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article imageBBC bad boys may bow out boisterously

By Andrew John     May 18, 2010 in Entertainment
Two bad boys of BBC radio who left an obscene message on the answerphone of actor Andrew Sachs are to appear together on British television, as one of them sings his swansong.
Hugely popular Jonathan Ross is leaving the BBC, where he’s been hosting a successful Friday night show for several years.
But he and Russell Brand got into hot water in 2008, when, during a Radio 2 late-night show, they prank-called Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs and left a message on his answerphone, with Ross saying Brand had “fucked your granddaughter” (Brand had had a relationship with the woman in question).
The episode has since been branded “Sachsgate” and “Manuelgate” (after Sachs’s character of the waiter Manuel in the seventies comedy series Fawlty Towers, with John Cleese, Connie Booth and Prunella Scales). What made matters worse was the fact that this particular show had been prerecorded to fit in with Brand’s other commitments, and had been approved for transmission.
This, almost as much as the obscenity itself, led to public outrage and an inquiry within the BBC. Such was the outcry that even then Prime Minister Gordon Brown felt the need to condemn the incident as “clearly inappropriate and unacceptable”. Complaint calls from members of the public ran into the tens of thousands.
The controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, resigned, and the BBC issued a public apology, saying the call was “grossly offensive” and a “serious breach of editorial standards”.
Brand resigned from the BBC and Ross was given a 12-week suspension without pay. Ross has since resigned from the corporation, but not over “Manuelgate”, and his last show will be in July. He also has a Radio 2 slot and fronts film reviews for the BBC.
Now, Ross has invited Russell Brand to appear on the final episode of his BBC chat show, according to Digital Spy, and it could make for some boisterous television.
“Sources say that the broadcaster wants to use his swan song edition as an opportunity to speak publicly about 2008’s ‘Manuelgate’ scandal, which was sparked when he and Brand left offensive messages on Andrew Sachs’s answerphone during a Radio 2 programme,” says the online outlet.
It quotes a BBC insider as telling the redtop Sun: “Jonathan and Russell are great friends but they’ve never really discussed what happened in public. So Jonathan thought that it was right that now the dust has settled he should be allowed to have Russell on and talk about Sachsgate with him.”
Another is cited as having told the Daily Mail: “You can imagine that Jonathan and Russell will be in high spirits – it will definitely be an interview not to be missed. It is surely Jonathan’s way of putting two fingers up to the BBC.”
But a BBC source said that the move had not yet been approved by corporation bosses: “The guests have not been booked. As always, we will have final say on the bookings.”
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