Last updated 29th October 2008 at 20:40
Jonathan Ross has been suspended by the BBC following this week’s controversial prank calls on BBC Radio 2, and Russell Brand has now quit his Radio 2 show. Jonathan was a guest on Russell Brand’s Radio 2 programme where – in a recorded interview – they made prank calls to ex-Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. Russell and Jonathan left messages on Mr Sach’s answerphone where Russell Brand said he had slept with Mr Sach’s granddaughter and Jonathan Ross swore. Over 18000 complaints have been made to the BBC about this matter.
BBC News reports Andrew Sachs said to them Jonathan “personally delivered a letter of apology and some flowers” but that he hadn’t “heard anything” from Russell Brand.
Director General of the BBC Mark Thompson has described the incident as a “completely unacceptable broadcast” and has apologised to license fee payers and anyone who was offended by the comments made by Jonathan and Russell during the programme.
Georgina Baillie (Andrew Sach’s granddaughter) has told The Sun newspaper “it was bad enough that they recorded these things on my grandfather’s answer machine but astonishing the BBC saw fit to broadcast it when they could have stopped it”.
Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand have both now issued apologises, and Russell has quit his Radio 2 show with immediate effect. Jonathan says he’s “deeply sorry and greatly regret the upset and distress that my juvenile and thoughtless remarks on the Russell Brand show have caused”. Russell says he’s “apologised to Andrew Sachs for the rude messages I left on October 18 and he has graciously accepted” and that he has “decided that given the subsequent coverage I will stop doing the show”.
This week’s edition of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross has been cancelled (it was due to be recorded today for broadcast this Friday evening) – the guests for that show would have been David Attenborough, Miley Cyrus, Frank Skinner and The Killers. All future editions of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross have been cancelled until further notice. Jonathan Ross’s show on Radio 2 has also been cancelled until further notice. It’s not clear what will happen with regards to Film 2008 With Jonathan Ross on BBC1 but it’s likely this will be taken off the air as well (a James Bond special was due to air this Sunday in addition to the usual weekly shows).
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BBC News – “Brand and Ross suspended by BBC”
BBC News – “Brand and Ross: BBC statement”
BBC News – “Brand and Ross: Apologies in full”
BBC News – “Brown condemns Brand prank calls” (Video report)
The Sun – “‘Sickos’ Ross and Russ suspended”
Reuters – “BBC suspends Brand and Ross over calls”
Metro – “Brand and Ross suspended”
Teletext – “BBC suspends Ross and Brand”