Review: Frankie Boyle's New World Order, BBC2

British TV does seem to be having a fair old crack at satire at the moment. As well as The Mash Report, Deborah Frances-White is making a satire pilot for Channel 4 and now Frankie Boyle's series has returned to BBC2 for a second run, in which he discusses burning issues of the day with Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Mona Chalabi (data editor of Guardian US) and various guests.

The first show certainly had plenty to get its teeth into. There was, of course the small matter of the royal wedding. Meghan Markle had dreamed of being a Princess, suggested the heavily bearded Boyle, but now she was becoming the Duchess of Sussex she sounded like a pub. 

Boyle also had plenty to say on the recently violence in Israel and, with special guest David Baddiel, this led into a chat about anti-semitism in the Labour Party, a story that is old but just won't go away. Baddiel was typically erudite on the subject, explaining how one can be Jewish but also be an atheist. I did feel uncomfortable though that there was more Corbyn-bashing than Theresa May-roasting. Surely it's the people currently in government that should be under closest scrutiny in programmes like this.

Guest Joe Lycett and also chipped in to the topical talk, but the tone was uneven at times. It didn't quite know whether it wanted to be a grown-up discussion or a all-out comedy programme. I wouldn't exactly say Boyle is mellowing but it felt as if there were less brutal gags that made you gasp compared to his old outrages on Mock The Week and Tramadol Nights. This was Boyle without the bile.

It was great though to see Pascoe and Ryan getting plenty of airtime even if what we saw were muted versions of their stand-up personae. This tends to be the nature of television, which is geared more to soundbite sentences with little chance to evolve and grow an idea, which is what Pascoe is particularly good at in her own stage shows. If it helped to shift some tickets for their tours that would be good.

For an entertainment show Frankie Boyle's New World Order certainly takes things pretty seriously and a lot is crammed into thirty minutes. It's a shame it is Boyle on his best behaviour, but I'd rather have Boyle on his best behaviour than no Boyle at all. 

Watch here.


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