BBC slammed over Brand-Ross ‘prank’

Two abusive comedians are still in their jobs – for now – but the BBC was quick to blacklist a children’s author upon discovery that his books are Christian.

Just last month best-selling author, G P Taylor, claimed he had been dropped as a studio guest by the BBC after it found out his stories had a Christian theme.

Mr Taylor told newspapers: “A BBC producer told me ‘off the record’ that it was a matter of my faith and the fact that I was an Anglican priest. ‘We can’t be seen to be promoting Jesus’, he said with a laugh.”

But despite the vast tide of criticism levelled at the BBC’s handling of the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross stunt, so far no one at the corporation has lost their jobs over the ‘joke’.

The BBC has previously split with high-profile presenters for making offensive remarks. In 2004 the BBC suspended Robert Kilroy-Silk’s talk show after he wrote a Sunday Express column attacking Arabs.

But the BBC have so far failed to ditch Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand over their recent outrageous behaviour on Radio 2.

The two comedians sparked a storm of protest when they left an abusive ‘prank’ message on the answer phone of 78-year-old actor, Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel in the hit show Fawlty Towers.

The calls, made for a BBC radio show, featured Ross and Brand making lewd comments about Mr Sachs’ 23-year-old granddaughter.

On the show Ross yelled on Mr Sachs’ answer phone that Brand had slept with Mr Sachs’ granddaughter. They then invented obscene details of the imagined encounter. The pair even giggled that Mr Sachs might hang himself as a result.

The show was pre-recorded. According to the BBC: “A senior editorial figure signed off the programme, including its strong language, before it was broadcast.”

This has led to calls for BBC bosses to explain how such a decision could be reached by senior editorial staff.

Brand is thought to be paid a six-figure sum for his weekly radio show. Ross is paid a staggering £6 million per year for hosting a package of BBC programmes on TV and radio.

Ofcom is now investigating the incident after receiving a surge of complaints. The BBC Trust has said the broadcaster is conducting an internal review.

Simon Calvert, Deputy Director for Public Affairs at The Christian Institute, said: “The BBC’s failure to act decisively on this matter reveals a warped set of values at the publicly-funded broadcaster.

“If you’re a Christian who believes in family values and traditional morality you’re treated as an object of ridicule who never gets a fair hearing.

“If you’re a foul-mouthed lewd comedian you’re given millions of pounds of public money and your own radio and TV shows to fill the airwaves with sick jokes and abuse.

“The outrage being expressed by the British public isn’t just directed at two twisted comedians, it’s directed at a privileged broadcaster who has lost all touch with taste and decency.”

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