Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand are Innocent, OK?

Well, not totally innocent. They went too far in a bit of comedy banter last week, and have rightly apologised. But the reaction from both their employers at the BBC, and a number of licence-payers, has been both clumsy in inappropriate, in my opinion.

The radio show in question was pre-recorded, which is a wise precaution given the nature of the presenters. The same is true, for the same reasons, of BBC shows such as Have I got News for You?, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, and The Graham Norton Show. Prior to broadcast, BBC editors and lawyers are supposed to check the content. This is where the failure occurred.

Only two listeners complained when the show was broadcast. Thousands have complained since, some of whom, by their own admission on air, have not heard the 20-minute routine. Seems to me more like a chance to beat the BBC than to be outraged by something they heard.

I assume that after a few days cooling their heels, both presenters will be back on air, and we can get back to reality. About time too.


Ian R McAllister said...

I think in the case of both the presenters, and the editorial policy of the BBC, there is probably a higher price yet to pay.

Like many I listened to the original show, but unlike many I have not registered a complaint. The more I listen to what is coming out of the "to broadcast" process, much as though I think it was a teenage prank gone wrong, the bigger failure was the editorial process at numerous levels: to pick up the issue in listening; to react to Sach's request; to react to his agents formal request - and all before broadcast on Saturday.

In light of the BBC's slow reaction, I think we might lose Brand from BBC Radio2; Ross will survive because he is too big a star, either on the BBC or those wanting to employ him at Ch4, and later ITV - audience figures speak in the media. The producer who OK'd the transmission at best has a career in teaching media, while the BBC has at least 12months on internal debate to come up with a new set of rules which will also be broken at a later date - such is the way of edgy broadcasting!

Alan said...


Thanks for your comment. I think you're right - Ross will keep his job, but Brand may be sacrificed. I also agree that the Editorial department will carry the can. Rightly so, in my opinion.

Dawn H said...

It looked like Russell fell on his own sword to save a friend - however cant believe that no-one from the editorial team has been fired as surely this is where the 'system' fell down

Alan said...


I agree - I think that's exactly what happened. And yes, a head or two will roll in the editorial department, since that's where the real error was made. Having been at recordings of shows like Never Mind the Buzzcocks, everyone in the studio would have to be sacked if all of the content went out on air.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

The controller of Radio 2 has just resigned. I think more heads will roll.