Stretching The Boundaries

Channel 4’s refusal to apologise for Frankie Boyle’s sexually offensive comment about Katie Price’s disabled son surely makes them complicit in this piece of abusive material.

It appears that they don’t even want to distance themselves from it, stating that the piece was part of his live act – which presumably makes it OK to air it on national television.

Its accepted that seeing a comedian live will be a very different experience to seeing them on TV.

The bounds of TV-permissible language and content can be stretched, usually with entertaining results. It’s a matter of personal choice and the easily offended choose to stay at home.

I don’t want my humour to be sanitised and am an avid attendee of live comedy gigs where boundaries are pushed – but I draw the line at deeply offensive material that targets the most vulnerable and those least able to respond.

The fact that in this case the subject has a famous parent – and therefore able to respond – is irrelevant.

I went to see Frankie Boyle in Brighton 2 years ago and in this most tolerant and liberal of cities he drew boos and hisses from the crowd on subjects such as rape and teenage cancer. It was a deeply discomfiting experience and I will not be seeing him again. I suspect that I’m not alone.

Katie Price is right to act swiftly in defence of her son; Boyle for his part displays his overweening arrogance by stating that ‘censors are dragging British comedy back by 30 years’.

This particular dialogue, is of course, keeping Boyle in the public eye and I realise that I’m subscribing to that by writing this blog post about it.

However, I believe that the mark of a civilised society is how it treats its most vulnerable members: the young, the elderly and those suffering from illness or disability.

In this particular instance, they’ve been badly let down. The failure of a corporate body to intervene or at least distance itself from a sexually offensive comment about a disabled child needs to be addressed – and quickly.


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