Frankie Boyle has landed a topical news show on BBC Two. Keen to become more “contemporary”, the channel has decided to position the controversial comedian as one of its leading voices.
The channel’s controller, Patrick Holland, has yet to reveal details of the format, the title to be used or specified whether Boyle will be appearing live. Although one thing is known - strict impartiality rules mean the show will not air until after June's General Election.
Boyle's tireless cynicism and blistering takedowns have left few unscathed. The Glaswegian writer is well known for his assiduously outrageous, dark and acerbic sense of humour which tightrope walks the fine line between funny and offensive.
If Boyle, who has previously claimed to be more left-wing than Noam Chomsky, is not taking aim at the Conservative government, it is likely to be the royal family or incalculable celebrities. Some of his more risque jokes have even, at times, been censored by the BBC.
With Boyle's show round the corner, now seems as good a time as any to revisit some of the comedian’s most astute takedowns.
David Cameron's childcare mishap
Remember that time the former Prime Minister left his eight-year-old daughter Nancy in a pub after having a leisurely Sunday lunch? Well, Boyle certainly hasn’t forgotten. It might have taken place almost five years ago now but the comedian decided to remind Mr Cameron of the mishap in May of 2014.
After Mr Cameron tweeted a photo of him holding up the “Bring Back Our Girls” hashtag in honour of the 276 school girls who were abducted by Boko Haram, the cutting comedian decided it was time to bring up the embarrassing incident.
Donald Trump has 'the emotional range of a Power Rangers villain'
Boyle has joined the hoards of public commentators who have given their twopence on President Trump and was as fiercely scathing as you’d expect. In an essay for The Guardian last year, Boyle said the mogul-turned-politico had “the emotional range of a Power Rangers villain and the social skills of a teenage Minotaur”.
“He looks like a pumpkin having a nervous breakdown,” he continues. “Talks like the words are being fired out of his mouth by a tennis ball launcher and has the general manner of an arrogant televangelist suspected of murder by Columbo. His approach to public speaking? “If in doubt, switch to your internal monologue.”
Richard Branson's plea to address climate change
Branson has also fallen victim to Boyle’s takedowns. The comedian was not all too pleased after the billionaire Virgin Atlantic boss called for people to do more to tackle climate change and tweeted: “It’s time for bold leadership and conservation for the Arctic.”
Boyle didn’t mince his words when he retorted: “You own an airline you mad c**t”.
Branson responded to Boyle’s remarks, tweeting: “We all use airlines. Even comedians. Shouldn't stop any of us trying to address climate change”.
America's foreign policy
Never scared of voicing his views on governments of the day, Boyle is known for his no-holds-barred, controversy-whipping tirades. Speaking on stage, he summed up America’s foreign policy in just a few simple words.
“Because not only will America go into your country and kill all your people,” he begins. “But what's worse I think is they'll come back twenty years later and make a movie about how killing your people made their soldiers feel sad."
Chris Brown's 'intergender Olympics'
The American rapper is another prominent figure who has experienced the wrath of Boyle. During the London 2012 Olympics, Brown argued that skateboarding and breakdancing should become an Olympic sport on Twitter. In turn, Boyle decided to intervene, referencing the incident of abuse between Brown and his former girlfriend Rihanna:
@chrisbrown Or intergender boxing, you'd be in with a chance of a medal there mate— Frankie Boyle (@frankieboyle) August 5, 2012
The royal family are the result of 'centuries of incest'
A staunch Republican, Boyle is not a fan of the royal family and they have frequently borne the brunt of his blunt monologues. A particularly blistering moment was when he branded the royal family as “the products of centuries of incest” employed “to try to sell fridge magnets” on Have I Got News For You.
The messy battle of the Tory leadership race
Boyle also waded head first into the acrimonious drama of the Tory leadership contest last year. Writing in a column for The Guardian, he summarised the election as “a sort of X Factor for choosing the antichrist”.
“Stephen Crabb has come under fire for links to a group that claims it can cure homosexuality, and, having had a quick look at him, he’s definitely cured me,” he wrote.
“The frontrunner, Theresa May, communicates something horrifying, not through her appearance, but rather her unique expression of unwavering, furious disgust. […] It is the expression Lucifer wore when the other angels attempted an intervention.”
He then turned his attentions to Mr Gove: “Michael Gove needs to get 50 signatures, but at the moment he doesn’t look like he could persuade his mother to sign him off a cross-country run after a leukaemia diagnosis.”
This article was originally published in August 2016