Katie Price and her nice but dim ex-husband Peter Andre are not exactly shrinking violets when it comes to publicity. Their private lives are over-exposed to the media for all it's worth and they have made a very tidy living off the back of very little in the way of discernible talent. Love or hate this couple, but you can't ignore their contribution to today's celebrity culture. Whilst still married, much of their appeal was the couple's devotion towards their children and in particular the love towards Katie's disabled son Harvey. Eight year old Harvey suffers an eye disorder which has left him blind, he has a condition that has made him gain excessive weight and he also suffers from autism which has led to behavioural problems.
After Tramadol Nights was aired, Katie's management team initially requested that Channel 4 apologises for airing the programme. If no apology was received by yesterday's 5pm deadline, a complaint will be lodged with OFCOM followed by a visit to the Price lawyers. Katie has subsequently made the following statement...
'Harvey Price is a little miracle. Every day he overcomes so many difficulties with the help of family and medical experts and has so many battles to win'. 'I love him and am deeply proud to be his mother. If Mr Boyle had a tenth of his courage and decency he would know that to suggest, let alone think funny, that Harvey may sexually attack me is vile and deeply unfair. To bully this unbelievably brave child is despicable'.
I'm not a big fan of Katie Price or her choice in partners. I'm dismayed that women look to her a role model for basically getting her baps out, having lots of cosmetic surgery and getting as rich as Croesus in the process. However, I admire her lioness protecting her cubs stance against Frankie Boyle's comments masquerading as 'alternative, cutting-edge and satirical comedy'.
It's not the first time Frankie Boyle has courted controversy. In another section of Tramadol Nights, Boyle says Jade Goody's widower Jack Tweed is 'the luckiest guy in the world'. 'In the three weeks they were married she got thinner, better looking and her p**** got tighter'. Jade Goody died of cervical cancer aged 27 leaving behind two young boys. A previous stand-up routine saw many complaints after 'jokes' about downs syndrome children.
Boyle's fans claim he target celebrities because they are over-inflated, overpaid and fair game because they court publicity. They also claim his comedy pushes boundaries.
I've nothing against free speech and like most people, I enjoy comedy and like nothing more than listening to a comedian who is on top of his/her game and provides the kind of material that gives me a few belly laughs. However, Frankie Boyle's material is at best distasteful and at worst, to coin Ms Price's words, 'vile'. Mysogany, and racism is nothing new - Jim Davidson made a good career from it, however disabled children and cancer sufferers are not great comedy subjects I'm afraid. I thought we'd moved on from targeting people weaker than ourselves but it seems that anyone is fair game for poking fun at. There are topics that although controversial, should be faced and talked about, but never for the sake of cheap laughs. Perhaps Frankie should volunteer to work side-by-side with nurses on cancer wards or stand in the shoes of parents who care for a severely disabled child and survive on a pittance of social security benefits and then come back and continue to make a fortune from stand-up routines, DVD's, book sales and tv appearance fees. And if after that he still manages to sleep at night with his conscience intact, then shame on him.