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telly: Confessions of an urban planner; frankie boyle the big interview Frankie Boyle with Dara O'Briain and the Mock The Week team.

Byline: by Roz Laws

COMEDIAN Frankie Boyle has mixed feelings about Birmingham.

On the one hand, he made life-long friends in the city after living there for almost a year.

But he also dropped out of "terrible"

Aston University as soon as he could - and has had to take a restraining order out on a "mad" Brummie stalker.

The subject of Frankie's over-zealous fan comes up when he's questioned about his children. The savage star of BBC2's MockThe Week has a four-year-old girl and a year-old boy with his girlfriend Shereen.

He says: "I don't like to talk about my family because it encourages this mad bloke from Birmingham. I've got a restraining order out on him and it's going to court, so I can't go into it.

"It's one of the side-effects of being famous. I don't mind for me, but it's not fair on the kids."

Frankie doesn't hold it against Birmingham and often returns to perform, despite not having the best memories of his student days, when came to Aston University to study... Urban Planning.

Surely he didn't harbour a secret ambition to become a town planner?

"Not at all," says the cynical Glaswegian.

"I had a place at a university in Brighton to study English, but that didn't start for a year. Being Scottish, I could get a grant for four years, and I would do anything to get out of the house.

"So I took whatever was left in the clearing system and that was a degree in Urban Planning at Aston. But I always knew I would only stay for a year.

"Actually I only lasted two terms. I learned almost nothing about urban planning because I did no work at all.

"I remember one project we were given.

We had to write a dissertation on Shopping Trends In Birmingham In 1974.

"I wrote 'who honestly cares?'. I only wrote two pages and hoped I might get thrown off the course, but I still passed because they didn't want to lose any students.

"I thought the university and my halls of residence were terrible, full of engineers and Tories.

Boring berk "Most of the students were awful, it was like the boring berk from every family was shipped off there.

"But I liked Handsworth, where I lived, and other parts of Birmingham. I still come back to see the good friends I made there."

The king of the cutting one-liner, Frankie is easily the BBC's rudest comedian, especially after Russell Brand's exit.

His brutal comments on Mock The Week draw gasps - and these are just the milder ones that aren't edited out.

Recently he was criticised for making a near-the-knuckle joke about the Queen, although he only came under fire when the show was repeated, in the wake of the Brand scandal.

In his new DVD, Frankie Boyle Live, his stand-up show features jokes about rape, incest, paedophilia and disability.

One fan sums him up by calling him "obnoxious and hilarious".

But despite the controversial content of his act, Frankie is unrepentant.

"I really don't get that many complaints.

The worst ever gig I had was in Glasgow. We'd had torrential rain and a guy took his dog for a walk in the cemetery.

"To try to escape the floods, he stood on top of a grave that gave way and he and his dog were sucked under and drowned.

"I was in a club the next day and said 'They spent pounds 30,000 digging him out, but they should just have put up a headstone and left him there'.

"Everyone simultaneously booed, which I've never had before. But I still say 'f*** him!'"

Unlike other comics who crave the limelight, he says he most enjoys writing and is preparing to give up standup.

"I'm in the middle of a very long tour.

I've done more than 80 dates and I'm going a bit mad," admits Frankie, who's a regular on panel shows like 8 Out Of 10 Cats and Would I Lie To You and appears next week on a new BBC1 series of Live At The Apollo.

"I'm 36, I'm getting a bit old so I'll stop this in a couple of years. I'll do another tour and DVD and then maybe someTV work, but I like writing. I won't miss the performance side of it at all."

fact file

NAME: Francis Martin Patrick Boyle

AGE: 36

CV: Previous jobs included working in a psychiatric hospital. His big comedy break was winning an open mic contest in 1996, beating Noel Fielding from The Mighty Boosh.

FANCY THAT: Frankie gave up drinking 10 years ago after realising his alcoholism helped to break up his marriage.

He's allergic to copper, is scared of flying and used to practise martial arts.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Nov 16, 2008
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