OUTSPOKEN Scottish comic Frankie Boyle is to get top billing at this year’s Edinburgh International Television Festival – despite his career being blighted by a string of high-profile controversies.
The comedian, who has only recently returned to the BBC after a four-year absence from the small screen, will get the chance to tell TV bosses what he really thinks of them.
He has been asked to cast a critical eye on the television industry for a keynote session at its annual summit in Edinburgh next month.
Organisers say his hour-long “State of the TV Nation” address, which will round off the festival, will ensure the event “ends with a bang”.
The TV festival will also feature guest appearances from Gary Lineker, who will be helping to mark 50 years of Match of the Day, a sneak preview of Scottish actor Peter Capaldi’s first episode fronting Dr Who and a session devoted to hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, featuring guest appearances from its stars and creators.
Boyle is joined by a number of leading comics in the TV festival line-up, including John Bishop, who will be presenting the awards ceremony, Elaine C Smith, who will be appearing in a special festival edition of Question Time, and Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan, who will be unveiling their new Channel 4 comedy Catastrophe.
Boyle, 41, left the hit show Mock the Week in 2009 in the wake of controversy over his jibes at the expense of swimmer Rebecca Adlington. He has also criticised the BBC Trust for a “cowardly rebuke” over a joke he made about Palestine.
He also provoked anger over remarks made about paralympic athletes on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights.
Lisa Campbell, director of the television festival, said: “With so much variety on offer this year, I hope delegates leave the festival feeling fired-up by controversy, inspired by innovation and stimulated by debate.”
Other highlights in the TV festival programme include an appearance from the British producer and screenwriter Jeff Pope, who was jointly nominated for an Academy Award with Steve Coogan, for Philomena, who will be giving an insight into his new Cilla Black biopic, along with lead actress Sheridan Smith.
Producers of hit shows The Bridge and The Killing will be exploring the rise of TV drama series from Europe, while Mike Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, will be discussing the succcess of shows such as True Blood, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and Game of Thrones.
Some of the tickets for the special TV festival screening of Peter Capaldi’s first Dr Who adventure, which will be shown at the Filmhouse cinema two days before its big BBC 1 premiere, will be on sale to the general public.