There’s only one place to be in August, and that’s Edinburgh. Yes that’s right, the capital of Scotland is THE place to be thanks to two things; the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
Unfortunately I’ve never been to either, that was until now. Walking around Edinburgh this week has been brilliant, there’s just so much going on. Everywhere you turn someone’s doing a trick, someone’s singing, someone’s dancing and hundreds if not thousands of people are soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the variety of entertainment that’s on offer. Luckily I’ve been to see some comedy shows and I’m hoping to see some more whilst I’m up here, but the main reason for my trip to Edinburgh is the annual TV festival.
The Edinburgh TV Festival is THE television event of the year. For three days each year, channel controllers, commissioners and talent come together to discuss the industry. New shows are announced, new stats are revealed and pretty much the entire TV industry head up there. This year’s highlights are Sheridan Smith, Steph and Dom from Gogglebox and a live version of Through The Keyhole with Keith Lemon.
I didn’t want to just go to Edinburgh, have all the fun, and not share it with anyone, so every day I’ll be blogging about everything that happened; who was talking, what they were saying and why they were saying it. Basically if there’s an exclusive bit of news that comes out of the festival, I will be reporting it here, so sit back enjoy and follow me on my first ever trip to the Edinburgh TV Festival. I’ll also be live tweeting most of the events so keep an eye on my Twitter, @elliot_gonzalez for the latest news from #EdTVFest.
Kicking off the TV festival was BBC’s Director of Television Danny Cohen in a session called Meet The Controller, which was chaired by Dermot Murnaghan from Sky News.
BBC Two turned 50 earlier on this year and with it came a new controller, and the 13th for the channel, Kim Shillinglaw. Danny was speaking at the festival in place of Kim who is away.
Peak-time share has increased year on year for the channel, particularly down to its strong drama output. But the question everyone wanted answering was – “What’s going to fill in for The Great British Bake Off?” after a switch to BBC One for the most recent series. Danny responded by saying that moving successfully shows like The Apprentice, Who Do You Think You Are? and of course The Great British Bake Off leaves room for creative refreshment, although he does admit that finding those new formats in the hardest thing to achieve. He admitted that Bake Off does leave a big hole and it’s never nice for a controller to lose their most successful show.
Dermot asked the question which all the controllers are going to be asked at this years festival, and that’s “What fictional TV character would you be and why?” – to which Danny replied, “The Doctot’s assistant, because you’re there to enable other people’s brilliance. A bit like being a controller.” Which then led the discussion to talk briefly about Doctor Who and the upcoming new series. Danny said that “Peter (Capaldi) is going to be an astonishingly good Doctor.”
Danny also spoke about Top Gear and the controversy surrounding some of the comments made recently by Jeremy Clarkson. He made it very clear that he was “Incredibly unhappy with his language. Jeremy knows that’s my position and will effect the way the show is viewed in the future. People think it’s an over reaction, it’s not an over reaction. He doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with what his language. He feels very differently about it to me.
He then revealed what the future held in store for BBC Two, which included (rather expectedly) more current affairs, more science, more history and of course more drama and comedy, describing the time we’re in now as “The golden age for drama on TV” and when asked whether the likes of Netflix will have an impact he simply said – “We made 14 drama series on BBC One and BBC Two for the price of two seasons of House Of Cards!” – which if you think about it, is a pretty impressive stat.
As for the future of BBC Three? Well, Cohen made a big point of correcting Dermot Murnaghan when he referred to the channel as “going” – he said “BBC Three is not going. It’s moving online. It’s a very important distinction.” He’s aware that young audiences are being underserved by the BBC and that something needs to change. Personally, I don’t feel the answer is in getting rid of… sorry, moving online BBC Three.
The plan for where BBC Three programmes will sit was also revealed with Cohen saying that between BBC One and BBC Two these programmes will premiere online and then be repeated on normal television. The most likely slots for these programmes would be 10:35 and 11pm on BBC One and after Newsnight on BBC Two. Whilst some may think of this as a graveyard shift of television, a time when no one’s really watching, aka not primetime, Danny defended that by saying that research has shown that a BBC Three audience watch more TV between 10pm and midnight than at any other time, and so over the years BBC Three as a channel have learnt to shift their scheduling accordingly.
He also revealed that Jack Whitehall’s chat show with his father will be making the move from BBC Three to BBC Two for its next series.
And finally Danny Cohen left us with a clip of what he believed to be the highlight show for BBC Two this autumn, Castles In The Sky, which shows the fight to invent radar by Robert Watson-Watt and British scientists.
Next up, and officially opening the festival, was Keith Lemon with a special live edition of Through The Keyhole. On the panel were Sara Cox, Richard Osman and Jason Manford. Instead of entering celebs houses, and what with it being the TV Festival, Keith instead snooped around the houses of two of British TV’s biggest controllers; Peter Fincham (ITV) and Stuart Murphy (Sky).
As expected with Keith, things turned rude and crude very quickly, and Peter Fincham brought up the time that in the early days of Celebrity Juice, Keith stimulated oral sex on him! I mean, I’ve heard of office flings, but that certainly takes it up a notch!
Peter Fincham revealed that one of the favourite shows he’s ever commissioned has been Bo Selecta (no surprises seeing that Leigh Francis was sat next to him!) as well as Alan Partridge. When in his house, Keith witnessed a shelf full of celebrity autobiographies, but noticed that his was missing! The shame of it. Peter did go on to reveal that the book is actually sitting on his desk at ITV which was the perfect opportunity for Keith to then plug his new book Little Keith Lemon which is out in November and subsequently handed Peter a copy.
Things got even ruder and even cruder when it was time for Keith to snoop around Stuart Murphy’s house, especially the moments Keith spent wearing nothing (and I mean NOTHING) but several of Stuart’s ties. The look on Stuart’s face when he watched the footage was a picture, shock and horror is probably the best way to describe, not least the moment where Keith was laying naked on his kitchen worktop! No, really. It’s a shame this won’t be broadcast as it was very funny, very entertaining and the panel were on top form!
Last year Keith Lemon brought back Through The Keyhole on ITV to ratings success and it will return on Saturday 30th August at 9:25pm for a second series. Keep an eye on my blog over the next few days as I’ll be posting my interview with Keith very very soon.
We watched the pilot which will also serves as the first episode of the series, and it was very funny and the chemistry between the two was brilliant.
When asked how they’d met, the answer was “…on Twitter!” which I did not expect and what followed was a blind date in a hotel in LA. And then what followed that was Catastrophe, which is a modern romantic comedy about two characters Sharon and Rob (I’ll leave you to guess who plays who), who meet one night. Rob’s over from America, she’s drunk, he’s sober and they end up having sex which for Sharon is “…the first time I’ve had casual sex with a sober person before!” And lo and behold 89 days later we find out that she’s pregnant which brings Rob back from America and that’s when the sitcom can really begin.
I think Catastrophe showed a lot of promise and I’m really looking forward to watching the rest of the series which starts shooting in October and will be on Channel 4 in the first quarter of 2015.
It’s easily one of Channel 4’s biggest hits and luckily for me standout stars Steph and Dom were speaking at the festival in a session titled ‘Gogglebox Masterclass’. They were on the panel along with the show’s creator Tim Harcourt, the show’s producer David Glover and the Head of Development at Studio Lambert, Chantal Boyle.
First things first, at every talk I’ve ever been to, the people up on stage would drink water but not if you’re Steph and Dom it seems. The first thing I noticed was that instead of the usual water, the posh couple from down south were drinking champagne and had a bottle to themselves. What I loved most was the way that when the talk kicked off and Richard Osman was introducing the panel Steph was busy stirring her champagne with… Dom’s glasses. Don’t worry though, she licked them clean before Dom put them back on.
First things first – “Why do you think people have taken to you too so much?” – was the first question aimed at Steph and Dom by Richard Osman and unsurprisingly the response from Steph was “‘Cos we’re bloody marvellous!” and we then shown a clip of them in the show and I couldn’t really argue with her. They are marvellous. Together with Leon and June, they’re my definite favourites.
The thing we all wanted to know was whether or not the show was scripted, and whether or not they get told what to watch. Put simply, no, they are not told what to say, with Steph rather offended by the thought and said – “How the hell do you script that? (referring to her husband)… seriously! It comes from the weird part of his brain that no one else has got!” – so not, the show is definitely not scripted.
However yes, they are told what to watch and creator of the show Tim, made a very good point as to why that is – “This isn’t a natural history programme, we can’t just sit and wait and hope they watch the same programme.”. Steph was rather optimistic about that, saying that she’s able to watch shows like Educating Yorkshire which she would never normally watch because they brought her mood down, she said “I’ve watched stuff where I’ve been bawling my eyes out and I’ve had to run off to the bathroom and put my face on and get back to it.”
Whilst Dom felt less positively about it – “We do get to watch a lot of shit.”
The other thing we wanted to know was how the show is filmed. Basically the setup is two fixed rig cameras in the room and either locked away in a bedroom upstairs or a dining room next door are four people who make up a mini gallery, but are under strict instructions not to interact with the families.
Interestingly we watched part of the pilot which was called Talk About TV. Another previous title was 242 Minutes because that’s the amount of time we spend a day watching TV. The pilot featured families like the Glover’s from Liverpool who we have never seen, but were actually very entertaining. In fact, the only couple to survive the pilot was Leon and June, although not in their well-known armchairs but on a sofa! I know. Big news. The Glover’s were asked but turned it down, and have been asked since but still turn producers down. Shame, I reckon they’d add a lot more to the show, but there you go
Don’t expect to see an advert to appear on Gogglebox anytime soon as they don’t advertise anywhere. Instead they head out on the street, and do some good old fashioned street casting. They show people pictures of Simon Cowell or the Queen and if they’re reaction is good and they start running their mouth, they’re on the shortlist for the series.
And finally, the big announcement everyone was hoping to hear, Gogglebox will return for a new series on Channel 4 on the 26th September.
WITH JEFF POPE AND SHERIDAN SMITH
I’d been to the press launch of Cilla last week so I already got a flavour for what to expect and if there’s one thing I took away from that it was that Sheridan could not admire Jeff Pope as a writer more than she already does and that Jeff is a brilliant talker.
Talking about Cilla, Jeff Pope revealed that when he came to create Cilla he started at the end, at the moment that Brian Epsteing was found dead next to a contract for Cilla Black to have a TV career, something she never wanted. There’s a lot of singing in Cilla and Sheridan revealed that none of it is dubbed and everything was filmed 100% live – “I sung it all live. On the day it’s terrifying, like being naked infront of your crew. I had singing lessons to sound like Cilla, but there is only one Cilla. ” she said.
Sheridan was also keen to get the point across that she is not impersonating Cilla – “I didn’t want to do a complete impersonation. I’m not an impersonator, I’m an actress.” Sheridan also revealed that after meeting Cilla over lunch, with Paul O’Grady (of course!) Cilla’s son Rob rang Sheridan up the next day and gave her Cilla’s number, and said that she could call her whenever she wanted to. However Sheridan said how she was too scared to call her so never did!
Jeff revealed that after years of blood and gore it was time to do something fluffier, and that fluffier programme is Cilla. Jeff admitted that when he first spoke to Cilla about it, she wasn’t sure where it was going and when asked whether or not Cilla herself has watched it yet, the answer from Jeff was “She’s had the finished copy for six weeks now and I still don’t think she’s seen it. I think she’s very nervous of it.” Jeff revealed that none of the scenes in Cilla have come out of thin air. I haven’t created plot. How I’ve written them has had to come out of my head. And then I’d talk to Cilla.
When asked why she wanted to do Mrs Biggs and what it was that drew her to the role she said it was because she had “…never heard her side of the story, as a woman, and a mother, and wife. I found it really fascinating, her sir of the story. You don’t get scripts like Jeff’s, he’s a genius. When I got the scripts for Mrs Biggs I couldn’t put it down. Jeff took a risk on me letting me play this huge role. It’s all on the page. I didn’t really have to do much acting.”
So where does Jeff go next? We’ve already had Appropriate Adult, Mrs Biggs, The Widower and soon, Cilla but who’s story does Jeff want to tell next? Well, speaking at the TV Festival, Jeff revealed that he is working on a drama with Danny Baker about the broadcaster and a drama about Jimmy Savile may be on the cards – “I’ve had a long think about doing something about Savile, and I’m still thinking…” he said.
PETER FINCHAM AND PAUL MORTIMER
It’s a big year for ITV digitally, with the launch of two new channels. ITV Encore which is already available on Sky and ITVBe which is a free-to-air channel launching in the autumn, as well as the repositioning of ITV2, wanting to make it younger.
Speaking at the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Peter Fincham (Director of Television, ITV) and Paul Mortimer (Controller of Digital Channels, ITV) revealed plans for making ITV2 a much younger channel and what each of the new channels means to them.
Peter Fincham told us how ITV “…wanted to expand in two different directions” and described how ITV Encore was the channel for “high-end drama” and ITVBe was “a fun reality channel”. Paul Mortimer then confirmed the news that TOWIE (The Only Way Is Essex) will be moving to the female-skewing channel ITVBe when it launches later on this year.
Good news for Celebrity Juice fans, the show isn’t going anywhere, and is set to become the channel’s flagship show with an eleventh series airing later this year – “Celebrity Juice we love. It’s the rudest show on television and it has a warm heart.” And there’s even better news for fans of Keith Lemon as a brand new show from his was announced, The Keith Lemon Sketch Show which will be on air next year. When I met Keith the other week he showed me some pictures and let’s just say it’s looking really good!
The golden question was “How are you going to make ITV2 younger?” – the answer was to do a lot more comedy and entertainment. Plebs returns in the autumn, as does The Job Lot which moves over from the main channel as well as new comedy Cockroaches which features BBC Three star Jack Whitehall – “Two years ago we had zero sitcoms. In the next year we’ll have four.” said Paul.
And what about the shows that didn’t perform as well as they had hoped? I am of course talking about Viral Tap and TV OD. Mortimer said – “TVOD was a wonderful show and we love working with Matt (Edmondson), we’ve worked with him on many projects now and we’d love to hold onto him.” – but will TVOD or Viral Tap be coming back? – “We’ve not made the decision to bring it back yet, or Viral Tap.
So is turning ITV2 into a younger channel a way of capitalising on the death of BBC Three as a linear TV channel? “Absolutely not. “We had these plans before the news of BBC Three.” But now that BBC Three is moving online, are they worried that ITV2 may end up the same way if it goes for the same audience? Fincham said – “ITV2 is here to stay. It isn’t going anywhere.” – that’s a no then.
Peter Fincham also confirmed that “We’re doing more with Joey Essex.”, but what about the not so successful Mark Wright? “We would work with Mark Wright again. He’s great talent.” Joey Essex I agree with, Mark not so much. How many formats can one person try before giving up altogether? At least with Joey Essex, the first format he tried, Educating Joey Essex worked from the get go. And what next for Peter Andre who finished his reality series at the end of 2013? Paul revealed that if they were to work with Peter again, he would move to their new female-skewing channel ITVBe.
So if Peter Andre returns he’ll return on ITVBe, TOWIE is moving to ITVBe, but what else will be on the new reality/female-skewing channel? All the Real Housewives programmes will move over from ITV2, there’s going to be a new series called Baby Wears Prada, The Real Housewives of Cheshire, a celebrity version of Dinner Date and confirmed news of a Luisa Zissman and Blue series where they run a bar in Ibiza. No, really.
ITV Encore at the moment is a channel for repeating great ITV drama but Peter Fincham revealed that – “Original commissioning isn’t on ITV Encore yet, but it will. We’re not talking a lot of hours. 10/12 hours a year rising to 15/18 a year. It has to be something that has a different flavour to any drama on ITV (the main channel).”
Next up was a session called ‘Desperately Seeking 16-34s’ which as you can imagine is all about reaching the hardest audience to reach on television… the younger audience, especially in the aftermath of the announcement that from next autumn BBC Three will be moving online (subject to approval by the BBC Trust).
Chairing the discussion was June Sarpong (I know! Where has she been hiding?) and on the panel were (L-R above) Georgia LA presenter of The Fox Problem, broadcaster Rick Edwards, Zai Bennett, the former controller of BBC Three and now director of Sky Atlantic, Dom Bird who’s the head of formats at Channel 4 and finally Ben Cooper who’s the controller of BBC Radio One.
The person we all wanted to hear from of course was Zai Bennett, who shortly after hearing the news that BBC Three was to move online, decided to leave the BBC. It was clear back then that he didn’t agree with the decision, but now he’s settling into his new job, what does he really think about the move?
Well, when June gave him a chance to have his say he said – “I think I made my thoughts pretty clear at the time. It was a perverse decision. The BBC is amazing in what it does but moving BBC Three online and having the budget obliterated I think, is a massive strategic mistake.” He then went on to describe BBC Three as “…a perfect example of a multiple genre channel.”
Rick Edwards who presents Free Speech on BBC Three, a spin-off from Question Time which is aimed at young people and talking to lung audience, also made his feelings very clear – “How it appears to young people is that we’ve got four channels and the one aimed at you we’re going to cut the budget by 75% and move it online where people aren’t watching our shows.”
Georgia LA who is one of the presenters on online entertainment show The Fox Problem, and the only person on the panel in the 16-34 age group, described hearing the news as “A kick in the knickers!” she went on to say that “We haven’t got that targeting programme anymore which I think is sad.” and revealed that one of the reasons she decided to create The Fox Problem with friends Gemma Cairney and Georgie Okell, together with social media production company Telegraph Hill, was because “we thought there was a gap.” And although her show lives solely online she said – “It’s not about TV or online. It’s about mixing the two.” She feels “…broadcasters should be taking a few more risks. Having young people making programmes for young people is probably a good step.”
Whilst Ben Cooper seemed to defend the decision by saying – “Young people are watching TV very differently. The idea of waiting a week to watch another episode is alien these days.”, he then went on to say that BBC One, “…is still the place where most young people watch television.” He did admit though that when the news broke, it felt “raw”.
So there we have it. That’s what the panel thought about BBC Three moving online, but what did they think about the overall task of getting more young people in the 16-34 category watching television? Well Zai Bennett recognised that “Young people are valuable because they’re harder to reach. You’re future proofing longevity. Ben agreed and added that “…you’ve got to keep listening to your audience” if your channel (or radio station in his case) is to have longevity.
And finally, Dom couldn’t get away without talking about T4. After all that was a massive programme for the demographic most broadcasters are trying to hit and Dom made the decision to axe, and two of its best-known presenters June Sarpong and Rick Edwards were sat next to him. Rick accused Dom of not replacing T4 – “…you replaced it with a cookery show nicked from the BBC! (Something For The Weekend/Sunday Brunch) …which I actually enjoy watching!” Dom responded by saying that “…the audiences weren’t there. They weren’t watching. It was correct to decommission T4.”
Rounding off day two of the Edinburgh International Festival was the yearly Edinburgh TV Awards, which this year was hosted by John Bishop.
Bishop was a great host, and I guess to be expected the majority of his opening skit was about Scottish independence.
First up was the ‘Programme Innovation Award’, and the nominees were Him & Her: The Wedding, Live From Space, The Murder Trial, Our Gay Wedding: The Musical and finally Peaky Blinders (although how that’s innovated, I’m not quote sure!) The winner was… The Murder Trial.
Secondly, the ‘Producer/Director Debut Award’ was presented by Gaby Logan and awarded to Marcel Mettelsiefen for the very hard hitting and moving documentary Children on the Fronline.
Next was ‘Production Company of the Year’, and the short list included Big Talk (Him & Her), Kudos (Broadvhurch) , Love Productions (The Great British Bake Off‘), So Television (The Graham Norton Show) and TwoFour (Educating Yorkshire). I was really pleased to see Big Talk win the award
The next award was a brand new one for 2014, ‘Commissioner of the Year’ and this year the winner was Richard Klein who now commissions programmes for ITV having previously worked for BBC4.
‘The Network and Ones to Watch Programme Choice Award’ was between Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Gogglebox, Happy Valley and Orange Is The New Black. Whilst it would’ve been great for Breaking Bad or Gogglebox to win the one show on the list I haven’t seen, Game of Thrones walked away victorious.
Another new award now, ‘TV Moment of the Year’ and the winner was between Hayley’s assisted suicide in Coronation Street, Musharaf’s speech in Educating Yorkshire, Conchita Wurst winning the Eurovision, the end of episode four of Happy Valley, Benji singing on his wedding day in Our Gay Wedding: The Musical and the most recent time that Jeremy Paxman interviewed Russell Brand. The winner of ‘TV Moment of the Year’ was of course Musharaf’s speech in Educating Yorkshire, which is easily one of the best TV moments of the past 12 months, so a very deserving winner.
And finally, it’s the big one, ‘Channel of the Year’. The channels nominated this year were BBC Two, BBC Three, Channel 4, ITV and Sky Atlantic. Whilst I thougt BBC Three would win this, even just to make a point, the award actually went to Channel 4. So congratulations to Jay Hunt and co for a very deserving award.
Responding to John Simpson’s comments, Steve Hewlett said – “Is the BBC grotesquely managed? Yes. Is to because of women? Absolutely not!”
Conversation then moved on to diversity, a word that’s been banded about left right and centre at this year’s festival, and probably in every festival leading up to it and every festival here on in. Conor Burns made his point and said – “There shouldn’t be quotas. It should be about talent.”
Ben Stephenson defended the BBC by saying “EastEnders is the most diverse show on television. I don’t think it’s diverse enough. I think everything should be more diverse. The big thing for me is disability and mental health which is not represented on television. The problem is that at the moment it feels like we’ve got to do it, rather than want to do it.
He later went on to tell us that – “The BBC is under threat. There’s no doubt about that.” and said he noticed an anti-BBC feeling across this year’s TV Festival (possibly talking about yesterday’s controller session with Charlotte Moor) and said – “I do feel the industry is at some point going to have to start saying, ‘The BBC is not perfect but my God there’s actually a lot they do brilliantly’. And the reality of a smaller BBC is a really worrying thing for the creative world.”
Steve Hewlett agreed with fellow BBC employee Ben and said – “With EastEnders I do think that’s right. You can accuse the BBC of vein child abusers, fraudsters, burglars and dare I say it rapists. But nothing gets to them more than calling them racist.”
Steve then question Dan Brooke about Channel 4 and why they’re yet to provide a figure of how many people from BAME backgrounds they’re going to have working on their programmes – “Sky say 20% by 2015, BBC 15% by 2017… what are Channel 4 going to do?” – to which Dom couldn’t give an answer, with Kirsty Wark backing Steve by saying that it was ridiculous for “…Channel 4 not to mention anything.” What Dan did say though is – “Channel 4 will release it in the autumn. It’s complicated.” – Only time will tell but it does seem odd that they’re unable to give a number, when like Steve Hewlwett says, 40% of 16-34s, the group who watch the most Channel 4 are 40% non-white.
Elaine C Smith said – “I’d like to see TV reflect real people. I also feel it’s about class and gender. As a woman, I don’t see myself back on the screen, and culturally I don’t see myself back.” Ben agreed with Elaine that “…class is a major issue. I think acting has become a very middle class profession.” And one final point on diversity came from Steve Hewlett who accused people in television for being – “Deeply uncomfortable by non-whites.”
And finally, another issue discussed was the Scottish Referendum and the effect that will have on the BBC. Will Scotland lose it? Will Scotland want their own national broadcaster? I won’t bore you with the politics of it that was discussed but I will leave you with what Steve Hewlett had to say, which was – “I know if I lived in Scotland after a yes vote, I would expect my own national broadcaster.”
What better way to round off the 2014 Edinburgh International Television Festival than with Frankie Boyle? That’s right. The controversial comic closed the festival by talking to Pointless presenter and Creative Director of Endemol Richard Osman about his controversial career, the talking points of this year’s TV festival, TV as a whole and of course, Scottish Independence.
“You used to be on TV a lot, and now you’re on it a lot less. Why?” – that was the first question Osman put to Boyle, to which he responded – “Controversy has scared off commissioners, who are generally scared of content.”
Perhaps the biggest controversy Frankie was involved in was the time he made a joke about Katie Price and her disabled son Harvey on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights. Did he “It got signed off by everybody. I don’t think in context there’s anything wrong with that joke. I don’t regret that joke.”
As well as diversity, risks and the risks channels think they are taking has been a big talking point of the festival and Frankie’s take on it is that – “They don’t take any risks. They would rather not take risks than have falling ratings or lose money. My TV guide looks like the entertainment on a cruise ship. There’s probably a show about knitting somewhere! If 20% less people watched TV next year I wouldn’t be surprised.”
Speaking about diversity, Frankie said – “I like quotas because they put the responsibility on the people making the shows, not the comedians.” He then went on to tell the story of the few times he’d presented Never Mind The Buzzcocks and kept asking producers to have Sarah Millican and other female comedians on the panel, which they point blankly refused to do because she is a woman, “…after three or four times of asking it was implied that if I carried on asking I’d get the sack.”
He thinks the quota for women on panel shows is “…the wrong quota. Make it 50/50/ It’s not that difficult!” He also revealed that throughout the years he had heard producers refer to female comedians as “Cunty make no jokes” which is just an appalling thing to say and I’d like to think those sort of remarks aren’t still being made today.
He also compared Channel 4’s output to Take A Break or Chat magazine, most notable the show about the man with the massive testicle and admitted to watching very little of it. He watches some stuff on 4oD, he watched Benefits Street and that’s about it. He described the channel as “creatively dead” and said – “Channel 4 talk about Channel 5 copying them but actually they’re copying Channel 5.” Richard Osman was shocked by this and asked him whether he enjoyed Utopia to which Frankie replied – “Utopia was fucking terrible.” – that’s a no then.
Talking about the closure of BBC Three, Boyle called it a “…disaster. It’s the worst fucking decision they could’ve ever made. I would make the cuts to a lot of their senior management and pensions. I would get rid of the hopeless people there.”
Another controversial TV figure is Jeremy Clarkson – “If I was Clarkson’s boss I’d sack him. He’s a cultural tumour. He’s in there like a fucking growth and should be removed. He’s horrible.”
As for what’s next for Frankie Boyle, he revealed that he’ll be on Live From The Apollo next month and is currently working with the BBC on an iPlayer pilot about Scottish Independence which he described as “…a bit like Charlie Brooker’s Weekly Wipe, but we haven’t really got into it yet.”