And the Plot Thickens. So far, we basically have the idea that two presenters phoned an answering machine and left lewd messages, and it was broadcast uncut and without the say so of the subjects. Brand, because of his relationship with the head of Radio2 was able to bully producers into doing his bidding. Both Presenters wanted to broadcast it.
But, did they actually record the messages on the answering machine? Did Andrew Sachs actually give permission? We have several top people at Radio 2 Resigning, so should the presenters still be punished? Was it the producers job? And where was the compliance paperwork?
Brand says: ‘The grey area is that our brilliant young producer, Nic Philps, called Andrew Sachs afterwards and said, “Is it OK? Can we use it? Do you mind?” And he said, “Oh yeah, but can you tone it down a bit?” So we did. We took out the more personal stuff.’
Some radio sources have suggested that not all of the series of offensive messages, aired on Brand’s show, were left on Sachs’s answering machine, but were recorded separately. The BBC said it could not confirm or deny this claim.
Specifically, the [Independent on Sunday] has learned, Ross warned producers that the now infamous lewd phone call should not be broadcast. Friends of the entertainer say he realised within minutes that the call had gone too far. According to these friends, Ross told Radio 2 producers: “I expect you’ll be editing all that out”, to which the reply was: “Some of it’s funny.” Ross then said the producers should check if Andrew Sachs was happy with the edit before broadcast.
Sachs himself has confirmed that he was phoned by somebody at the BBC who asked if the messages left on his voicemail could be broadcast. Although he did object, someone at the BBC overruled his and Ross’s concerns and went ahead.
“It is not Ross’s fault,” a friend said. “There is a golden rule across the industry that producers are supposed to protect talent, especially guests on other people’s shows who might get roped into something. If you are a producer, then it’s your responsibility.
“If it’s a live show, you have talkback from your producer, so if you do anything wrong you can be told to apologise. If it’s a pre-recorded show, then it’s up to the producer. Guests are not responsible. Ross’s treatment has been grossly unfair. Whether what they said was right or wrong, it need never have gone to a wider audience. It could have stayed between the people in the studio and Andrew Sachs.”
Please note: Nic Philips is the show producer. He has a say over what happens into it and should be aware of the BBC’s code of conduct and the stance over Public taste and decency. And even if he is unsure, Dave Barber (head of Compliance for Radio 2) should really clarify it.
BBC NEWS | Entertainment | Timeline: Russell Brand prank calls
Just so you know exactly what happened…
Here are extracts from those messages:
Message one: As Brand begins to leave a message, Ross blurts out: “He fucked your granddaughter… I’m sorry I apologise. Andrew, I apologise, I got excited, what can I say – it just came out.
Brand replies: “Andrew Sachs, I did not do nothing with Georgina – oh no, I’ve revealed I know her name. Oh no, it’s a disaster.”
Ross goes on to say: “If he’s like most people of a certain age, he’s probably got a picture of his grandchildren when they’re young right by the phone. So while he’s listening to the messages, he’s looking at a picture of her about nine on a swing…”
Message two: “Andrew, this is Russell Brand. I’m so sorry about the last message, it was part of the radio show – it was a mistake.”
Ross adds: “It might be true but we didn’t want to break it to you in such a harsh way.”
Brand goes on to say: “No, I’m sorry, I’ll do anything. I wore a condom. Put the phone down. Oh, what’s going to happen?”
Message three: The message opens with Ross saying: “She was bent over the couch…”
Brand then improvises a song which includes the lines: “I said some things I didn’t of oughta, like I had sex with your granddaughter…”
Message four: Brand opens the message with: “Alright Andrew Sachs’ answerphone? I’m ever so so sorry for what I said about Andrew Sachs.”
“Just say sorry,” adds Ross,
“I’ll kill you,” says Brand laughing.
“Don’t say you’ll wear him as a hat – just say sorry,” continues Ross.
“Sorry, right,” adds Brand.
And the voice of middle England speaks out.
When I was a lad, the only place you ever heard offensive language was in the playground. And in the street. and everywhere except on TV. How times have changed. As far as I am concerned, Offesnive language is the language that stifles free thought and expression of ideas. Go Figure.
They keep getting into trouble for violent scenes. The latest one is a character being buried alive.
Surely this is not family entertainment?