong, a three-part comedy called Sex and Politics based on a politician who is compromised by his personal sexual appetites.
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