CONTROVERSIAL comic Frankie Boyle is to be top slot at the Edinburgh International Television Festival.
The outspoken comedian recently returned to the BBC following a four-year absence from television and will get the opportunity to tell TV bosses what he thinks of them.
He has been asked to give a keynote session on the industry at its annual summit in Edinburgh next month. The hour-long “state of the TV Nation address” will round off the festival with organisers hoping it will ensure it will “end with a bang”.
A sneak preview of Scottish actor Peter Capaldi’s first episode as Dr Who promises to be another highlight, and a session devoted to hit fantasy series Game of Thrones, featuring guest appearances from its stars and creators, are sure to be big hits.
Boyle is accompanied 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. Remarks made about paralympic athletes on his Channel 4 show Tramadol Nights also provoked outcry from audiences.
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 include former footballer and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker, who will help mark 50 years of the programme. There will be an appearance from the British producer and screenwriter Jeff Pope, who was jointly nominated for an Academy Award with Steve Coogan, for Philomena. He will be on hand to give an insight into his new Cilla Black biopic, along with lead actress Sheridan Smith.
Producers of hit shows The Killing and The Bridge will investigate the rise of TV drama series from Europe, while Mike Lombardo, president of programming at HBO, will talk about the success of shows such as Boardwalk Empire, True Blood, as well as The Newsroom and Game of Thrones.
The public will get a chance to get 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.