Ross told to cut back on crude comments

Jonathan Ross has been warned by the BBC to censor his swearing and be cautious about making crude comments when his show returns in the New Year.

In October Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross were disciplined by the BBC for their involvement in a phone prank involving elderly actor Andrew Sachs during a Radio Two show.

The pair left crude phone messages about sexual exploits with Mr Sachs’ 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 were suspended.

Mr Brand has since quit the BBC but Mr Ross will be making his first appearance after a twelve-week ban when he returns in the New Year.

Mr Ross has been instructed by BBC bosses to avoid making “sexually suggestive remarks” and “unnecessary swearing” to foil any further controversy.

The caution came after a BBC Trust report heavily criticised Ross for his involvement in the Andrew Sachs fiasco.

It also condemned him for the “gratuitous and unnecessarily offensive” language which he used towards actress Gwyneth Paltrow when he interviewed her last May.

BBC insiders are commenting: “The BBC is hugely scared at the moment. The show will be completely sanitised when it comes back.”

“They will be easing him back in. But can he drop the teenage behaviour and look at his birth certificate?”

A spokesman for the BBC claimed the meeting was merely a pre-production talk about the show’s return.

Media bias

In September a 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.”

In 2005 the BBC’s decision to broadcast Jerry Springer the Opera sparked national outrage and led to over 60,000 complaints to the BBC – twice the number received over the Brand-Ross affair.

The show contained hundreds of swear words and featured God the Father, Jesus Christ, Mary, Adam and Eve and Satan as warring guests on a special edition of the Jerry Springer show – staged in Hell.

Despite vast numbers of complaints and two unsuccessful High Court legal actions, the BBC’s Director General, Mark Thompson, defended the broadcast saying that there was nothing blasphemous in the show and that the screening was preceded with strong warnings that it could cause offence.

No action was taken against anyone involved in the broadcast. A BBC Radio Three producer resigned in protest at the corporation’s stance, saying it offended his Christian beliefs.

Antony Pitts quit after watching the show, saying: “The blasphemy was far, far worse than even the most detailed news reports had led me to believe.”