Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Just A Laugh
Having been on the nasty end of a stupid prank recently the news that Jonathan Ross and the bandy-legged Russell Brand are currently immersed up to their designer hips in hot water has struck a chord with me far more than perhaps it normally would.
Apparently, on Brand’s Radio 2 show, the pair left “sexually offensive” phone messages to old thesp, Andrew Sachs, claiming that Brand had slept with the actor’s granddaughter, Georgina Baillie (23), and that Sachs might kill himself upon hearing the news.
Hmm. As pranks go it’s pretty pathetic and the kind of thing that any half-baked sixth former could come up with in their wet-dreamed sleep.
Now I’ve done my own fair share of ringing up pubs and asking for “Mike Hunt” in my time but public humiliation on a national scale is something that – even in my selfish “the world owes me” teens – I would have steered well clear of. Forget the swing of a moral compass, surely your own common sense would tell you that this was a bad idea?
Sachs has taken it badly. His granddaughter has taken it worse and who can blame her? Personally I’d rather people think I’d shagged Jonathan Ross than Russell Brand but the poor girl has had little say in the matter.
What is interesting is that the prank was pre-recorded and approved by the show’s producers. The BBC initially defended it… but now that the media tsunami is hitting their sun loungers they are grovelling apologies in every shade of yellow imaginable.
There are calls for Ross and Brand to be removed from air.
I feel surprisingly ambivalent about it.
Should the pair be sacked? I don’t think so. As much as I dislike Brand (and have waxed vile about his shenanigans before) both of them have been very quick to publicly and vociferously apologize to the public and to Sachs and to his granddaughter for the joke.
Personal accountability goes a long way towards forgiveness in my book.
The gag was ill thought out and the producers – or somebody – should have had the brains to say no. “Sorry lads, this one is (a) just not funny and (b) is just going to result in a lot of adverse feedback – lets just stick to making adolescent innuendoes about the birds we fancy from the telly…”
The producers are just as – if not more – culpable. Maybe they are the ones who should be sacked?
A slap on the wrist, though ineffective and hardly a deterrent to Ross and Brand and not likely to satisfy Sach’s sense of justice is at the end of the day the only sensible course of action. Sacking them will solve nothing. Some other channel will only snap them up and make gold with the furore that they bring along with them.
The deed is done. They’ve owned up and apologized. Time to forget it and move on. It is the only wise way forward.