Brand and Ross Suspended: Whole Thing Blown Out of Proportion

The BBC have announced today that Russell Brand and Johnathan Ross have been suspended following a series of prank calls to Andrew Sachs broadcast on Brand’s pre-recorded show on October 18th.

I don’t condone what Brand and Ross did on their show, but MPs calling for them to lose their jobs and the BBC suspending them until the incident is investigated is just blowing everything out of proportion. When the news initially broke, only a handful of complaints were made.

This is yet another case of overreaction by the British media to goad people in to complaining, even if they didn’t actually hear the incident first hand. When the news first broke, our local news reported 67 complaints, not even a handful of Brand’s total audience. After the Daily Mail featured a report on it, OfCom then decided to investigate the incident. A few days later, over 18,000 complaints and the whole thing is what everyone is talking about.

The mistake here really lies with the production team. The show was not live, it was pre-recorded, giving the producer a chance to completely cut the prank. Reports suggest that there was more that they didn’t actually broadcast, so why did some of the incident survive the cutting room floor?

Brand and Ross are two of the most popular figures on the BBC. Love them or hate them, they attract massive audiences to their Radio and TV programmes. To sack them for something that is no more than a prank taken too far would be an overreaction.

The winner in all of this is the woman right in the middle of it; Georgina Baillie, the 23 year-old burlesque dancer who has confirmed that she had a ‘brief’ fling with Brand. She’s now front page of most of the tabloids, which I’m sure will land her a lot more attention to her MySpace page (and her dance troupe).

At least it takes some of the attention of the downturn/recession/global finanical meltdown.

Technorati Tags: , , , ,

4 Replies to “Brand and Ross Suspended: Whole Thing Blown Out of Proportion”

  1. I agree the whole thing has been blown out of proportion (especially the farce of the prime minister weighing in with his opinion), but i do think swift disciplinary action should have been taken against both the producer who made the decision to broadcast the segment & Ross & Brand themselves.

    At the end of the day, consider the issue without reference to the celebrities involved: if anybody, in any job anywhere, had left a series of answering machine messages of the nature of these (& it transpires what was cut was a sequence where they were suggesting breaking in to his house & sexually assaulting him), phoning from work in work time on work business to a member of the public, they would have been instantly dismissed on the grounds of gross professional misconduct & bringing the company into disrepute. Indeed, had they not been two of the BBC’s biggest stars but a pair of minor Radio WM jockeys, there would almost certainly have been disciplinary action taken.

    So why should Ross & Brand have been allowed to get away with it where others wouldn’t ?

  2. Excellent point, Simon and thanks for stopping by. There have been times when both Ross and Brand have made comments on air which were questionable.

    It will be interesting to see what does actually happen over the next few days.

  3. I couldn’t agree more – while the pair of them did a very stupid thing, goaded on by the other, it’s the production team who should be explaining themselves to Mark Thompson. They made the incredibly ill-judged decision to broadcast. Ross and Brand have both made a living from being controversial and the public have lapped it up – had they done this in a live interview there wouldn’t have been anywhere near the uproar. Following Brand’s resignation, it’ll be interesting to see what happens to Ross today…but I’m more interested to know what happens to those who had the power to pull the broadcast and decided not to. And you’d have thought Gordon Brown had more important things to worry about, because I think, I THINK, there might be an economic crisis going on that requires his attention.

  4. Hey Faith, and thanks for stopping by.

    I’m going to do a follow up post in a second, but it’s interesting to see what’s now happened to Ross and what the fallout will be like for the BBC in the future.

Comments are closed.