IS Frankie Boyle going soft in his old age?

The Glaswegian comic, famed for a pitch-black, boundary-pushing brand of humour, has rarely been far from controversy since his first appearance on BBC panel show Mock the Week in 2005.

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Over the years, he has been called “disgracefully foul”, a “cowardly bully” and “puerile”, among many other things, with MPs, disability charities, Katie Price and Kerry Katona among his targets and detractors.

However, Boyle seems to have mellowed somewhat in recent years – well if the number of complaints made against him is anything to go by.

Since his Tramadol Nights series for Channel 4 in 2010, his material for the BBC, including the Autopsy and New World Order programmes, has been less controversial, while remaining opinionated, thought-provoking and amusing.

Back in 2008, Boyle said he was planning to quit stand-up comedy before he turned 40, and performed what was supposedly his final tour, entitled I Would Happily Punch Every One of You in the Face, in 2010.

However, he couldn’t resist returning to the stage with The Last Days of Sodom and Hurt Like You’ve Never Been Loved in 2012 and 2015 respectively.

Glasgow Times:

Now in his 48th year, Frankie is feeling reflective. Despite living in Glasgow, he hasn’t done a proper tour of his native Scotland in over a decade.

So, by way of preparation for his new Full Power theatre tour, he’s going back on the road to gig at some colourful smaller venues around the country.

As well as performing comedy, Frankie is also keen to get under the skin of his home country.

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So in this four-part series, he will explore and document what he sees, and make unlikely diversions between gigs, meeting the people he thinks could help him understand where Scotland is really at in 2019.

In tonight’s first leg, the comedian travels from Aberdeen to Oban, along the way meeting a hermit, joining a commune and going underneath a mountain.

Frankie also visits the town of Inveraray, where he chats to

Andy Wightman, an MSP and a campaigner for land reform,

who explains how and why more than half of Scotland is estimated to be owned by fewer than 500 people.

At the end of each episode, Frankie will roll into his destination town (in this case, Oban) and take his fresh material onto the stage.

Frankie has described these sets, which include some of the highlights from his recent Prometheus albums and previous stand-up tours, as an outlet to “offload his mounting sense of horror”.

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He adds: “I’m looking forward to touring Scotland properly for the first time in over a decade.

“In a lot of farther-flung places in Scotland, people are guarded at first, but as soon as they get to know you, they really hate you.”

And there he is, the brilliantly pessimistic Frankie Boyle we are all familiar with.

He may not be quite as insulting and distasteful as he was a decade ago, but as he shows in this new series, he is just as funny.