Firstly, I’d like to make it clear that I didn’t listen to Russell Brand’s show which has caused all the rumpus this week - which means I’m in pretty much the same boat as most people who have complained about it.

I first heard about this at the start of the week, over a week since the show was broadcast, and at that point only two listeners had lodged complaints - and neither of them were actually about the Andrew Sachs phonecall.  Later yesterday, that figure had increased to around 1,500 and it’s now totalled 10,000.

Why is that?   I’m pretty sure Radio 2 won’t have been repeating the show so people are obviously putting in complaints based on what they are hearing on the news.  The coverage has been way over the top in my opinion - yesterday it was the lead story on ITV news, which is understandable as they are always going to revel in any story which goes against the BBC, and today even the Beeb feel they have no choice but to follow suit.  Were they to either not mention it at all, or just mention it briefly then they would be accused of covering it all up therefore making things worse.

At the end of the day, both Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross can really test the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not.  Their fans would argue they have probably done worse in the past, others would say that this time they have overstepped the mark.

Either way, calls for them to be sacked are wildly off target in my view.  Both accept they shouldn’t have done what they did, and have either apologised or are making plans to do so in person.

This story will likely rumble on, with inquiries looming about the whys and wherefores - I can understand why some are confused at how this was broadcast given it was actually pre-recorded rather than transmitted live, however it appears that the clip was played to Mr Sachs over the phone and his permission sought to air it.  He claims the line wasn’t very clear so he couldn’t hear exactly what was said!

Whoever decides what should be reported on the news, and indeed how it is reported, need to realise that they can actually end up interfering with the stories themselves.  There’s no doubts that the reporting of the credit crunch, for example, is perpetuating the problem - while the TV is covered with doom and gloom stories telling everyone it’s a bad time to be spending money, who would go out and do the exact opposite? Not many, that’s for sure.

Similarly in this case, the massive increase in complaints lodged shows that it’s the news coverage which has been the main reason for this increase - and people need to remember what they see on the news is only select clips taken out of context.

The only good thing to come of this was today’s quote from Mr Sachs’ daughter who said :

My father is the world’s most decent man.  To put him up in front of an audience for humiliation is ridiculous.     Kate Baillie

Isn’t that why he is famous?  I think she should take up that argument with John Cleese, not Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross…

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