A case of accountability fascism

Update 2 Brand Quits, more apologies, what next for Ross?
Update No Friday Night with Jonathan Ross this week!

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 hi’self
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 Jonathan’s biggest boobs . . Included is the inevitable account of Russell Brand’s sex ‘n drugs addiction. All sense of proportion has been lost in a rush to escape the financial crisis and put on circulation. Her Majesty’s government and Her Majesty’s Press are competing to make prize fools of themselves .
It’s left to Media Guardian’s 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.

  • jone

    As it’s the Beeb deputy heads will roll…remember the phone in scandals? The only person sacked was some obscure producer http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2007/sep/19/radio.bbc

    As far as I know the way the beeb works is that the producer and never the presenter carries the can…the producer is considered the guiding editorial mind.

    Which in practice means some lowly nobody is expected to stand up to a millionaire, egomanical star. A star who if they don’t get their way will moan to somebody very senior, such as a channel controller who is responsible for bringing the star to the channel in the first place.

  • RepublicanStones

    It is all a bit of a molehill really. While inappropriate behaviour it certainly was, this item should not be a headliner. But is this a reflection of the sort of trival bullshit the masses have appetite for, or what the media think they have an appetite for? Or is it merely blown out of porportion by several clever little fellows to take the publics eye of more important issues?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I really do despair whenever senior politicians, including the PM himself, have to intervene in this.

    Reminds me of the Brass Eye controversy, when several politicians condemned the show without even having seen it, in doing so proving exactly what Chris Morris’ point was – that these eejits will jump on whatever bandwagon comes rolling along.

  • slug

    When the BBC was fined over the phone in scandal, no individual paid financially. Thus it was the licence fee payer who paid.

  • Big Maggie

    For me the biggest shock is that Manuel is 78!

    It’s just naughty schoolboy humour. I love The Sun’s usual hypocrisy. Their ‘writers’ simply resent the boys’ big salaries.

  • miss fitz

    I am a bit surprised that anyone could call this a storm in a teacup or an irrelevance. I read the transcripts, and they really took my breath away. It was offensive, nasty, shocking and unacceptable.

    What is more unacceptable is the £12 a month I pay for a license to pay the salary of these offensive men.

    Why should different standards of behaviour in the workplace apply, and why should standards of common decency be ignored.

    I feel that one or both should face suspension or firing for what happened.

  • LURIG

    Ross and Brand should apologise to Andrew Sachs and his grandaughter but FFS! This is way out of proportion, they didn’t kill anybody. It might have been immature schoolboy humour but the comment from some is just a dig at the BBC. When the British tabloids get a hold of something it develops arms and legs of it’s own. Some of those up on their soapboxes are just a bunch of bandwagon pr**ks. I am actually starting to feel a bit sorry for Ross and Brand.

  • George

    I have to say having listened to it on YouTube I’m with Miss Fitz on this one.

    Completely offensive and not an irrelevance. The repeat nature of the calls means it could constitute a criminal offence. What’s worse is that they then asked Sachs for his permission and when he refused they broadcast it anyway.

    As this wasn’t a live show, it’s the producer’s head that will roll though, not that of Brand or Ross.

  • Harry Flashman

    “I have to say having listened to it on YouTube I’m with Miss Fitz on this one.”

    Me too, absolutely dreadful behaviour by a couple of egotistical twats who are massively overpaid by the UK taxpayer.

    Had they been lowly employees of any other firm and they did this not only would their arses not have touched the ground on their way out the door, the Old Bill would be fingering their collar.

    It’s completely hypocritical nonsense to believe that these two tax payer funded fat cats should escape with their careers intact.

  • Matt Wardman

    The “schoolboy” humour is not the problem: the real issues are:

    1 – A willingness to invade an individual’s privacy and seek to demigrate and humiliate them on air.

    2 – The fact that it was prerecorded and then still broadcast.

    (For example) Graham Norton’s show or Jonathan Ross’s shows with audiences and invited guests are entirely different – you know what you are in for.

    This is different – unless Andrew Sachs consented, and I don’t think he did.

    My take on this is that it should probably be career-ending for both of them, and gross misconduct/final written warning territory for whoever approved (or neglected to listen to) the prerecorded broadcast. Agreed the PM should have left it to the Commons Committee Chairman.

  • Alan

    Brand continued the nonsense in a Chris Moyles interview later in the week. There seemed to be no repentance, rather a continued determination to hurt Sachs. Humour is one thing, personal abuse is another.

    And I would blame the producer, if they can’t get their presenter to stop, then why are they there.

  • jone

    I too was so outraged by this I took myself off and listened to it on Youtube a couple of times. Should I now join the queue of complaining mongs?

  • miss fitz

    Jone
    I would say to each his or her own. Hearing the debate over the past few days, I felt that before I could comment on it, I should know what it was about. To be honest, I thought it was probably a bit OTT at that point, and an over reaction.

    As noted above, I went and read the transcripts of the show, and I found that the furore was more than justified. The press descriptions do not do justice to the kind of things that were said and the behaviour of the men toward both Sachs and his grand daughter.

    However, if you find if acceptable, that is your right. If not, please join me and thousands of others by complaining to the BBC

  • Comrade Stalin

    Personally I’ve never liked Ross or Brand, and I didn’t find the prank at all funny, but this is definitely a “storm in a teacup” thing to me. I’ll wager that half of the politicians and more than half of those who have registered complaints with the industry watchdog have not actually seen or heard the clip.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Incidentally, it’s reasonably likely that these chaps may well lose their jobs due to the public outcry. Angus Deayton’s circumstances were vaguely similar, AFAIK.

  • miss fitz

    CS
    Just out of curiousity, did you read the transcripts? No harm if you didnt, I am just interested in how people are reacting once they have actually read them

  • Brian Walker

    Interesting and moderate comments! Great to see such a sense of proportion. I’ve no doubt this was a bad incident, the call should never have been made, the tape should never have been broadcast and the BBC has been far too slow to act. The new head of BBC Radio who was interviewed yesterday was like a rabbit caught in headlights – he’s a marketing man with no editorial experience and was the wrong person to front up and appear to take charge. In slight but only slight mitigation, listening to or reading this stuff cold is different from hearing it in context. These guys talking live for hours on end, they work up long riffs and can start to go almost hysterical. Ross in particular loves to dip his toe over the line, pull back and wink. Brand is far less controlled. Odd indeed that they kept it up in a recording and a fundamental error to pass it. A slight extra hurdle is that I understand the tape was made by Brand’s independent production company. This may have complicated the chain of editorial accountability, although it’s no excuse.

    My main point is that there has been gross media and political over reaction – perhaps in a half conscious reaction to the BBC as such a dominant bearer of bad news of financial crisis?

    Politicians may resent this dominance and much of the press certainly resent the scale of the BBC’s operations and look out for any excuse to attack it. The grossness of Ross’s contract, said to be £18 million over three years for 2 different TV shows and a regular radio show – is certainly another weakness.

    BBC guidelines and practices are very clear on taste and decency, but individual judgment always has to be exercised.

    I would be concerned if a middle BBC manager was fired, rather than moved and disciplined. And I simply don’t know what sanctions are available in these big free lance contracts. They shouldn’t be fired. Ross will have to say something by Friday night and I would be amazed if the BBC hasn’t said something meaningful by then. Otherwise they will have to think about pulling the show, so great is the furore now. Any other organisation that stayed almost silent for a fortnight would face an avalanche of criticism on the BBC.

    The problem now is a cumbersome inquiry system stretching up the line through the bureaucracy and up to the new BBC Trust. It must preserve natural justice and exercise accountability – not easy, but necessary I’d say, by Friday.

  • miss fitz

    Brian
    I wanted to write the words that offended me so much, but ironically Mick would red card me for doing so. Ross starts the phone call by saying ‘He’s fu**ing your grand daughter’. Now how in holy hell is that part of a riff, or an element of a long drawn out piece. That was the first line.

    I disagree with your fundamental point that there is a psychological element of punishing the BBC for the economy.

    Why on earth shouldn’t he be fired? If I was to do something similar in my work, I wouldnt see the door. Sorry, I think you are making excuses

  • For note: yes I listened to the piece.

    This has some way to run. The Indy, this morning:

    “Producer of Russell Brand’s show: Nic Philps

    Role: Knew Brand and Ross had been refused permission to make the calls but told them to do it anyway.”

    He is 25.

    That is not – in my view – mitigation for R&B;(especially for Ross who should know where the lines are after 25 years, and be able to manage himself), and it is not good for helping the Beeb to avoid being a political football.

    Matt

  • Dec

    Isn’t it about time Gregory Campbell weighed in on this?

    Russell Brand seems to be playing it defiant.

    Might have something to do with his burgeoning Hollywood career. Also, he’s been down this road before with MTV. Also if anyone thinks that the BBC is going to sack their prime asset (Ross) and thus lose him to ITV or Sky, over an aging Fawlty Towers actor and his hitherto unknown granddaughter, they cleary have difficulties addressing reality. However I am enjoying the moral outrage displayed by some here on behalf of two people they’ve never met.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Is there any more tedious recent addition to Slugger than Brian’s repetitive whingeing, gurning, partisan-hack work on behalf of the BBC? Yes, he’s, literally, a BBC pensioner, and yes, he never feels it necessary to follow the basic rules of disclosure BBC hacks would wet themselves about if a non-BBC type behaved likewise. But really, a 78 grandfather: has left on his answermachine the delightful news that his granddaughter has been “f*cked”; that he might kill himself over that; then, after he *asks* that this should not be broadcast, it is; then the BBC claims nothing is wrong; then the BBC lets Ross and Brand making an insulting non-apology, but doesn’t for one moment accept that they or it bear any actual responsibility, still less that they’ll pay any form of meaningful price. And next? well as others have pointed out, someone risibly down the feeding chain will get offered up as a sacrifice.

    Hopefully this will lead to this gruesome pair being sacked, but before Brian bores us some more about how wonderful Auntie is, here’s the thing: let’s say I work for a reasonably powerful media outlet (for example, a national newspaper), and let’s say I think it would be amusing to find a young female relative of Brian’s, behave in a comparable fashion to Ross and Brand, then tomorrow print that ‘story’ (in the interests of ‘challenging, boundary transgressing, self-serving blah, blah blah humour’ – and remember, “you don’t have to read/listen to it!” [delete as irrelevantly appropriate]) – how would Brian feel? Shure it would just be a good laugh, wouldn’t it? So I suppose the only question is, which damaged young female relative of Brian’s would make for the ideal choice? Doubtless he’ll let us know himself.

  • miss fitz
  • poor taste

    Enough Brian. Repeating your insider knowledge neither impreses nor adds much light.

    The real crime was how tediously unfunny they are. They bullied an old man and have sat around smug in the belief that if people don’t complain in massive numbers (“only two complaints”) then it’s not an issue. And endlessly using the word now redundant word “unacceptable” is hardly an admonishment.

    By stalling and allowing politicians to wade in, they have created a big hole for themselves. And BBC News are as big a cheerleader as the Daily Mail.

  • miss fitz

    I see Ross and Brand have been suspended from the BBC pending an investigation
    Proper order

  • baslamak
  • Big Bird

    Has Mark Durkan nothing else to do these days!!!

    From BBC News:
    Foyle MP Mark Durkan has signed a commons motion calling for Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross to no longer be funded by the licence fee.

    Mr Durkan is one of 15 MPs who signed a motion describing the presenters’ behaviour as “base and vulgar”.

  • Brian Walker

    Guys, Very little insider knowledge was on display. There is really no need to question my motives as if I’m influenced by the pension! That’s careless talk too. As a BBC pensioner, I am not in debt to the BBC today, only the Pension fund and its place in the world economy!. The BBC will in the end take quite a hard line for what may well be breach of contract. I don’t believe sacking is proportionate but that’s a matter of opinion. While the outline of the story is clear, there will be complications in the final account that we don’t yet know. There always are.

    I concentrated originally on the furore which I believe is excessive. There are too many hue and cries that create lynch mobs. Usually the victims are politicians and I find most of them distasteful. Mitigating points have to be made even in deeply unattractive cases like this one.

    While nobody defends the calls, here’s an interesting comment from Janet Street Porter who has long record in youth programmes and edgy programming generally. Without this dimension, broadcasting dries up and dies.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/janet-street-porter/janet-streetporter-men-like-russell-brand-thrive-in-the-macho-culture-of-the-airwaves-976802.html

    What I’m keen to protect for the future is a similarly disproportionate effect on genuine programme makers’ courage and too many constraints on free speech. Bad cases like this encourage a pernicious idea that the BBC should be more constrained in innovation because it’s publicly funded. Public funding should give it greater freedom, not less. I’m also against politicians feeling they need to comment on every damn thing.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Were I a Foyle voter, he’d get a transfer from me for Stormont, and that’s not what SF want. So win: win.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Genuine programme makers’ courage and too many constraints on free speech . . . pernicious idea that the BBC should be more constrained in innovation because it’s publicly funded. Public funding should give it greater freedom, not less” – evasive, self-serving, disingenuous b*llsh*t. Broadcasting that Sachs might ‘hang himself’ because Brand ‘f*cked*’ his granddaughter is genuine, courageous, innovative free speech? Brian, pitch to me the name of your young, damaged female relative so I can truss her up for one of the nationals tomorrow.

  • miss fitz

    I’m not a guy, so I hope I can stay in the debate.

    I found JSP interesting, and I agree with her points. I just think people are missing a point. I have no objection to the ‘f’ word, and I belive in edgy stuff. I have a son who is an aspiring stand up comedian, so I am well used to the nature and content of material.

    The point that I am continuing to try to make is that this particular episode went beyond the use of the ‘f’ word as a curse, and was a crude allusion to sex with Sach’s grand daughter. It goes beyond what most people will accept as entertainment. I think honestly that the furore is proportionate to the matter in hand

    This has nothing to do with innovation, but everything to do with taste, standards and common sense.

  • Big Maggie

    Hmm, how to get your girlfriend noticed and kickstart a career in showbusiness.

    It helps when she’s already a bit of a slapper. Interview her granddad who’s already well known. Use plenty of obscenities. Guaranteed airtime and thousands of column inches of righteous indignation.

    Presto, the world knows the name of talentless Georgina Bailey. She’ll have her own TV show next. Beats working for a living doesn’t it? Yes, you CAN fool all of the people….

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    “It helps when she’s already a bit of a slapper” – well done Wossie, and the publicly funded Beeb. Just look what you’ve got tools on the internet saying. Still, one more degraded step downwards for ‘Big Maggie’ to go, before she [sic?] tells us that Sachs’ granddaughter, ‘had it coming’ for dressing like that.

  • willis

    As another “insider”, admittedly pre-pension, I have to take issue with this quote from Brian.

    “I would be concerned if a middle BBC manager was fired, rather than moved and disciplined. And I simply don’t know what sanctions are available in these big free lance contracts. They shouldn’t be fired.”

    Soup, swamp, what do you want to call it?

    It bears an uncanny similarity to sub-prime loans and derivatives.

    If you can’t sack them you can’t manage them.

  • willis

    Oh yes, This is where the money comes from:

    “Thus, by 1994, 57% of all female
    criminal convictions related to television licence evasion.”

    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/119171307/PDFSTART

    Read – Dissect – Analyse

  • Big Maggie

    Why I’m…

    Still, one more degraded step downwards for ‘Big Maggie’ to go, before she [sic?] tells us that Sachs’ granddaughter, ‘had it coming’ for dressing like that.

    Er, is she a page 3 wannabe or not? That to me is a slapper. You may think otherwise.

  • Harry Flashman

    “That to me is a slapper. You may think otherwise.”

    Whether the woman in question is or not a slapper is neither here nor there to me.

    However, having to pay (if I don’t I will go to prison) the massive salaries of two talentless arseholes who seem to think making criminally offensive telephone calls to an old age pensioner is “edgy” entertainment is actually very much of interest to me.

    Here’s a solution; apparently the only way the Beeb can secure the massive talents of Messrs Brand and Ross is to chuck humungous amounts of tax payers’ money at them. Well cancel their contracts and if after two years they have managed to find another media outlet who will pay them similar salaries then the BBC can bring them back with maybe a 5% increase by way of compensation.

    Why is it that I somehow doubt that there is a massive waiting list of potential employers in the private sector just waiting for the chance to swoop in and pay for Brand and Ross’ magisterial talents and steal them away from the BBC?

  • Big Maggie

    Harry

    Whether the woman in question is or not a slapper is neither here nor there to me

    It is to me and I find it extraordinary that so many people (also here on Slugger) are taken in by this stunt. (And no that isn’t rhyming slang.)

    Google ‘Georgina Baillie’ and you’ll see 45,000 references and growing. Last week nobody had heard of Voluptua, now the world knows.

    Watch this girl’s career take off. She’ll fulfil her ambition and get her tits out for the Sun and the Star, maybe get a spread in a B&T;mag, and the holy grail of slappers everywhere: a place on Big Brother.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Leaving to one side Big Maggie’s ability to determine who is a slapper, what’s more interesting is his ability to determine what should be condign punishment for being one. For of course in this case, it’s a blameless 78 year old who has been quite sordidly treated by the BBC, and its overpaid, hitherto unaccountable superstars. A blameless 78 year old, indeed, whom many of us might think has done the Corporation rather more sterling service than Wossie or Brand ever have or will.

  • Harry Flashman

    One small further point.

    Am I the only one here who objects to a thread which appears to dismiss the concerns about a dreadful taxpayer funded intrusion into the private family life of a man who literally escaped the Nazi Holocaust as “fascism”?

    Is it Slugger policy that the term “fascism” is to be used to describe whatever annoys self important BBC (ex)employees?

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Oh absolutely, but Hazza, don’t you agree that in the tasteless, self-indulgent narcissism on offer in that revolting choice of ‘fascsim’, the problem with the BBC, for cogs, small, big and ex, is almost too painfully well-illustrated?

  • Big Maggie

    Leaving to one side Big Maggie’s ability to determine who is a slapper and querying someone else’s ability to determine the gender of a poster called Maggie?

  • Why am I still a UUP voter

    Its ‘sex’ for people and ‘gender’ for words. And if you’re a woman, may I be the first to congratulate you, however sub-literate your postings might appear to be. I suspect it’s typing with those awfully big hands of yours that causes the problems.

  • Big Maggie

    Sigh, in the sixties we changed it to ‘gender’ for the simple reason that ‘sex’ had the wrong connotations. Sex and gender have exactly the same meaning so why fuss?

    We had to do it because of the misogynists. I’m sure you’ll understand that as few others.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    ‘We’ did nothing of the sort, unless ‘we’ are an Anglophone version of the Académie française traveling back to the far past in an OED-sponsored time machine, to bear tidings of the strange and revolting happenings of the future. ‘We’ are indeed talking out of our no doubt well depilated ars*.

    But then again, no doubt the poster gouldering on about ‘slappers’ is better placed to identify ‘misogynists’ than anyone else. Oh Wossie, the friends you have!

  • Big Maggie

    Your comments are odd to say the least. Why are you making this personal? And how can an American be a UUP voter? Just curious.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter

    So you’re a woman and I’m an American? Uh huh. But not merely can you identify ‘misogynists’, Heavens to Murgatroyd, you can also lament overly-personalised abuse! Between calling damaged early twenty something women ‘slappers’. I doff my (presumably baseball, not cloth) cap madam.

  • Big Maggie

    Why etc

    Sorry but I’d assumed that someone remarking on another’s usage would be an expert on the Queen’s English. But you wrote ‘traveling’ not ‘travelling’. So I assumed you were American.

    Now may we stop this silly pedantry? Why is there always somebody wishing to criticise another’s English on blogs such as these? Yes it’s a BLOG not a learned treatise! Sheesh.

    And just to make myself clear. Yes, I consider a girl wishing to get her tits out in a tabloid to be a slapper. If you think that’s a good career move for a respectable girl then I hope you haven’t daughters, or granddaughters.

  • Mick Fealty

    Right. Any chance of getting back to the subject in hand? The rest of you lay off Big Maggie! Big Maggie, you’ve made your point. Please move on!

  • Big Maggie

    Mick

    Thanks for coming to my defence! I thought I was on topic though. My reading of this is that it’s a big stunt to enhance the career of one of Russell Brand’s girlfriends. And it’s working. (This is why these guys are paid telephone number salaries.)

  • jone

    “However, if you find if acceptable, that is your right. If not, please join me and thousands of others by complaining to the BBC.”

    Thanks for the advice miss fitz…that’s the first time I’ve been patronised on a blog for not taking part in some spasticated pitchfork waving. Cheers!

  • Rory

    Angus Deayton’s circumstances were vaguely similar, AFAIK.

    No, Comrade Stalin, I am afraid your recollection is at fault. Deayton, unlike Ross and Brand, was not censured for any breach of broadcasting code. He had his salary as chairman of tv show Have I Got News for You halved as a punishment after allegations by a tabloid scandal-sheet about his private life which alluded to ‘coke-fuelled nights of passion’ with women alleged to be prostitutes. When the allegations were repeated just over a week later he was summarily sacked. Which punishment for being a victim of a witch-hunt by a scandal-sheet over one’s private off-air activities contrasts rather sharply with the belated reaction to the widely broadcast and transparent misdeeds of this sleazy duo.

    Which just goes to show, CS, that, if you are intending to comment upon broadcasting matters, you really must try to stay in more.

  • Big Maggie

    Jone

    spasticated pitchfork waving

    Tsk tsk, such lack of PC awareness! Surely you mean ‘cerebral palsied pitchfork waving’ :^)

  • Rory

    The ‘offended’ grand daughter in question may or may not be a ‘slapper’ but, as the ‘Georgina in S&M;pose’ link provided by Brian above confirms, she proudly proclaims herself to be a ‘satanic slut’ by profession. Not being a complete expert in matters of slappers and sluts I find it hard to detect the difference. But I am pretty clued up in reading between the lines and spotting the sly scams of celebs and Big Maggie’s nose on this one has sniffed out the same odour of pal-promotion that I detected. And I suspect that it was pressure from Brand that persuaded the compliant young producer that the segment was fit for broadcast.

    The trouble now is that we wont’t be able to look at a publication for the next while without being slapped in the face by a photograph of the poor distressed dear showing us all just how much of a slut she really is.

  • miss fitz

    Well there you go.

    Brand resigns from BBC2.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Which puts Brian in a pickle, because of course as the BBC is infallible, how can they have accepted the resignation of someone who has done no wrong? It surely puts one in mind of Cordelia’s doctrinal teasing of Rex?

  • willis

    Harry

    “Am I the only one here who objects to a thread which appears to dismiss the concerns about a dreadful taxpayer funded intrusion into the private family life of a man who literally escaped the Nazi Holocaust as “fascism”?

    Is it Slugger policy that the term “fascism” is to be used to describe whatever annoys self important BBC (ex)employees?”

    Savour this moment.

    It may be the only time that I (almost) completely agree with you.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Sachs

    Much as I admire Brian and the extra ooomph he has brought to Slugger, I am with you on this one.

    I said almost, c’mon you knew there would be a quibble. The BBC is not taxpayer funded as well you know. You can opt out of the licence fee, as long as you opt out of receiving any live television signals anywhere in the UK. A tall order I accept, and my previous post #9 indicates where I stand on the iniquity of jailing or criminalising poor young women just so two aging Lotharios (real or imagined) can ruminate over their conquests for the education of the nation.

  • Rory

    An interesting footnote from the latest edition of Private Eye (number 1222) which reports that ” Jonathan Ross has consistently complained about the media invading his privacy and in recent years has repeatedly instructed his solicitors at Schillings to warn people about his and his family’s rights”. To say nothing about his shillings one might usefully add.

  • Comrade Stalin

    miss fitz:

    Just out of curiousity, did you read the transcripts? No harm if you didnt, I am just interested in how people are reacting once they have actually read them

    I’d seen about one-third of the transcript you posted, I had not seen the rest.

    My opinion is that the remarks are crude and unacceptable, and I’d be very unhappy if someone said them to someone I knew. The part I hadn’t seen has some remarks I’d consider worse, but my overall perspective on the thing is the same.

    However, I’ve not changed my opinion concerning anything that I’ve said on the thread up until now. What’s happened is that someone phoned up an old man and said unpleasant things about his granddaughter down the telephone. The reason we’re hearing about it is that the protagonists and the victim happen to be famous. The reaction is a storm in a teacup. The involvement of the Prime Minister and the leader of the opposition is wholly disproportionate, as is this silly move to condemn the thing via a bill in the Commons. I’d have thought our politicians would have better things to do, especially right now, but then I was of course reminded that this matter is nothing to do with people really being outraged, but being seen to be outraged so that everyone can gasp and crow about how conscious they are and how concerned they are for Andrew Sachs.

    When you have the spectacle of the tabloid press, newspapers which publish pictures of 15 year olds and run daily countdowns until their 16th birthdays, all condemning the moral outrage of this you get some feeling for how fake and blown-up this whole thing is. I’m far more concerned that there will be people of Andrew Sachs’ age who will die of hypothermia this winter because they could not afford fuel. In the scheme of things, a couple of idiots playing a stupid/moronic and ill-judged prank down the phone seems less significant.

    I do hope, though, that Andrew Sachs recovers from the shock everyone believes he will have succombed to as a result of hearing that his granddaughter might actually sleep with other people. God forbid that anyone should dare to point out what he would never have guessed.

    harry:

    Am I the only one here who objects to a thread which appears to dismiss the concerns about a dreadful taxpayer funded intrusion into the private family life of a man who literally escaped the Nazi Holocaust as “fascism”?

    From what I’ve read, Sachs just wants the whole thing to stop. Trust me, I don’t believe he wants to find himself idiolized by right wing moralists on the internet, or worse yet, find himself a pawn in a greater agenda to attack the BBC.

    Rory:

    Which just goes to show, CS, that, if you are intending to comment upon broadcasting matters, you really must try to stay in more.

    I don’t agree, Rory. This is a witch-hunt and it was not at all belated. Granted, in this scenario they are being pursued over something they did while at work, whereas Deayton but not. But the faux-outrage characteristics with everyone voicing their own stupid opinion is all there.

  • Harry Flashman

    So now Brand is gone and Ross won’t be far behind and we will no doubt see commercial tv channels positively falling over themselves to pay the astronomical sums that the BBC paid these two giants of the entertainment world for their superb talents.

    Won’t we?

    You know I understand I’ve been away from the UK for a while but have things changed so much in the past few years? I seem to recall back in the not so distant past tuning my car radio and in between the mind numbing drivel pumped out by half a hundred pop radio stations, output aimed at audiences with the attention span of a goldfish with Alzeimers, I’d come across a channel that had presenters who spoke intelligible English and played music that an adult could actually listen to, I remember driving on Sunday afternoons listening to a beautifully erudite gentleman who would play music and relate anecdotes by and about people like Dinah Washington, Count Baisie and Duke Ellington.

    That radio channel was BBC Radio 2, please can someone explain to me what that boorish, foul mouthed, drug addled, puerile, barely articulate dolt Russel Brand was doing on Radio 2?

    Yet there are still posters here who can’t see a society circling the toilet bowl when it is staring them in the face.

  • Richard James

    Comrade Stalin,

    You’re being a tad disingenuous. The reason we’ve heard about this is because it was broadcast to two million people. Nor is it a storm in a teacup, if Brand and Ross were in any other form of employment and made such a call from the workplace it would be regarded as gross misconduct and they would have been dismissed.

    And let’s not trivalise the incident by pretending it’s a case of Sach finding out his grand-daughter had sex. It was a string of abusive phone calls that humiliated an elderly man for “entertainment”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Harry,

    The BBC had to pay Ross a large sum in order to coax him away from the commercial stations. I have no doubt that, after waiting a while for the dust to settle, Ross will be back on a commercial station.

    Ross’ huge salary at the BBC has always been controversial, so at least they won’t have that to worry about anymore.

    Richard,

    Yes, I’m aware it was broadcast to 2 million people, but I still don’t think that this requires the involvement of the Prime Minister, and I think it remains very obvious that people are milking this, including the granddaughter herself who obviously does not want peace and quiet either for herself or her grandfather, having sold her story to The Sun.

    For christ’s sake, we’ve now got some guy from the Conservative party talking about how the government needs to uphold “moral standards”. This is nothing short of fucking scary, straight out of the Iris Robinson cookbook.

    There is footage on the BBC website of Sachs, which you can watch here. My impression is very much of a man who, while offended, is somewhat bemused by the attention the whole thing has received and just wants to have a quiet life. Listen to him say that these guys are two performers just like him, and things went wrong, and he thinks they should “do better”. This contrasts markedly with the morally indignant howls of outrage coming from the usual rent-a-pundits calling for blood.

    Both men are going to experience, likely temporary, interruption to their careers. I’m not going to be too sorry about that, I have no time for either of them, and I never even knew they had a radio show until this all came out. But I think that the “concern” here is largely being overblown, and that there are other agendas at work here.

  • Why am I still a UUP voter?

    Of course there are other agendas at work here. Not least your own, relentless and disingenuous state-television boosterism.

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Definitely blown outta all proportion. Whatever about the mad fella Brand, but Ross is 47 and a married man with a few daughters! At his age ye’d think he’d have more sense.

  • DK

    I’ve come to this story a bit late, having largely ignored it. However, I have listened to the broadcast on youtube, and this is roughly what I think has happened.

    Andrew Sachs was supposed to be on Ross & Brand’s radio show, but doesn’t show up.

    They call him up – at one point before they get through they are suggesting that they could do the interview on the phone.

    Brand is prattling on on the phone to the answer machine when Jonathan Ross shouts out “he xxxxed your granddaughter”.

    This is true, and Sach’s was likely aware of it. If there had been a face-to-face interview, I have no doubt that Ross would have said something similar to his face. It is also likely that Andrew Sachs may have greater concerns about his granddaughter than an affair with Brand. Her member of a stripper group called “Satan’s Sluts” might come higher up the list of concerns.

    Ross and Brand then continue to ring up the answerphone to apologise in assortedly ineffective ways.

    After the show, Brand leaves Georgina a message that she should get rid of her grandfathers answerphone tape.

    Later on, presumably after being “vetted” the show is broadcast. A total of 2 people complain. Yes, TWO.

    Still later on, the Daily Mail & other papers launch a campaign. Thousands complain.

    My opinion: Without the papers, no-one would have noticed or cared. Instead we get a load of cobblers about a poor grandfather being shocked by a foul and abusive message about his fair granddaughter. This is so far removed from the context as to be laughable.

    The BBC should have stood up for their presenters and showed some balls against the braying of the moral-majority, whipped into a fervour by their rags.

  • Richard James

    Comrade Stalin,

    I agree that that it isn’t for the Prime Minister to get involved and ditto on the faux outrage of some of the tabloids.

    However regarding moral standards the Tory has a point. This is akin to someone bedding a girl then bragging to all and sundry she was easy and a slut. What’s worse is Sach’s and his grand-daughter have to pay for the privilege of national humiliation.

    And the argument here is Brand and Ross should be made an exception of because of their celebrity status. As I said previously, in any other line of employment you would be dismissed if you made a string of abusive calls from work. As for calls for blood, Georginia Bailie has made one and has every right for it to be heeded. And considering the way she has been treated, I think she can be forgiven for telling us all how crap Brand was in bed.

    The wider debate about the licence fee it is a perfectly valid one. After all we’re talking about how millions of pounds of tax payers money is being spent, and it’s difficult to justify a licence fee if it’s going to be spent on “humour” that any crass fifteen year old spide could come up with.

  • Brandy Fan

    How dare anyone out there make fun of Brandy after all he’s been through?

    All you people care about is readers and making money off of him. He’s a human! Leave Brandy!