Scottish comedian Frankie Boyle has been axed by Channel 4 following a
string of complaints about his television show.
The station has pulled the plug on the second series of Boyle’s sketch
show Tramadol Nights, as well as a planned chat show starring the comic.
The pilot episode of the chat show, called Frankie Boyle’s
Rehabilitation Programme, was filmed last year but the channel will not
proceed with it
Outspoken: Frankie Boyle has been axed by Channel 4
following a string of complaints about his television show
However, the Glaswegian comic claims he is ‘relieved’ and said he has
‘no regrets’ about the decision to cancel Tramadol Nights.
The 39-year-old said: ‘I was really happy with it, but you can see why
they didn’t want to recommission something that was getting them
front-page hatred, and I was a bit relieved.
A six-week panel show takes six weeks to make. Because I was involved
from storyboard to editing, Tramadol took over six months, and loads of
that was late nights and six-day weeks.’
The Tramadol Nights series prompted more than 500 complaints from the
public after the comedian made controversial remarks last year about
model Katie Price’s disabled son Harvey.
The star ridiculed Harvey – who is blind, severely autistic and has
mobility problems – and Boyle’s comments caused widespread public
Insensitive: Frankie was criticised for making fun of Katie
Price's son Harvey
Channel 4 said the comic’s comments had been approved for transmission
at the time.
Boyle’s lack of apology was criticised by Westminster’s culture, media
and sport select committee, which said: ‘When it is found to have gone
too far, it is important that Channel 4 makes, and is seen to make, a
The charity Mencap – which campaigns for people with learning
disabilities – called for Boyle to be sacked, describing his joke as a
Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, also ruled his remarks as ‘highly
A Channel 4 spokesman said Boyle’s series would be a ‘one-off’ and no
further episodes would be commissioned.
He added that a ‘non-transmittable pilot’ of Boyle’s chat show had been
filmed but there were no plans to turn it into a full series.
The unscreened venture was to have featured Boyle being ‘confronted by
celebrities and members of the public who try to change his
uncompromising world view in a series of funny, informed debates’.
Speaking last year, Channel 4 head of comedy Shane Allen said: ‘It’s
very much like Parkinson or Wogan, but with paedo jokes.
‘It’s him in a studio, riffing off the audience a bit, with some people
challenging what he says.’
Boyle has said he will use his prepared material for the cancelled show
He said: ‘I put a couple of quite long sketch ideas for the second
series into my new book. I wrote them up in a couple of days and went
back and tweaked them every time I thought something was funny. It was a
lot more fun than filming the f***ing things and getting them past
The decision to axe Boyle comes after he sparked fury earlier this month
for making a joke about the McCann family.
Asked if he was following the Leveson inquiry into media standards, the
comic replied: ‘Yeah, I saw the McCanns on there and really wanted them
to go, “Could you round it up in the next few minutes, mate? We’ve left
the kids over in Starbucks”.
‘Just to show they can still have a bit of a laugh,’ he added.
He also joked about missing Madeleine McCann in 2010, when he said that
part of Gerry McCann must have been ‘pleased’ his daughter went missing
so ‘he could use her bedroom as a pool room’.
A Scottish Tory spokesman said earlier this month: ‘Most right-thinking
people will be appalled by these remarks. This is just the latest in a
series of ill-judged comments from this particular comedian – a sure
sign he is running out of anything genuinely funny to say.’
Tommy Sheppard, founder and co-owner of The Stand comedy clubs in
Edinburgh and Glasgow said Channel 4 had made the wrong decision to axe
He added: ‘It looks as if, for all their supposedly radical, liberal
traditions, Channel 4 has knuckled down to the celebrity culture that
seems to permeate society at that moment.
‘Late-night programmes and minority channel programmes used to provide a
platform for more controversial stuff and it is worrying that the wings
of that are being clipped.
‘We need humour which explores the dark side of life, otherwise we
reduce comedy to the contents of a Christmas cracker, a horrendous