The Big Issue 29/10/2008: The Russell Brand and Jonathon Ross ‘prank’ calls

Posted by Nicole

The story that’s just getting bigger and bigger is the furore surrounding the on-air prank calls to actor Andrew Sachs by Russell Brand & Jonathon Ross on Brand’s pre-recorded Radio 2 show.  According to reports, the BBC has received an unprecedented 10,000 calls from angry members of the public calling for action to be taken.  The topic has even been discussed in the Commons and the BBC has now suspended the pair pending further investigation.

UK Media Coverage:

The BBC News website is leading with the story alongside a feature on how the Corporation vets its programmes – one of the key questions raised by the whole sorry affair.

 

The Daily Mail’s homepage has no fewer than 4 stories on the subject including Sach’s granddaughter, Georgina Baille’s response to the messages and an opinion piece from Piers Morgan who says that Ross, but not Brand, should be sacked by the BBC.

 

The Times asks how Radio 2 has gone from a station with a pipe & slippers image to a venue for obscene phone calls from a former heroin-using comic.

And both The Independent and the Telegraph feature opinion pieces on how the whole affair is evidence of deeper problems at the BBC.

 

Sky News asked ‘Was the Ross-Brand prank funny?’ in their lunchtime live debate.

 

Also on the Web:

On MSN:

My thoughts:

I listened to the calls yesterday on Brand’s podcast and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. It reminded me of school kids making prank calls from their home phone while their parents were out and it was deeply unfunny and juvenile.  The thing I’m most surprised about however is how the whole segment was allowed to air in the first place.  The show was pre-recorded and surely there was a chain of editorial sign-off?

Others’ thoughts:
Of course, commercial media companies (particularly those with broadcast or radio subsidiaries) that compete with the BBC are always likely to make the most of this story. Others believe that the whole affair is a storm in a teacup. On our message boards Zoey73 says: “The whole thing with Ross and Brand has been blown way out of proportion. I suspect that many of these people asking them to resign did not hear the show, especially those people who hate them so much ( I mean why would you sit down to listen for an hour to someone you dislike?) I think they are being made into scapegoats. There are so many worse things going on in the world, why do we have to walk on eggshells all the time. I heard the show and it just seemed to me like a bit of silly schoolboy type fun. The best thing Andrew Sachs can do is just ignore it.”

Your thoughts:

What’s your view on the issue?  Should the BBC take disciplinary action?  Have your say on our message boards or leave a comment below.

http://boards.msn.com/UKEntertainmentboards/thread.aspx?threadid=829893

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