Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Now Ross under pressure to quit

Jonathan Ross
Russell Brand

Pressure was building on Jonathan Ross today as BBC director general Mark Thompson reports to the corporation’s governing body on the prank calls scandal.



Former Radio 2 presenter Russell Brand resigned last night after widespread condemnation of the prank the pair pulled on veteran actor Andrew Sachs.

Former heroin addict Brand said he took “complete responsibility” for the incident which he blamed on getting “caught up in the moment”.

The pair left messages on the Fawlty Towers star’s phone saying Brand had slept with his granddaughter Georgina Baillie and that he might kill himself after hearing about it. The messages were then broadcast and so far more than 25,000 people have complained.

Ross and Brand were both suspended yesterday, before Brand’s resignation, and filming for the Friday Night With Jonathan Ross show was cancelled hours before it was due to be recorded last night.

Ross — whose BBC contract is reputed to be worth £16,000 a day — has apologised to Sachs personally for his, “juvenile and thoughtless” remarks.

The BBC last night refused to discuss arrangements for the termination of his contract, but reports suggest Ross has been suspended on full pay.

Today Mr Thompson will report to the BBC Trust the findings of the BBC management’s investigation into how the comments came to be cleared for broadcast. Rotha Johnston from Co Antrim and former Belfast City Hospital consultant Dr Chitra Bharuch, both members of the BBC Trust, were expected at the meeting.

Brand paid tribute to Ross in his resignation statement calling him a “great broadcaster”.

He said that Ross had been “silly” but, “was not malicious”.

Speaking to The Sun after the pair’s suspension, Miss Baillie said: “I’m thrilled because justice has been done. Let’s see what Ofcom choose to do about it.

“Me and my granddad are both really happy because it could have damaged our reputation permanently.”

Miss Baillie also revealed that Brand mimicked Manuel, the Fawlty Towers character played by Andrew Sachs, during their fling.

She told The Sun that he pranced around the bedroom yelling “Que?” and “I Know Nothing” — well-known phrases uttered by Spanish waiter Manuel during the iconic TV series.

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