Boyle’s back: ‘Adlington looks like a beagle’

Oct 28, 2009
David Cairns

The Glaswegian comic shrugs off criticism for his jokes about swimmer Rebecca Adlington

Glaswegian comic Frankie Boyle has refused to apologise for joking that Olympic medallist Rebecca Adlington looks like "some who’s looking at themselves in the back of a spoon", and has compounded his offence with another gag at her expense, saying she "looks like a beagle".

Boyle was censured last week by the BBC Trust, which said his original crack - made on the BBC2 show Mock the Week, where he has appeared more than 60 times - was "humiliating" and "offensive" to the swimmer. Refusing to accept this criticism, Boyle went further, blaming programme makers at the BBC for provoking offence.

In an interview with Time Out magazine, he said the BBC Trust ruling was "all bollocks", asking: "Who are these people? What authority do they have to judge comedy?"

Turning the blame to the show's producers, he said: "We're fighting two wars, there's swine flu and the economy is going down the toilet. People expect you to talk about this - and what do the production team send us? A picture of Rebecca Adlington.

"What are you going to write about, apart from the fact that she looks like a beagle in the photo?"

Boyle said he could have been "gentler, more whimsical and much more sophisticated" if programme makers had allowed him to talk about subjects with "more intrinsic interest for the audience".

The vitriolic comedian has now left Mock the Week. Last month he was taken to hospital just before an episode was to be recorded, sparking an internet rumour that he was dead. He described his collapse as the result of "too much coffee" and said he planned to take it easier in future, pulling out of a publicity tour to promote his autobiography, My Shit Life So Far.

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