October 28, 2008

Should Brand and Ross be sacked?

No.

Well, sort of no.

Brand and RossThe ill-advised broadcast of rude messages left on Andrew Sachs’ answer machine was the fault of the programme’s producers, not its presenters.

The faceless people will probably get the boot.

But Sachs-gate is about more than all of that really.

The whole story has become a media circus (the lead story on yesterday’s PM for goodness sake) because no-one’s sure why these two presenters are on Radio 2 in the first place.

If Chris Moyles had done this on Radio 1, it would have been shrugged off and forgotten about within a day or two, with no real suggestion of sackings.

But Radio 2 is supposed to be the more mature sibling. This incident just proved that the pair are in the wrong place – any non-Daily Mail reader who heard the show would have found it to be pretty entertaining, despite the occasionally offensive content (which was actually no worse than a typical episode of Have I Got News For You).

They shouldn’t be sacked – they should be given a pay cut and put somewhere else.

They’re too old for Radio 1 (which already has an ‘age’ problem – it attracts too many parents), so maybe they should become the main attractions on the already edgy 6Music?


- 21 comments by 4 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. Scott Redding

    The Times had an editorial on the kerfuffle today.

    28 Oct 2008, 15:57

  2. Jim

    The editorial (mentioned in the above comment) got it so wrong. There was no malice. Sachs was not the (intended) victim. They weren’t laughing at him, they were laughing at themselves for repeating the same mistake and expecting a different result (‘I know what will fix this – another answerphone message!’ Brand kept saying) – if anything the humour was self-deprecating.

    28 Oct 2008, 18:20

  3. Adam Westbrook

    There’s more to this though I think.

    Why was it the lead on PM? And a top story all day today? Think back to last year when Mr Ross got his big paycheque. “I’m worth a 1,000 BBC journalists” he said. I think that pissed off a few hacks at the beeb…are they getting their revenge? Will they let go until he’s worth just 100 journalists?

    The other thing I don’t like about it is the BBC’s handling. They refused to put anyone up for interview..but BBC news did record 1 interview (with a BBC reporter) and then pool it out to everyone else. What if another public body did that, and the BBC was at the receiving end. I don’t think they’d be very happy.

    But other than that I thought it was quite funny myself. And 10,000 complaints? Minus those who haven’t just jumped on the bandwagon and I should imagine its more like 80.

    28 Oct 2008, 20:10

  4. Mike Willis

    And 10,000 complaints? Minus those who haven’t just jumped on the bandwagon and I should imagine its more like 80.

    My thought exactly. The first I heard of this story was Saturday, by coincidence a few hours after I had listened to the podcast. IIRC the article said the podcast had been taken down (doesn’t seem to be on the Radio 2 site now, I got it via iTunes some time last week) and there had been some very small number of complaints which may or may not actually have been about the phone calls specifically. Every time I’ve seen an article on this story since the number of complaints has risen. So it seems that either these complaints were made shortly after the broadcast, now 10 days ago, and are only just now starting to be counted, or the people complaining are doing for the sake of it rather than because they have actually heard the offending broadcast or podcast thereof and felt that it warranted a complaint. I think the latter is the more likely explanation. I did honestly think at the time of listening to the show that they were pushing it a bit, but no more than what you’d expect from Russell Brand. It’s become a far bigger story than it merits being. I supposed it’s something a bit lighter to fill airtime and column inches than the US election or the state of the economy.

    28 Oct 2008, 21:07

  5. des higgins

    i think everyone in uk should withold tv licence payments ntil these 2 pompous broadcasters are sacked we are actually paying this multi-millionaire 18 million pounds a year a total joke

    28 Oct 2008, 22:11

  6. Basically… What #3 & #4 said.
    Small story on Saturday… Jump jump jump. Daily Mail readers who probably didn’t even hear the broadcast complaining about the outrageous behaviour.
    Also was Jonathon Ross actually presenting or was he a guest on the show? If a guest then I could quote Alan Partridge, but I won’t.
    But to be on PMQT? For f*cksake. That is not what the Houses of Parliament should be used for! BBC is an independent body isn’t it? Would this have happened if someone from Capital FM had sworn at Mr Sachs? I doubt it. And in any case they didn’t swear at him (in the “he f’ed your daughter!” comment).
    Over blown crap. Slap them. Fine them. Get on with it.

    Also, although I shouldn’t feed the troll… Mr Higgins: shuttup.

    29 Oct 2008, 11:15

  7. I’m starting to think the BBC’s making the whole situation worse for itself. If they just came out and fined the pair and sacked whoever let it be broadcast, it’d be over by tomorrow. While they privately pontificate over it, it’s just going to snowball. The Director General is apparently on holiday – looks like the place goes to pot in his absence.

    29 Oct 2008, 11:21

  8. I’d like to see Brand sacked for just generally not being very funny, although I must be the only person in the country not to see his appeal.

    Oh, and in agreement with most of the above, shoot those who made the decision to broadcast the content, not those who created it in the first place.

    29 Oct 2008, 13:56

  9. Mathew Mannion

    It was (mildly) funny. We need to have some kind of national stick-arse extraction.

    29 Oct 2008, 16:42

  10. I’m not sure if the offensive words (aaaaaaaargh F! omg etc) was broadcast, but surely it’s a no-brainer to cut that sort of thing out if Andrew Sachs complained?
    I wonder, did he make a complaint before or after it was broadcast?

    29 Oct 2008, 17:40

  11. MORE ON THIS EXCITING STORY HERE.

    No but seriously,

    I was amused when I heard the actual podcast, what felt like yonks before the media explosion. Ross completely dropped Brand in it and then they just had a big old joke about the whole thing for the rest of the show. The media frenzy has more to do with shrewd controllers spinning it into something that will sell papers and boost profiles than an old man being offended. I doubt Sachs even really gives a toss.

    29 Oct 2008, 21:34

  12. Mathew Mannion

    Andrew Sachs complained 4 days after broadcast. The BBC have a timeline somewhere that makes this clear, and makes clear that only 2 people complained until the Daily Mail got hold of it. What a farce.

    30 Oct 2008, 00:18

  13. Regardless of the actuality of the scandal, any time Kelvin McKenzie or Piers Morgan are held up as arbiters and informed commentators on what is good taste is proof that we really are generally screwed as a nation.

    Brand and Ross are idiots for what they did but this whole row is about deep seated resentment from some quarters at the BBC’s unique position in the broadcast environment in the UK.

    That we have the likes of Piers and Kelvin pontificating about this and that they are respected and taken seriously is the real national disgrace.

    30 Oct 2008, 09:21

  14. More satire

    30 Oct 2008, 09:38

  15. Having listened to the show, I think the two performers should be sacked for demonstrating a complete and utter lack of talent… I’ve heard funnier material down the pub!

    30 Oct 2008, 10:36

  16. James Taylor

    Never been a fan of Jonathan Ross but have been listening to Russell Brands radio show for nearly two years. I’m really disappointed that it has come to this but they’ve been doing equally risqué material to this for a long time and never had a problem.

    Like Mat Mannion said up above, this only blew up once Mail reading busy bodies found out about it and went to complain – the number of complaints this morning is now at something absurd like 24,000 people. That’s up quite a lot from the original number of 2 actual LISTENERS of the show who were offended.

    Yes, they were wrong to record what they recorded, but the BBC themselves must also take liability for deciding to run a pre-recorded show. I personally feel that Brand had been looking for a way out for a while anyway now as his fame is spreading and he’s had to record the show from ever increasingly exotic destinations whilst our filming, etc.

    Ho hum.

    30 Oct 2008, 13:05

  17. Mike Willis

    The timeline Mat referred to: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/7694989.stm
    Complaints now over 30000.

    30 Oct 2008, 13:19

  18. Meep:
    http://blogs.warwick.ac.uk/gavinalexander/entry/the_voice_of/
    Quote from Jeremy Hardy.

    01 Nov 2008, 13:46

  19. it’s scary to think that suddenly being offensive isn’t funny anymore.

    what the fuck are all of us fuckers supposed to fucking laugh about?

    04 Nov 2008, 17:24

  20. Fuck knows.

    05 Nov 2008, 11:33

  21. dave

    This whole thing is such a joke, his Grand Daughter is just using this to make a career for herself. We are losing to of the BBC’s most colourful and entertaining characters.

    05 Nov 2008, 22:51


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