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Frankie Boyle

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Frankie Boyle

Frankie Boyle
Birth name Francis Martin Patrick Boyle
Born (1972-08-16) 16 August 1972
Pollokshaws, Glasgow, Scotland
Medium Stand-up, Television
Years active 1995–Present
Genres One-liners, Black comedy, Blue comedy, Surreal humour, Improvisational comedy, Insult comedy, Political satire
Subject(s) Scottish culture, Celebrities, Politics, Family, Current events
Influences Jerry Sadowitz
Children 2
Website .comfrankieboyle

Francis Martin Patrick "Frankie" Boyle[1] (born 16 August 1972) is a Scottish comedian and writer, well known for his pessimistic and often controversial sense of humour.[2] He was a permanent panellist on the comedy panel show Mock the Week for seven series and has made guest appearances on several other popular panel shows including Have I Got News for You, 8 out of 10 Cats, Would I Lie to You?, You Have Been Watching, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and Argumental, as well as writing for Jimmy Carr's Distraction and Sean Lock's TV Heaven, Telly Hell.

Early life

Boyle was born and brought up in Glasgow to Irish parents from the Crolly area of Co. Donegal. He went to Holyrood Secondary school in Glasgow. After leaving school he attended Aston University for a year (where he studied Urban Planning) before leaving and starting a BA in English Literature at Sussex University.[3][4] He got his big break after performing at The Stand Comedy Club in Edinburgh, a venue that has also helped launch the careers of Stewart Lee, Johnny Vegas, Dara Ó Briain and Michael McIntyre.[5]



Mock the Week

Boyle was a regular on the BBC panel show Mock the Week until October 2009, a show in which the panel comment humorously on various news stories from the British media. He has been referred to as the "dark heart of Mock the Week" by host Dara Ó Briain.[6] He is known for his morbid sense of humour, which plays on negative images of celebrities, politicians, and society (particularly his home country of Scotland). On 2 October 2009, Boyle announced that he was leaving the show to concentrate on other projects. It was announced to the public via Facebook on the Mock the Week fan page.[7][8] Boyle has since criticised both the show's production team and the BBC Trust. He claims that the show did not cover enough major news stories, and was too restrictive on his risqué comedy act because the producers and the BBC Trust were afraid of "frightening the horses".[9] He is seen in archive footage of Mock the Week on the 2009 Christmas Special, which aired on 22 December 2009, as a series of "Best Bits and Festive Clips" and on the 2012 Christmas Special, which aired on 27 December 2012.

Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights

In October 2009, Boyle piloted a sketch and stand-up show for Channel 4, entitled Deal with This, Retards to be produced by RDF Scotland subsidiary the Comedy Unit.[10] Boyle mentioned on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross that the original title of the show had been dropped, due to its offensive nature, and been renamed Tramadol Nights and aired from the end of November 2010.[11] An official page launched via Channel 4's official website, which confirmed that the show's full name is Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights and the series was made up of six episodes.[12] Boyle caused controversy on the show with his comments about Katie Price and Dwight Yorke's disabled son Harvey.

Frankie Boyle's Rehabilitation Programme

On 21 August 2011, it was revealed that Channel 4 had given Boyle permission to record a pilot for a topical talk show in October of that year, which would be called Frankie Boyle's Rehabilitation Programme (despite the controversy surrounding Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights). Channel 4 head of comedy Shane Allen told the press that "it's very much like Parkinson or Wogan, but with paedo jokes" and that the show would feature Frankie "in a studio, riffing off the audience a bit with some people challenging what he says".[13] After the pilot (which was said to be "non-transmittable") was recorded, it was announced on 30 January 2012 that Channel 4 had chosen not to commission the series, nor were there any plans to commission a second series of Tramadol Nights.[14] The pilot episode was included as a bonus feature on the DVD release of Frankie's third stand up tour, The Last Days of Sodom and featured guests Jack Whitehall and Reginald D. Hunter.

The Boyle Variety Performance

The Boyle Variety Performance was broadcast on 19 August 2012 and featured Boyle with guests Rob Delaney and Nick Helm. A few days after the show was broadcast, Boyle attracted criticism after he posted jokes on Twitter about the 2012 Summer Paralympics.[15]



A sitcom set in a small regional theatre starring David Mitchell as a misanthropic writer with writer's block written by Frankie Boyle and Steven Dick, broadcast on BBC Radio 4 from 5 June 2014.[16]


On 1 October 2009, Boyle's autobiography My Shit Life So Far was released,[17] published by HarperCollins.[18] His second book Work! Consume! Die! was released in October 2011. Boyle's third book, Scotland's Jesus: The Only Officially Non-racist Comedian, was released in the UK on 24 October 2013.[19]

Live shows

In October 2007 Boyle embarked on a long stand-up tour of Britain, playing over 100 dates and enjoying a sold-out run that was extended through until December 2008. Boyle said that he planned to quit stand-up before he turned 40, had written his final tour and plans to do more television work after this.[20] Boyle performed the tour, entitled I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face between March and December 2010.[21]

On 21 November 2011, at a "Meet the Comedians" session in the Apple Store, Regent Street with Jimmy Carr,[22] Boyle announced he was doing another tour entitled The Last Days of Sodom, despite intending I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face to be his final one. He mentioned the tour will not be as long as its predecessor. His website has stated it will run from July to December 2012 with more dates to be added.[23] Tickets went on sale in December 2011.[24]

DVD releases

On 10 November 2008, Boyle's first DVD was released,[6] featuring a sell-out stand-up performance given at London's Hackney Empire and some additional material, including a documentary about the tour, entitled Fuck You Scotland, and some sketches from the BBC Three comedy Rush Hour.[25] The DVD was described by as "certainly not one to watch with your grandparents – not unless they are pretty open-minded!"[26]

Boyle has also featured in three DVD compilations of material from Mock the Week. The compilations, entitled Too Hot for TV, include material deemed too offensive for broadcast on TV and uncut versions of several full episodes. Boyle's second live DVD, If I Could Reach Out Through Your TV and Strangle You I Would, was released on 15 November 2010.[27]


On 16 July 2009 Boyle's first, and only, podcast was released.[28] Entitled Mock the Week Musings, the podcast is a recording of Boyle testing the material he has written for Mock the Week to a London audience. Boyle comments on his material throughout and often informs the audience that certain jokes are not going into the show due to their reaction (or lack thereof), and the podcast carries an explicit content warning. The recording includes some audience interaction, with Boyle offering to test some of his new "put-downs" on the crowd.[29]

Comic book

In September 2010, Boyle began publishing his comic strip Rex Royd in the launch issue of CLiNT magazine, co-written with comedian Jim Muir and with artwork by Michael Dowling.[30] The story follows a Lex Luthor-style newspaper magnate with a super-villain alter-ego. Initially, the strip ran for first four issues of CLiNT. The strip resumed again in November 2011, until the final issue in August 2013, when publisher Titan announced that CLiNT was ending.[31]

Other appearances

Boyle appeared as himself in the video game Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned, in a stand-up routine at Liberty City's Split Sides Comedy Club. He appeared on Real Radio Wales' weekly comedy show Comedy Nighthorse on 19 October 2011.


Rebecca Adlington

Boyle managed to attract criticism in August 2008 when complaints were received about comments he made regarding British swimmer Rebecca Adlington on Mock the Week, saying that she "looks like someone who's looking at themselves in the back of a spoon". The BBC ruled that the jokes were indeed "humiliating" and "risked offending the audience", while also calling Boyle "a brilliant member of the team".[32] Despite this, Adlington's agent said that simply admitting mistakes was not enough, saying: "By giving Frankie Boyle a rebuke they fail to discourage others from doing the same."[33] Adlington later went on to comment on this issue.[34]

The Queen

In October 2008, during The Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row, Boyle found himself in the midst of a scandal when the BBC broadcast a Mock the Week repeat in which he made a joke about the Queen. Whilst pretending to be The Queen in the "Scenes We'd Like To See" segment of Mock The Week, Boyle said "I am so old, my pussy is haunted" . This caused many to complain about the state that the BBC had come to with Conservative MP David Davies calling the joke a "disgracefully foul comment".[35] Boyle was eventually cleared of any misconduct by the BBC Trust, although they called the comment "sexist and ageist".[36]

Down's Syndrome

In a performance on his 2010 tour, Boyle interrupted a "long, seemingly semi-improvised skit" about Down's syndrome by challenging a woman in the front row who seemed uncomfortable with the material.[37] The audience member explained that her five-year-old girl had the condition, and strongly criticised Boyle's portrayal of Down's syndrome.[37][38][39] Mencap spokesman Ismail Kaji said that the comments could be misconstrued and seen as "no different to bullying".[39]

Palestine and Israel

In April 2010, the BBC Trust's Editorial Standards Committee apologised for a joke made by Boyle on Radio 4 panel show Political Animal in which he likened the situation in Palestine to "a cake being punched to pieces by a very angry Jew". Boyle also made another joke where he said that he had "been studying Israeli Army martial arts. I now know 16 ways to kick a Palestinian woman in the back".[40] In response, Boyle published a letter in which he criticised the Trust's "cowardly rebuke of my jokes about Palestine" and reprinted the jokes in question. He then criticised the BBC for not broadcasting a humanitarian appeal during the 2008–2009 Gaza War, saying that it was "tragic for such a great institution but it is now cravenly afraid of giving offence and vulnerable to any kind of well drilled lobbying." Boyle then said that the situation in Palestine "seems to be, in essence, apartheid", concluding that he had reached this position after watching a documentary about life in Palestine that he said had driven him to tears.[41]

Harvey Price

In December 2010, both Katie Price and Peter Andre were said to have been left "absolutely disgusted and sickened" by a joke that was made on Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights about Price's heavily disabled son, Harvey. On the show, Boyle said: "Apparently Jordan and Peter Andre are fighting each other over custody of Harvey, well eventually one of them'll lose and have to keep him." Then he added: "I have a theory that Jordan married a cage fighter (Alex Reid) cause she needed someone strong enough to stop Harvey from fuckin' her."[42]

Andre's representative also responded to the comments made by Boyle and said "We're all disgusted by these comments. Peter is angry and very upset at Harvey being mocked in this way. Children, especially a disabled youngster, should be off-limits." Both confirmed that they had sought legal action and wrote a complaint to Channel 4 regarding Boyle's jokes with Price saying: "To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable; to broadcast it is to show a complete and utter lack of judgement. I have asked my lawyers to write to Channel 4."[42] Ofcom confirmed that Price issued a complaint and accordingly launched an investigation into the programme.[43] In April 2011 Ofcom ruled Channel 4 had breached broadcasting rules by transmitting the material in question but did not require the network to broadcast an apology saying that it was an "erroneous decision on a matter of editorial judgment on the broadcaster's part". Price criticised the decision not to require a broadcast apology.[44]

Boyle discussed the material onstage at a charity gig some months later, saying that the joke was intended to highlight how Price exploited her son, and that he felt the two aspects of Price's media profile, "her disabled son and her sexuality", did not belong together. He rejected comments that the joke may have led to playground bullying, saying that "I find it hard to believe there are kids at that school who would like to slag Harvey, but can't think of an angle."[45]

2012 tax controversy

In June 2012, The Daily Mail accused Boyle of avoiding £873,388 in taxes through a process of liquidating one of his companies, "Traskor Productions Limited", making him liable to pay only 10% tax instead of a maximum of 50%.[46] Boyle strongly rebutted the Daily Mail's claims, saying on Twitter: "From 2007 I have paid £2.7m in tax and this equates to just under 40% of my income. There's a lot of things people do to avoid paying tax and I don't do any of them. I wound my company up for legal reasons separate from tax and my accountant applied for tax relief on this. This tax relief is approximately half of the tax saving the Mail quoted in its article today. I am certain I pay more tax than most people in show business and the cabinet."[47]

Allegations of racism and libel action

In July 2011, the Daily Mirror published an article which strongly criticised Boyle, alleging he had been forced to quit Mock the Week and describing him as a 'racist comedian'. In response, he sued the Mirror for libel, and in October 2012 a jury found in his favour, ordering the Mirror to pay him £54,650 in damages, all of which he donated to charity.[48]

Give It Up for Comic Relief

On 6 March 2013, Boyle caused controversy when he was invited to perform at Russell Brand's BBC Three fundraiser Give It Up for Comic Relief. He made a series of jokes about Queen Elizabeth II, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Oscar Pistorius, Pope Benedict XVI and the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal. Boyle opened his performance by exclaiming: "Genuinely quite surprised to be here. I thought the only way I'd ever get back on the BBC would have been if I started fucking kids.", and then went on to claim that "I think the BBC made Jimmy Savile wear that jewellery so children could hear him coming."[49] He also said: "I can't believe she [the Duchess of Cambridge] is pregnant to be honest because she told me she was on the pill." Taking a dig at the Queen, he said: "I wish the Queen had died the night before the Royal Jubilee. I wish she'd just fucking died. But they wouldn't have been able to tell us that she'd died. They would have had to hollow out her body and get that guy who plays Gollum to wear it."[49] This was deemed so distasteful that his entire six-minute performance was cut out of the 3.5-hour show. Several newspapers claimed that Boyle was booed by the audience, although this wasn't true.[49]

Other controversies

Boyle also caused controversy with his 'Frankie Boyle Live' DVD, which included jokes based around the kidnapping of Shannon Matthews. He also joked about the brother of F1 driver Lewis Hamilton having cerebral palsy and the suicide of Mark Speight, the presenter of British children's art programmes SMart and SMarteenies, by saying: "Apparently, his suicide note was amazing. He'd done it all in seashells and glitter."[50][51]

Personal life

Boyle lives in Glasgow with his girlfriend, Shereen Taylor,[52] and has two children: a daughter (born 2004) and a son (born October 2007). He has admitted that his career had caused him to neglect his family.[53] He is a recovering alcoholic, having started drinking at the age of 15 and stopping at 26, and former drug user, who is now teetotal.[54][55]

He is a follower of Noam Chomsky and says that he has had a great influence on his political beliefs, claiming to be more left wing than Chomsky.[56] During one of his interviews, he has also claimed to be a follower of Advaita Vedanta.[57]

In July 2013, Boyle supported Shaker Aamer, the last UK resident being held at Guantanamo Bay, by going on a hunger strike.[58]

Boyle is a supporter of Scottish independence.[59]



Title Episodes
Mock the Week 64
8 out of 10 Cats 7
Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights 6
Rush Hour
Argumental 4
When Were We Funniest?
Never Mind the Buzzcocks 3
Would I Lie to You?
You Have Been Watching
Live at the Apollo 2
Have I Got News for You
News Knight with Sir Trevor McDonald
Burnistoun 1
The Charlotte Church Show
Alan Carr: Chatty Man
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross
The Graham Norton Show
They Think It's All Over
The Jonathan Ross Show

Live shows

Year Title
2007–2008 Morons, I Can Heal You
2010 I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face
2012 The Last Days of Sodom

Stand-up DVDs

Year Title Notes
2008 Frankie Boyle Live Live at London's Hackney Empire
2010 If I Could Reach Out Through Your TV and Strangle You, I Would Live at London's HMV Hammersmith Apollo
2012 The Last Days of Sodom Live at Glasgow's King's Theatre


  1. ^ "For a long time, having to do a stand-up gig would ruin my day". 24 July 2007. Retrieved 14 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Frankie Boyle : Dave". Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  3. ^ Boyle, Frankie (16 November 2008). Confessions of an urban planner. Interview with Roz Laws. Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  4. ^ Boyle, Frankie (24 August 2012). Q&A: Frankie Boyle. Interview with Rosanna Greenstreet. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  5. ^ Claire Sawers (20 December 2009). "Where Frankie Boyle got his shot at fame". London: Times Online. Retrieved 24 December 2009. 
  6. ^ a b Dalton, Stephen (1 November 2008). "Is Frankie Boyle the UK's most shocking comic?". London: Times Online. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  7. ^ "Boyle leaves Mock The Week panel, BBC, 2 October 2009". BBC News. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  8. ^ Jody Thompson. "Frankie Boyle reveals why he quit Mock The Week and spills beans on new Channel 4 show". Mirror. 
  9. ^ "Frankie Boyle slams Mock The Week". uk.msn. 27 October 2009. Retrieved 1 November 2009. 
  10. ^ Parker, Robin (2 October 2009). "Broadcast Now, 2 October 2009". Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  11. ^ Mayer Nissim. "Frankie Boyle dismisses comedy controversy". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  12. ^ "Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights". Channel 4. 29 December 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  13. ^ Foster, Patrick (21 August 2011). "Channel 4 line up return for Frankie Boyle". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Anderson, Niamh (30 January 2012). "Foul-mouthed Frankie Boyle's comedy show Tramadol Nights is axed after just one series". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  15. ^ Halliday, Josh (30 August 2012). "Frankie Boyle Paralympics Twitter jokes prove last straw for Channel 4". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Blocked". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 11 June 2014. 
  17. ^ "Frankie Boyle launches his autobiography". Intelligent Conversation. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  18. ^ Boyle, Frankie (2009). My Shit Life So Far.  
  19. ^ "Scotland's Jesus". Harper Collins. Retrieved 10 February 2013. 
  20. ^ "Boyle:I'm Quitting Stand up ''''". Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  21. ^ "Frankie Boyle Live Tickets". Ticketmaster. Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  22. ^ "iTunes – Podcasts – Meet the Comedians: Jimmy Carr and Frankie Boyle by Events at the Apple Store". 28 November 2011. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  23. ^ "Frankie Boyle". Frankie Boyle. Retrieved 16 December 2011. 
  24. ^ "Frankie Boyle Live Tickets 2012". Ticketmaster. Retrieved 9 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Frankie Boyle Live DVD (Media notes). Brian Klein.  
  26. ^ Lianne (13 November 2008). "Frankie Boyle Live DVD Review". Retrieved 7 December 2009. 
  27. ^ ''' – Frankie Boyle Live 2"'". Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  28. ^ "Frankie's Podcast". MySpace. 16 July 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2010. 
  29. ^ Frankie Boyle (16 July 2009). "Mock The Week Musings".  
  30. ^ """CLINT WEEK: COMEDIAN FRANKIE BOYLE ROCKS "REX ROYD. CBR. 2 March 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  31. ^ "". 14 August 2013. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  32. ^ Mock' rapped over swimmer jibes"'". BBC. 19 October 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  33. ^ "Swimmer queries Mock show ruling". BBC. 2 November 2009. Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  34. ^ Singh, Anita (14 June 2011). "Rebecca Adlington: I'm over the Frankie Boyle spoon jibe". London:  
  35. ^ Rashid Razaq (31 October 2008). "Corporation attacked for offensive joke about the Queen". Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  36. ^ Tara Conlan (19 October 2009). "Frankie Boyle's 'sexist' joke about Queen cleared by BBC Trust".  
  37. ^ a b Walker, Peter (8 April 2010). "Frankie Boyle meets his match in mother of Down's syndrome child". The Guardian (London: Guardian News and Media Limited). Retrieved 12 April 2010 
  38. ^ "Frankie Boyle criticised for Down's syndrome joke". BBC. 9 April 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2010. 
  39. ^ a b "Frankie Boyle in Down's syndrome row".  
  40. ^ "BBC apologises for Frankie Boyle joke". BBC. 28 April 2010. Retrieved 28 April 2010. 
  41. ^ Boyle, Frankie (1 May 2010). "Frankie Boyle letter about BBC in full". The Telegraph (London). Retrieved 1 May 2010 
  42. ^ a b Christian Tobin (9 December 2010). "Price, Andre "sickened" by Frankie Boyle joke".  
  43. ^ John Plunkett (10 December 2010). "Frankie Boyle's Katie Price joke sparks Ofcom investigation". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 3 January 2011. 
  44. ^ "Ofcom slams Frankie Boyle 'jokes' about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey". 4 April 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  45. ^ "". 22 March 2011. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  46. ^ Wright, Stephen (29 June 2012). "You must be joking: After Jimmy Carr, now Frankie Boyle faces questions over £900,000 tax dodge (despite jibe that rival comic 'ruined family name of Maxine Carr')". The Daily Mail (London). Retrieved 30 June 2012. 
  47. ^ "BBC News". 30 June 2012. Retrieved 3 December 2012. 
  48. ^ Halliday, Josh (22 October 2012). "Frankie Boyle wins more than £50,000 libel damages from Daily Mirror". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 23 October 2012. 
  49. ^ a b c Wyatt, Daisy (7 March 2013). I wish the Queen had died': Offensive Frankie Boyle jokes cut from BBC Comic Relief broadcast"'".  
  50. ^ Leo Benedictus. "The Guardian". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 February 2014. 
  51. ^ Frankie Boyle.  
  52. ^ "Confessions of an Urban Planner; Frankie Boyle The Big Interview". Sunday Mercury. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 21 December 2009. 
  53. ^ "Frankie Boyle: I'll quit comedy in two years". 27 December 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  54. ^ "Frankie Boyle: I've done cannabis, ecstasy and LSD". 11 November 2008. Retrieved 26 July 2009. 
  55. ^ Wyllie, Alice (27 September 2009). "Profile: Frankie Boyle: Frankie mocks the weak".  
  56. ^ Jeffries, Stuart (19 December 2009). "Frankie Boyle lays into celebrity memoirs as his own is a surprise hit". The Guardian (London). 
  57. ^ "frankie boyle the interview". YouTube. 4 August 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  58. ^ "Frankie Boyle hunger strike in support of Shaker Aamer". BBC News. 20 July 2013. Retrieved 20 July 2013. 
  59. ^ "What Offends Frankie Boyle?". The Skinny. 4 December 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2014. 

External links

  • – Official website
  • Frankie Boyle at the Internet Movie Database
  • Daily RecordFrankie Boyle's column in the
  • Upcoming gigs
  • Frankie Boyle live review
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