Frankie Boyle travelled to Russia to explore the myths and stereotypes surrounding the country before it hosts this summer’s World Cup.
Frankie Goes To Russia sees the Scottish comedian visits several host cities and investigate attitudes towards women, feminism and homosexuality.
While he was there, the spy poisoning scandal broke, leaving the comedian in Russia at a time when relations between the country and the West were perhaps at their lowest since the Cold War.
The comic admitted to feeling “twitchy” following the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, which the British Government blamed on Russia.
In Moscow, Boyle joined a specially selected group of young people at a World Cup volunteer training course where students are being taught how to greet tourists – as well as how to survive a chemical attack.
Boyle saw the World Cup final stadium up close and also met Vladimir Putin’s biggest fan, a comic book artist who has a life-size cut out of the president and believes the West propagates anti-Russian propaganda.
Boyle went on to visit Rostov-on-Don, a city near the Ukrainian border with a reputation for football violence, and tried to track down the city’s hooligans.
In Moscow for election day, Boyle watched as Mr Putin was elected president for a fourth time.
Reacting to the election victory, Boyle said: “If all goes well, the 2018 World Cup will be one of the greatest triumphs of Vladimir Putin’s first 200 years in office. The only risk is that Putin’s ego becomes so gigantically enlarged that he actually pops.
“Putin is determined for the tournament to go smoothly so he can rebuild a positive image of Russia and himself. If I ever get to meet Vladimir Putin, I will probably take my top off and challenge him to an erotically charged wrestling match, which I will let him win.”
Frankie Goes To Russia airs on Sunday June 3 at 9pm on BBC2.