Frankie Boyle divides opinion. On the one hand you have those who think he’s a complete phallus and on the other hand you have those who think he’s a complete phallus who tells good jokes. The BBC who, at best, have had a ‘troubled’ relationship with the comic seems to have decided the best way to reconnect is to it in the way that only Auntie can: a Radio 4 sitcom.
At this stage, Blocked, which Boyle co-wrote but doesn’t star in, is only a pilot. It stars David Mitchell as Felix, a failed writer who runs a local theatre with the ‘support’ of his family. One-liners are hurled around – as well as some surreal moments: Felix fails his CRB check because of that time he murdered Louis Mountbatten. “You must remember it, I mention it all the time.” There are some jokes from the milder end of the offensive range and a high number of laugh out loud moments – particularly if you’re partial to Noises Off moments of farce.
And particularly if you find the idea of diabetic child without access to chocolate getting drunk on a bottle of whisky that had been left backstage because it had been assumed to be urine and then the CRB inspector assuming the sound of the drunk child was actually the theatre ghost, whilst a stray dog woofs away merrily, and Felix attempts to cover it all up – find that funny and you’re pretty much there.
Given the quality of performers and the standard of writing you have to assume that there’s a series for Blocked if Boyle and Co want one. It would certainly be a welcome addition to Radio 4’s comedy output which has been veering a bit towards the bland of late.