Brand and Ross: A prank too far

A prank too far: Comedy duo Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross

RUSSELL Brand and Jonathan Ross’s prank phone call to veteran actor Andrew Sachs has brought the reputation of the BBC into disrepute.

The duo left obscene messages on Sachs’ answer phone about Brand’s affair with Sachs’ 23-year-old granddaughter Georgina Baillie. The pre-recorded show on Radio 2 was broadcast on the 18th October, and left the nation fuming over how the pair treated the former Fawlty Towers actor.

Retired Brenda Harvard, 64, condemned the pair for their “disgusting behaviour”. Harvard, of Silverdale Drive, Bournemouth referred to it as appalling conduct by the BBC and considered their high wages a waste of the Licence Fee.

Sarah Edwards, 27, a Campaign Manager from Bodorgon Road, Bournemouth, agreed. “It’s ridiculous that we have to pay for something we have no control of, but this doesn’t affect my view of the BBC. The fault lies with Brand and Ross.”

The pair’s remarks earned over 10,000 complaints to OFCOM. The incident has many people questioning standards at the BBC. Martin Dundas, a 21-year-old computing student at Bournemouth University thought the episode undermined the BBC’s reputation, calling it “embarrassing.”

Melissa Vukovich, 23, of Allendale Road, Bournemouth, blamed the show’s editorial team. She argued Brand and Ross were hired for their edgy style, and that it is hypocritical of the BBC to punish the duo for offensive material, when the editors are responsible for censoring the final product.

Alan Gardner, 43, from Hastings, East Sussex believed Brand and Ross’ style reflects changing attitudes towards comedy.

David ‘O Keefe, 38, of Waltham Forest, London said: “The value of the licence fee should be spent on exciting new content, which Brand and Ross exemplify. If Radio 2 wants to lose its fuddy-duddy image, this is the way to do it.”

Salon Owner Mike Maddison, 70 from Winbourne, referred to the incident as “a storm in a teacup.” He argued that if the BBC should never be afraid to be controversial and innovative.

Adrian Uden, a 46-year-old Buyer from Dartford, Kent, believed Sachs should not have to sacrifice privacy just because he used to be in the public eye, and called it a vicious personal attack.

Siobhan O’Grady, 23, a sales assistant from High Wycombe said: “It’s easy to forget that they are still just real people with real feelings. The boys were right to apologise but they still did the wrong thing.”

At least Brand will have one fan left in 53-year-old Wanda Polaszek from Charlotte Jones Court, London. She defended the star, calling him “a lovely sexual being that has been torn apart by those bloody Daily Mail readers”.

By Jack Hyom and Olly Draper

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