Brand quits BBC, Ross suspended

Russell Brand has quit the BBC and Jonathan Ross has been taken off air while bosses investigate ‘prank’ calls to 78-year-old Andrew Sachs.

The elderly star of hit show Fawlty Towers was targeted by the pair on a BBC Radio 2 show.

They left crude phone messages about sexual exploits with his granddaughter and broadcast them to the nation with the approval of producers.

But following over 18,000 complaints from the public all TV and radio shows hosted by either comedian have been suspended with immediate effect.

Brand has since announced he is quitting his job as host of his Radio 2 show.

Last night the Prime Minister weighed in on the matter, criticising the pair’s behaviour as “inappropriate and unacceptable” and calling on the broadcaster to take “appropriate action”.

Opposition leader, David Cameron, demanded transparency from the BBC over its decision to broadcast the pre-recorded stunt.

He said: “we need to know who made the decision to broadcast it? How high up the editorial chain did it go?”

The BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson, today issued a statement confirming that a full investigation is underway.

He said: “I have decided that it is not appropriate for either Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross to continue broadcasting on the BBC until I have seen the full report of the actions of all concerned.

“This gross lapse of taste by the performers and the production team has angered licence payers. I am determined that we satisfy them that any lessons will be learnt and appropriate action taken.”

Christians have been increasingly concerned by the BBC’s declining standards of taste and decency and the marginalisation of Christian views on the publicly-funded broadcaster.

In 2005 the BBC received over 60,000 complaints for airing Jerry Springer the Opera but has never apologised for the offensive show.

The show accused God of raping Mary and portrayed Jesus as a foul-mouthed homosexual, associating him with a character who gets sexual pleasure from wearing a nappy.

Yesterday the BBC’s dithering over the Brand-Ross affair was contrasted with its apparent ‘blacklisting’ of a successful children’s author because he is a Christian.

Last month G P 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.”

The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert said yesterday: “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.”