Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Jumping on the Brandwagon

I must say I think the amount of fuss there's been over the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross obscene calls affair to be bizarre.

We've got a global economy which is tanking, we're on the verge of an American Presidential election which is likely to see the first African-American elected to the office, and there are continuing problems in Iraq and Afghanistan and yet the top story on all the news channels is that a couple of performers, who are known for being a bit risque and alternative, did something a bit risque and alternative?

Although I do listen to Radio 2, I rarely listen to either Ross or Brand - their style of broadcasting isn't my cup of tea. I therefore have no idea how bad the obscene calls to Andrew Sachs were. And nor do I greatly care. Yes, I suspect it probably did breach BBC guidelines on taste and decency, but I'm astounded that 10,000 people considered it a good use of their time to phone in and complain. Do all of them actually listen to Russell Brand's programme? If so, then surely they know what it's like. Or are they just Daily Mail readers responding to that rag's hatred of the Beeb? It seems nothing much has changed since the mid-1980s when the sight of bare buttocks in The Singing Detective prompted the Mail's fury and a campaign against the Beeb by right-wing Tory MPs.

But this episode has served one useful purpose, which is to remind us just how shallow and opportunistic both Gordon Brown and David Cameron are. Both of them have weighed into the row, even though I suspect neither actually heard the programme. But neither can let a bandwagon - or in this case a Brandwagon - pass by without jumping on the back of it. It's a good job that neither's got anything important to do like, ooh, managing an economy which is heading into recession or providing a clear alternative to the Government's policies.*

I've got a great idea. I'm going to phone up Brown and Cameron and call them both complete tossers and then get Radio 2 to broadcast it. Yes, it would probably get the BBC into more hot water, but at least it has the virtue of being absolutely true.

* At least, that's what Cameron should be doing as Leader of the Opposition, even though he hasn't managed it yet.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I therefore have no idea how bad the obscene calls to Andrew Sachs were."

Easy enough to find out - it's all on YouTube.

Irrespective of priorities there is a serious point here. Under the Telecommunications Act 1984, it is a criminal offence to leave grossly offensive messages over telephone or make indecent or obscene or menacing telephone calls or calls which cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.

Furthermore I for one object strongly to my share of the license fee being spent on paying this pair of scum. Or the editor who allowed the broadcast.

Bernard Salmon said...

I can think of about 10 million better things to do than going on to YouTube to see Brand and Ross making obscene calls.
And if there has been a criminal offence, then let Brand and Ross be prosecuted. But why exactly is it anything to do with Brown and Cameron?
As for the point about the licence fee, by all means campaign for a change in the way the BBC is funded - I actually agree that the Beeb will eventually have to move towards some sort of subscription based service - but I hope that won't be decided solely by outrage over one incident where a couple of presenters overstep the mark. And nor do I want the mock outrage of the Daily Mail to decide what constitutes taste and decency in this country.

Anonymous said...

"I can think of about 10 million better things to do than going on to YouTube to see Brand and Ross making obscene calls."

If you haven't listened to it then don't pontificate on it.

"As for the point about the licence fee, by all means campaign for a change in the way the BBC is funded"

Actually I believe in the concept of public service broadcasting and don't have a major problem with the license fee - provided it is used responsibly.

Bernard Salmon said...

Er, I'm not pontificating on it, that's the point. I said I don't greatly care about what Ross and Brand did and that the whole fuss is bizarre. My point is that (a) it's not something which really deserves to be the leading item on all the news bulletins and (b) that Brown and Cameron should concentrate on what they should be doing rather than nonsense like this.

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