I kept getting asked today ‘what are my thoughts on the week’s main news?’
Only happy to oblige, straight away I give my thoughts on Barack Obama becoming the first black President of the USA. But, no, I’m being asked to reflect on the Russell Brand-Jonathan Ross-Andrew Sachs-Georgina Baillie saga!
Yes, this story will not go away. I too was amongst the 1 million viewers who tuned into the quickly put together Channel 5 documentary, “Russell & Ross: What the F*** Was All That About?” last night.
So, for what it’s worth, here’s my stance: a shambles! For a number of reasons really.
Let’s look at the facts. Brand and Ross, we are all now very clear about, pre-recorded a radio show which involved telephone messages about Brand’s past relationship with Sachs’ granddaughter Georgina Baillie in a round about childish way. And Sachs did not give the go-ahead on it, asking for it to be changed.
But the powers that be at the BBC ignored him and put the show out on Saturday 18 October anyway. Good move.
However, only two complaints were made following its broadcast about Ross’ swearing – not the content of the phone calls left on Sachs’ answer machine. And this, my friends, is where the story began in my opinion.
Sachs’ agent – Meg Pool – is alerted about the show by a Mail on Sunday reporter, who then tells Sachs, who then becomes insulted.
In a quick response, Brand issues an apology on his show. But, oh dear, he also has a pop at the Mail on Sunday.
Outraged, the Sunday newspaper reports “the BBC could face prosecution over obscene phone calls” to Sachs. This then ends up on other websites and eventually to nearly 40,000 complaints and even the Prime Minister getting involved! Now, I’m sorry, but I find the story from this point a little tedious. Nevertheless, I shall carry on.
Next, it was announced last Thursday Lesley Douglas, controller of BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and Popular Music, handed in her resignation blaming herself for the whole episode.
She, of course, followed Brand out the door of Radio 2 to mix responses and £6 million-a-year Ross got a three-month suspension.
Time, they say, is a healer and the TV licence paying public knows full well the chat show host and film critic will be forgiven. Yet, at close to 50 years of age he ought to know better.
But the fuss now has got to stop. Even Sachs and the delightful member of Satanic Sluts, Baillie, has started to feel sorry for the TV pair.
Baillie has also gone on to make a small fortune with a little help from a Mr Max Clifford, so she has been compensated for the consequences. Sachs, in my opinion, will always be loved and probably will now land some good work.
And Brand will be fine.
What about Ross? Like I’ve said, time will tell.