The Ross and Russ Suspension – EOS Sticks Its Oar In
Did you hear the one about the exotic dancer who got a couple of male TV personalities into a whole heap of trouble? Her name’s Georgina Baillie, and she dances with a delightful troupe of entertainers called Satanic Sluts as a burlesque performer (that’s stripper with feathers in case you didn’t know).
Aside from being a paragon of virtue, Georgie the stripper is not averse to the odd tumble with a celeb. She banged Russell Brand like a sparkly tambourine and then flew off on her European tour while his mate Jonathan “Car Crash” Ross took it upon himself to reveal this to the nation, and her old Grampy, who happens to be Andrew Sachs of Fawlty Towers fame, via Brand’s BBC Radio 2 show. Three days later the world as we know it collapsed in on itself as the combined outrage and horror of millions threatened to poison the very air we breathe in a catastrophe which would eclipse the financial breakdown of the planet and our impending ecological doom as mere twinkles in the eye of the great Moloch, Destroyer of Worlds.
So Ross and Brand have been suspended, their TV and radio shows pulled from the air, and the BBC left having to react to something which could have easily been prevented by a stern hand from a producer, rather than the limp wrist that presides over every episode of the Russell Brand show on Radio 2. Make no mistake, this is a bold decision from the BBC. They don’t pay those millions to Jonathan Ross for nothing and now they’re going to have to replace Friday Night With… which was due to film tonight featuring Miley Cyrus, Frank Skinner and The Killers. Russell Brand gets to keep his show Ponderland on Channel 4 as he wisely spread his seed a bit further. All the eggs in Ross’s BBC basket have been pulverised, over one silly joke which went too far.
A thought – could everyone be overreacting slightly? I mean, I can think of roughly ten billion more important issues which should be troubling the Prime Minister into making a statement. I would have had eternal respect for Gordon Brown if his statement about the Ross and Russ debacle had read as follows “The Prime Minister is of the opinion that this ‘issue’ is a load of old sensationalist bollocks. He wonders if you know who he is and that he’s very busy. He respectfully asks you to piss off and bother Stuart Maconie if you want a talking head for your tabloid news item”.
Let’s dig through the mire and look at the lonely old facts shall we? There they are, sitting dolefully in the corner while their friend ‘conjecture’ is shagged silly by the press. First off, there was no real invasion of privacy in the phone call. We heard Andrew Sachs’ answering machine message saying that it was Andrew Sachs and that he wasn’t there – leave a message. So far, so meaningless. The OFCOM guidelines on breaches of privacy state that expectation of said privacy depends on the extent to which the information is already in the public domain. The fact that Russell Brand and Georgina Baillie had a sexual relationship was already in the public domain, and no other information breached her privacy at all. Baillie posts pictures of herself in her underwear on publicly accessible sites like MySpace and Bebo, and if you pay your money you can see her take her clothes off and dance around covered in blood for the Satanic Sluts on any night of the week. How much privacy does she need?
An apology has already been made to Andrew Sachs by Jonathan Ross, who was the one who made the ‘upsetting’ comments in the first place, so couldn’t this be settled by grown ups? Why does the might of Ofcom or the police, as some have suggested, have to be invoked? Moreover, if there is going to be any disciplinary action, then what of the show’s producer Nic Philps and the senior producer who gave the go ahead to the transmission? Anyone who has seen footage of the Russell Brand show will know that he doesn’t act as his own tech op, i.e. he does nothing but stand and talk. Therefore, someone repeatedly put the studio through to the outside phone line to allow Brand and Ross to speak directly to the answering machine. Jonathan Ross was technically a guest on the show, and therefore it was the responsibility of the person in charge of the microphone faders to cut him off when he began to speak irresponsibly. In short, a lot of people were responsible for any distress caused to Andrew Sachs, and suggesting that Brand should be sacked, and that Ross should lose his radio and TV show with the BBC for the ‘outrage’ does not solve any internal problem, nor does it prevent the same thing from happening again.
Matt Morgan, who usually co-presents and tech ops the show, was tellingly not present. The sobering yin to Brand’s raging yang, he would never have allowed the two clowns to call back once the original damage had been done, let alone allow them to call four times. The absence of Matt Morgan has not been explained officially but a source tells us that there’s been some falling out between the long time collaborators which has led to Morgan taking a break from the radio show.
Incidentally, back in January, Russell Brand interviewed Chrissie Hynde and revealed that he had slept with her daughter Natalie, even going so far as to suggest a bit of mother/daughter action might be in order. Of course, no-one was offended, no-one complained, and the world stayed spinning on its axis. What a difference a few months make.