Speaking of Russell Brand

I’m tired of this brouhaha over his and Jonathan Ross’s phone calls to Andrew Sachs (Manuel of Fawlty Towers) — or, rather, to his answering machine — on Brand’s BBC Radio program. Neither one is known for being particular sensitive or mature so it shouldn’t have surprised anyone that their phone calls veered off course.

It was all over the news, both in the UK and internationally. BBC News even provides a timeline of the events. I’ve heard the show — it was in poor taste but I suspect that’s what they were going for. Given some of the borderline things I’ve heard from other British comedians, what they did wasn’t even *that* far over the line. And I don’t imagine either of them meant anything malicious by it. I don’t imagine they were thinking much beyond entertaining their audience and the other people in the studio, much like Howard Stern. Being somewhat offensive is what they are all about, like teenage boys. 😉

I do find one thing a bit puzzling. The show was recorded two days before it actually aired. Andrew Sachs and his agent don’t appear to have gotten upset about the show until it aired. So clearly the messages that were apparently left on the answering machine weren’t actually left on the answering machine, since Andrew doesn’t appear to have known about them until the show aired. The BBC timeline says:

Meanwhile, Andrew Sachs tells the BBC the show’s producer called him on the day of recording to ask if he could use the sequence in question.

He continued: “The signal was poor and I couldn’t really hear what was being played down the line to me.

So I presume he never actually received the messages himself directly. (Having listened to the show, I’d wondered why the person who was in charge of dialling the phone didn’t press 1 for more options and then delete the messages as Brand and Ross left them.) If that’s the case, then IMO it’s even more of a tempest in a teapot.


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