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BBC axe Frankie Boyle's comeback show over IRA murder joke

By Joanne Sweeney

Published 22/07/2015

Controversial: Comedian Frankie Boyle
Controversial: Comedian Frankie Boyle

Controversial comedian Frankie Boyle's comeback show was reportedly scrapped by the BBC earlier this month over a tasteless joke about the IRA murder of Lord Mountbatten.

Boyle had been lined up to appear in Blocked, a radio comedy on BBC Radio 4, starring fellow comedian David Mitchell.

It told the story of a frustrated writer-turned theatre boss who is wrongly accused of the murder of Lord Mountbatten.

But it is thought that after BBC executives found the pilot show included jokes about the Queen's cousin, who died when the IRA hid a bomb on his fishing boat in 1979, the show was axed.

"They didn't commission it because we made a joke about the assassination of Lord Mountbatten," Boyle (42) told the Sunday Mirror.

However, it's been his comments regarding children with disabilities - particularly those who have Down's syndrome - that has angered a growing number of families in Belfast over his inclusion in next month's Feile an Phobail.

He refused to apologise to the mother of a child with Down's syndrome at one of his shows in 2010 when he referred to such children in disparaging terms and joked that they were destined for an early death in a lengthy routine.

A Facebook page calling on Feile an Phobail to cancel the Frankie Boyle appearance has been gathering support over recent weeks.

Julie Farrelly, secretary of the Stephen Hartley Down's Syndrome Support Group, posted on the site that she believed the event was causing lasting damage to the image of the Feile an Phobail event.

Her son Matthew has Down's syndrome.

"A joke about Matthew, told in a tent in the Falls Park, makes its way into a bar before being told in a house, where it is heard by other kids, some of whom will be peers of Matthew," she said.

"No wonder disability hate crimes are still prevalent with the reinforcing of these negative and hurtful stereotypes.

"In the past supporters of Frankie have tried to defend his comments by saying 'In Frankie's eyes everyone is fair game'.

"Well that's fine if you have a voice and a platform to stand on.

"Matthew can't speak up to defend himself. Nor can he exercise his own right to free speech.

"I believe that Feile have damaged their own reputation with the people they claim to represent, their community, by persisting with this so-called main event."

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