It didn’t take long for the politicians to hop on board the trail blazed by the outraged tabloids. Old Labour publicity hog the Beast of Bolsover, to David Hanson, Justice Minister ( former charismatic NI minister) in the Commons this afternoon:
Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover) (Lab): Will the system that my right hon. Friend is outlining be comprehensive enough to find something useful for Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to do in the event that they finish up inside?
Mr. Hanson: I am sure that we have some in-house entertainment that they can do. My hon. Friend makes a serious point. It is not for me to comment on the issues that were mentioned, but I feel that both Mr. Ross and Mr. Brand have to apologise for the broadcast. I do not think that it was appropriate or in keeping with broadcasting. I am not sure that it will result in prosecutions, but I feel that an apology is called for..
Then Cameron stuck his oar in and finally…. Ye–sss!…. the Big Yin hiself
Its an old team sport to have a go at the BBC. This one is the biggest since Queengate, just as big as all those terrible rows during the Troubles, when at least something substantial was at issue, like the depiction of terrorists. The Mail takes the palm for a hypocritical feeding frenzy and the biggest picture of Georgina in S&M pose. Investigative work comes from the Mirror on Jonathans biggest boobs . . Included is the inevitable account of Russell Brands sex ‘n drugs addiction. All sense of proportion has been lost in a rush to escape the financial crisis and put on circulation. Her Majestys government and Her Majestys Press are competing to make prize fools of themselves .
It’s left to Media Guardians Monkey to offer a wry detached account of the press furore. Right now, £6 million a year Jonathan Ross is playing it shrewdly, with a personal visit to Andrew Sachs and a bunch of flowers. He has to clear the air before Friday night when I guess he’ll have to make a personal statement. Russell Brand seems to be playing it defiant. The thing to watch will be if some middle rank Beeb person is sacrificed. Nasty little episode that it is, it threatens to become a case of accountability fascism. And that’s a little bit serious.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London