Everyone I've spoken to agrees that it's sad that Russell Brand felt obliged to resign from his Radio 2 show. We'd much have preferred to see him nailed screaming to the wall through his own entrails, begging to be allowed to confess. As for Ross, if he does eventually get the boot after his twelve-week spell in purgatory (which let's not forget will include the entire Festive Season, ha) - well, his reported £18m salary, shared out among the BBC licence payers, comes to about 50p each . Not a lot. Hand that saving over to everyone who is prepared, under sworn affidavit, to opt out of ever seeing or hearing him again in their life - still not a lot. BUT: charge the £18m out to those who think he's worth it, on some kind of 'pay-as-you-puke' tariff - now I can see my licence fee tumbling!
The escalation of complaints, from the two people who actually listened on the day (I'm recklessly equating number of complainants to number of listeners here, seems reasonable to me) to the 35 million or whatever it's come to who read about it in the Mail, and then saw the reports of the Mail's report, then heard and saw the hand-wringing analysis on every TV/radio channel yet invented (and, for all I know a few billion websites, blogs and twitter streams), is, well, interestingly amusing.
But the real point has been missed. The real offence was to Andrew Sachs - the leaving of this filth on his answering machine. This really offensive action had been committed some time before the programme was broadcast, and days before the Mail and their hounddogs picked up the rancid scent - damage already done. Andrew has graciously, sensibly, waved this off. To my mind, that makes it a private concern.
As an update, Sunday 2 November, having spent the weekend talking to a broad cross-section, I can report the following:
The age divide, mooted by the press (kids vs. older people) - it doesn't exist. People from 18 to 75 are unanimous that this was plain objectionable, not funny.
Having said that, there seems to be a convergence between 'funny' and 'shocking'. I raised the scene in 'Pulp Fiction' where Marvin gets his head blown off by Vincent, and we laugh. Laughter is a convulsive response to the unexpected; that doesn't make the event funny, never mind humorous. We probably all remember incidents of bullying and mild torture, at school or later, which end in 'only having a laugh, mate'.
The 25 year old editor who allowed this locker-room bullying episode to be broadcast in the first place - has he/she been sacked yet? And how come the bumbling Mark Thompson allowed Lesley Douglas to walk the plank on his behalf? If 'drop from the top' is still the BBC culture, then he should have jumped. But that's stupid in every respect, even the Mail's.
Nobody now likes (or watches) Ross, a spent squib whose broadcasts are more and more tediously about himself, less and less about his guests (wouldn't know, haven't watched chatshows for years, not since Meg Ryan fabulously deconstructed the format against the corpse of Parkie ...)
Everyone hates Russell Brand.
Where did that video of Wossie and his smirky zomby come from? Must have been somewhere in the BEEB. Who videos Radio 2 programmes, FFSake??