'It wasn't an attack...'

Frankie Boyle writer defends Harvey gag

Frankie Boyle’s co-writer has defended the controversial joke about Katie Price’s disabled son, claiming ‘it wasn’t an attack’.

Canadian stand-up Tom Stade, who penned Tramadol nights with Boyle and Jim Muir, denied the issue was about eight-year-old Harvey being unable to defend himself.

‘It’s not a defence thing, because it doesn’t happen,’ he told TNT magazine. ‘It’s just an idea that’s thrown out there, it’s not an attack, it’s a “what if”. Every joke is a “what if”. Nobody hates Harvey.’

And he laughed off Price’s complaints that the gag was in bad taste, saying sarcastically: ‘She’s, like, a really good role model to tell people what she thinks.’

Of the writing process, Stade said: ‘Me, Jim and Frankie are just sitting there going “I wonder what the fuck we can write that will absolutely piss everyone off” and we seem to have achieved that.’

Meanwhile, the newspapers have today claimed ‘the BBC has been blasted by furious viewers’ for allowing Boyle to host Never Mind The Buzzcocks – based on a couple of Tweets from disgruntled viewers.

However, many more viewers seemed to like his jokes, including one about stadium rockers Muse. ‘Muse had their equipment wrecked by a hurricane, coincidentally minutes before the Hurricane Festival in Germany,’ he said. ‘We can only wish them all the best at next year's World Aids Day gig. They have filled more stadiums than Hurricane Katrina, but we'd all rather see them dead.’

Viewers who took to Twitter to praise Boyle included Paul McIntosh, who said: ‘After Tramadol Nights, I thought I'd given up on Frankie Boyle. But in fairness he was effing superb on Buzzcocks.’ Another poster urged the Daily Mail to ‘give it a rest’ in its campaign against Boyle.

Mental health charity Rethink has become the latest body to complain to TV watchdog Ofcom over Tramadol Nights, after Boyle mocked its advertising campaign designed to shed the stigma surrounding mental illness.

In the Frankie Boyle sketch, a man is shown commenting on the stigma surrounding mental illness. The camera then pans down to show four children dead and covered in blood.

Stuart Baker-Brown, 46, the actor in the original advert, was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1996 and has since recovered. He said: ‘It is a shame Frankie Boyle has to act in such an insensitive and unintelligent manner towards those who suffer deeply and towards those who are far less fortunate than himself.’

In a letter to Ofcom, Mark Davies, Rethink's director of communications said: ‘There is no causal link between mental illness and violence.

‘We cannot ignore the fact that this sort of thoughtless, insensitive stereotyping of difficult human experiences in the name of comedy blights the lives of those seeking to overcome mental illness. Rethink fully supports freedom of expression, but we do believe the line must be drawn somewhere.

‘One in four people have a mental health problem at some point in their lives. This sketch caused offence to many people in this group.’

Published: 5 Jan 2011

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