Frankie Boyle calls for quotas to ensure diversity on television

Comedian Frankie Boyle has called for TV channels to be given quotas to ensure ethnic diversity because they are failing to implement it themselves.

He said executives are good at bemoaning the problem but ineffective at bringing about change.

He told the Edinburgh International TV Festival: "People who don't make television talk about how the channels like to tick boxes with ethnic diversity, or how they want female-led sitcoms but that doesn't seem to be true to me. Often when they get those shows they either get rid of them or they go 'well that box is ticked for a long time'.

Frankie Boyle
(Ian West/PA)

"I just think they should just have quotas because they have been trying to do it for years.

"You see it at TV festivals when they bring out quite senior people from the BBC or channels who say it's terrible and you say, 'Well you are the f****** creative head of the BBC, just do it!' They are good at shrugging and have proved they can't do it.

"There should be quotas across the board and they should be forced to do it, it shouldn't be some young black comedian's job to make sure the BBC have representation, it should be the BBC's job."

Speaking during a panel in which he interviewed Catastrophe star and creator Sharon Horgan, he said he believed British comedy had moved to a safer place than before.

Frankie spoke at the Edinburgh TV Festival
(Dominic Lipinski/PA)

He said: "We have a lot of gentle sitcoms and cross dressing and not that much challenging stuff. I don't know if that is because of the economic crash and now we have a Prime Minister who didn't get elected but stepped out of a haunted mirror and we want something safer.

"After the crash Michael McIntyre became the biggest comedian in the country, maybe because we're trying to shut it out."

However, Sharon said she was optimistic about the future, touting the increase in places for people to find comedy.

"With streaming like Netflix and Amazon (which shows Catastrophe in the US), it's not about pleasing a network but just making good stuff, performer/writer-driven stuff and it is getting back to authorship and people telling their own stories."

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