Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Brand XXXX


It seems the Brand/Ross/Sachs story ("Wossgate"?) is finally moving to a conclusion.

I have to confess that initially my sympathies were very much with the baying mob - Sadie at the always-excellent Sadie's Tavern got it pretty much spot on, I thought. There's been plenty of mileage for The Daily Mash too here and here.

For me, one of the fascinating elements of the story was the fact that the broadcast took place on Radio 2. Radio 2!! Regular readers will know that I'm a Radio 4 & 5 man, and I haven't listened to Radio 2 since I had to, when it was my parents station of choice in the 1970's.

Now I don't want to get all "jumpers for goalposts" on you, but it was a very, very different station then. Weekdays were dominated by the likes of Jimmy Young, Waggoners Walk and John Dunn. The nearest it got to edgy humour was The Grumbleweeds. And on Sunday evenings, we entered the cultural timewarp that was Sing Something Simple. Offhand, I don't recall a potty-mouthed Charlie Chester boasting about his impregnation of Pam Ayres...

Still, in an appropriately low-key fashion, Brand has now resigned from his show. Clearly that isn't enough for the likes of the BBC-baiting Daily Mail. So now the true agenda has moved away from the offensive taunting of a gentle and much-respected actor, to Right's desire to punish a BBC it loathes.

I agree with a commentator on the Breakfast programme this morning - if the BBC now sacks Ross, it will be open season on any BBC actor or producer which offends the moral sensibilities of the Conservative 'moral majority'. BBC bosses should recognise the danger and stand firm. It's time to draw a line under the story and move on.

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm a Jazz FM and Radio 2 listener.
Radio 2, has changed, and I think generally for the better.Terry Wogan is still as good and as funny as ever.

I would like the pair to donate a sizeable amount to Children in Need, apologise to the masses and then we can move on.

I would not like to see them, or any others sacked.
I also agree with you about your Daily Mail comments. If Ross didn't get paid so much, I doubt if there would be as much furore.

S.P

miketually said...

What I've been shocked about is the volume of coverage this has been getting. It was the top story on the BBC Breakfast news this morning (somehow I briefly managed to switch over from CBeebies), with a story about a potential humanitarian disaster in Africa pushed into second place!

When it was initially broadcast, only two complaints were received. Presumably, these were from Mr Sachs and his granddaughter.

On the positive side, at least it's pushed news of potential financial armageddon off the front pages.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

What they did was rude,offensive and stupid and goes beyond the bounds of decent, civilised behaviour which we expect the BBC to uphold.

It was an offensive telephone call which is a criminal offence. The recipient was shocked and outraged by it. it was not funny.

Imagine if an employee made a similar call to an elderly person. They would be sacked on the spot and the police would take a very keen interest. The same should happen to Messrs Ross and Brand. They should go as should the person or persons in the BBC who authorised the broadcast. Ross and Brand should also be prosecuted.

It will be interesting to see if prosecutions result or will it once again be one law for the rich and another for us mere mortals?

I don't regard this as a trivial matter at all. If they get away with a slap over the wrists it will send out all the wrong messages that it's OK to make offensive comments on the airwaves.

If this sounds like a conservative(with a small c) moral majority posting then yes it is and I am proud to do so.

miketually said...

"[i]Imagine if an employee made a similar call to an elderly person.[/i]"

What if the elderly person had agreed to be interviewed by the employee, who was well known for their edgy behaviour?

What Ross and Brand did was wrong. They admitted as much and apologised. Mr Sachs accepted their apology.

The real story here is just how much time and money has been wasted over a trivial (in the grand scheme of things) matter. Did we really need Parliamentary time taken up with this? Did the PM really need to become involved? Did we really need to push serious matters down, or out of, the news bulletins, websites and blogs?

Still, I'm sure that Ross and Brand will sell a few more books and get higher viewing figures for the new Channel 4 shows they'll probably get off the back of leaving the BBC. I'm sure Sach's granddaughter made some cash selling her story to the Sun, and that her burlesque group - Satanic Sluts Extreme - will sell some more tickets for their shows which include "blood, guts, gore, sexy striptease and slutty activity".

Anonymous said...

Great. Are they playing anywhere round here soon?

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

Mike I don't see it as trivial matter at all or wasting time.

What we have here is a lowering of morality and decent behaviour on the BBC. it is also very shocking indeed that they think they can say whatever they like even if it is depraved and hope to get away with it. They also cannot see that what they said is crude, lewd and shockingly insensitive and also a criminal act.

It is perfectly obvious these guys are out of control and should not be broadcasting to the nation.

Paul Cain said...

Interesting.

If Andrew Sach's grandchild had been a gay man, I imagine you'd be bawling 'homophobia' at the top of your voice and demanding legal action under various telecoms and hate crimes acts?

I'd wager you'd be at the front of the 'baying mob' waving your placard if Bernard Manning rose from the grave to make jokes about black people. I suspect you'd call for legal action on race relations ground.

And in both cases, you'd be right to do so.

Yet you adopt different standards when it comes to the moral values of what you believe to be the 'conservative' wing of society.

Yes, you tut-tut about the broadcast, but within days, this post demonstrates that you don't really care about an innocent, 78-year-old man having to listen to....well, you know the details as well as I do.

Ross and Brand are guilty of crimes against common decency - as much as the worst homophobe or racist.

Stop being a typically hypocritical Lefty, where you ban what offends you and encourage what offends those who disagree with you.

If it's offensive, it's offensive.

miketually said...

"Mike I don't see it as trivial matter at all or wasting time."

In absolute terms, no. But, compared to a major humanitarian crisis taking place in Africa? I know which I think deserves more news coverage.

"[i]What we have here is a lowering of morality and decent behaviour on the BBC.[/i]"

And they admitted as such and apologised. Andrew Sachs accepted the apology. Time to move on and learn from it, or time to engage in countless hours of BBC-bashing in the press and navel-gazing on the BBC?

"If Andrew Sach's grandchild had been a gay man"

And, if they'd been an obese, black, lesbian, single mum living on benefits it would have been a 'perfect storm' for the Daily Mail.

miketually said...

I think this post at Bloggerheads.com sums it up for me - Ross and Brand: bonfire night starts early this year.

Anonymous said...

Are the Lib Dems the BNP in disguise?

Lib Dem Councillor Yodels in Tesco

A senior Lib Dem councillor in Stockport went a-yodeling into his local branch of Tescos three sheets to the wind to buy more booze. On his quest he bumped into a Police Officer of a minority race and decided to use this as a point of abuse. He also threw in some homophobic insults for good measure and got arrested for his pains.
This week in court he was sobered up with a whopping £200 fine and £300 costs.
The Lib Dem(on) in question sits on Stockport Councills environment & economy scrutiny committee.
He is also a governor of a local early years centre.

Of course, Christian Walker is not just a councillor, he is a Lib Dem researcher who until recently was employed MEP Chris Davies.

So I am sure Mr Davies would like to completely condemn such actions, wouldn't he?

Davies said:

"If he was still working for me, my position would be that he's a young man (34!!!!!!!!), he got drunk and acted foolishly. Let those who are free of embarrassment cast the first stone. He's not the first man to have behaved stupidly."

Er, how about those of us who are free from ever making racially abusive statements being allowed to cast the first stone?

The fact Davies has not outright condemned this behaviour is nothing short of a disgrace.

Dear oh dear.

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1076376_race_councillor_suspended

Anonymous said...

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1076376_race_councillor_suspended

Paul Cain said...

Mike

I love the bit about "they apologised.... time to move on."

That's always the way with those of progressive views, caught doing something they shouldn't, isn't it?

Tony Blair and Alistair Campbell were masters at it: 'time to move on' was almost a catchphrase for them.

After Ecclestone, Iraq, Hinduja Bros, the "good day to bury bad news on 9/11" scandal, Iraq etc etc ad nauseam......ten minutes of contrition, then it was "move on, move on, nothing to see here."

Sorry, but that's not good enough. Ross and Brand broke the law and they should be prosecuted.

This was NOT a mistake. It was pre-recorded, checked by an editorial executive, edited before transmission, then broadcast.

This was a deliberate act.

As such, also given the BBC's public funding and increasing coarseness in public life (which I'm sure concerns people from all parts of the political spectrum), how can you blithely dismiss this as trivial?

Finally: the Daily Mail rant,from both you and Coun Wallis, is just lazy prejudice.

You might as well say that anyone who reads the Guardian (which sells about one sixth of the copies of the Daily Mail, strangely), is a smug, sanctimonious, humourless, holier-than-thou prig, who probably works in the public sector and wouldn't know a hard day's work if it bit him on the arse.

Just as catchy - and just as worthless - as the Daily Mail shorthand coming from you and Coun Wallis.

miketually said...

"[i]After Ecclestone, Iraq, Hinduja Bros, the "good day to bury bad news on 9/11" scandal, Iraq[/i]"

They're on somewhat of a different scale to two 'comedians' being stupid for 20 minutes.

My, and it would seem Nick's, issue isn't with whether Ross and Brand did anything wrong as we both agree that they did, but with the proportionality of the response in the news media.

Having listened to a recording if Wossgate (have you?), I can confirm that it wasn't particularly funny, but it wasn't in quite as much bad taste as yesterday's front page of The Sun.

It was also about a million times less newsworthy than what's going on in Dem Rep Congo and Rwanda at the moment, yet a quick glance at the news headlines wouldn't give you any idea that there was anything going on in Africa.

If this incident is a reflection on the state of the country's media, it's more of a reflection of the sad state of the celebrity-driven news programming, rather than editorial standards at Radio 2.

(This morning, the events in Congo have made it to the top story, but Wossgate is still in second place ahead of the India explosions, Osborne blasting Brown's borrowing, the Self-assessment 'switching trend', Lockerbie bomber applying for bail, Employers predicting a redundancy rise and a Million elderly people being lonely.)

ian said...

Whilst I enjoy some of the changes to Radio 2 (chris evans etc) I have never been a fan of Ross and just dont "get" Brand.

What they did was wrong, plain and simple.
Equally wrong is the lack of editorial control which allowed this to be broadcast.

Mr Sachs however, behaved with the utmost dignity throughout and he should be appluded for the way in which he has conducted himself.

Brand has gone, and Ross suspended and lost a quarter of his bbc income.
The controller of radio2 has taken the bullet for her staff.

The grand-daughter concerned seems satisfied with these outcomes.

To me that should now be the end of it, and time to move on.

ian said...

Whilst I enjoy some of the changes to Radio 2 (chris evans etc) I have never been a fan of Ross and just dont "get" Brand.

What they did was wrong, plain and simple.
Equally wrong is the lack of editorial control which allowed this to be broadcast.

Mr Sachs however, behaved with the utmost dignity throughout and he should be appluded for the way in which he has conducted himself.

Brand has gone, and Ross suspended and lost a quarter of his bbc income.
The controller of radio2 has taken the bullet for her staff.

The grand-daughter concerned seems satisfied with these outcomes.

To me that should now be the end of it, and time to move on.

Ian White said...

I say disband the BBC, let us all save £110+ a year on a forced licence fee, for what? 2-3 good series a year!
Make them go commercial and save the people paying for these over paid presenters.
It said Woss will loose 1.5 million by being suspended for 12 weeks, just how much do these wasters get? and how much of the licence fee pays for these people?

Ps I am not the Ian above.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

I thought John Humphries on the Today programme was absolutely right when he said the role of the BBC was to educate, to enrich the experiences of the viewers and listeners and to be a civilising influence.

This whole sorry episode could have been avoided if an editor had pressed the 'delete' button instead of the 'play' button.

Time to move on.

Anonymous said...

Alan Macnab writes....

I thought John Humphries on the Today programme was absolutely right when he said the role of the BBC was to educate, to enrich the experiences of the viewers and listeners and to be a civilising influence.

This whole sorry episode could have been avoided if an editor had pressed the 'delete' button instead of the 'play' button.

Time to move on.

BNP Volunteer said...

Word has reached us via the Lib Dem team working in North Road that they are going to throw everything into taking the Eastbourne ward.
They sense victory there because of apparent disillusion with Lil Vasey who is accused of showing little interest when members of her flock contact her with problems.

The worry for New Labour must be that Lib Dem super activist and genuinely likeable person Anne Marie Curry lives on the doorstep of the ward. Expect a 4 times yearly blitz of Focus on the streets of Eastbourne from now until May 2011.

Lil may be secretly hoping that her other half comes second in the North Road by election, so that AMC is too pre-occupied and weighed down in Rise Carr to be able to unleash a full scale assault on her vulnerable Eastend citadel which is seeing the Lib Dems close in on it from neighbouring Park East and Hurworth wards.

BNP Volunteer said...

Talking of North Road ward.
Is this the most dull by election ever!
Trudging round the streets with my bundle of leaflets the other day I found hardly any enthusiasm for the election at all.

After the initial buzz of controversy about Steve Jones standing again, everything has gone quiet. This does not bode well for the BNP especially in a squeeze ward where both Labour and Lib Dem have held seats in the recent past.
I think that this will just be going through the motions for us.

Our worst enemy is no publicity. We need awareness raising that we are standing and that we are a threat.
This gives the feeling that the other parties are worried about us winning which in turn legitimises us with the voters.

Of the residents that our people have spoken to while leafleting most are going to vote Lib Dem, the usual dickheads who inherited their parents voting habits are still sticking with Labour although they probably don't even know why and there has been one or two who are backing Steve Jones, probably because he did do good community work when he was a councillor. (Are we the only party not to have slagged him off in our literature?). No-one has admitted that they are voting Tory and we aren't getting anything like the response we got in Aycliffe recently. The whole thing is dominated by the Lib Dems Vs ZA-NU Labour.

Calling all Labour lefties. Please get out there with your satchels of "right on" leaflets and do the BNP a favour. We need something to check the apathy in this boring election and make us centre stage.

Mark said...

I could well believe that the Lib dems could take 2 of the 3 seats in Eastbourne as i have friends and family in the ward and think if the Lib Dems put the effort in then they could un seat 2 of the Labour councillors. As for Rod Francis he is untouchable as the best councillor in the town.

ali hardwick said...

Little wonder you've been barred from the bnp forum, Trevor.

Keep up the good work ;))