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BBC Trust.

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Eddie Mair | 12:22 UK time, Friday, 21 November 2008


1215 UPDATE on my earlier hurried scribbles: Here is the BBC News coverage....have a read and then share your view here.

You can read the full BBC Trust judgement on Ross/Brand (and others) HERE.


  • 1. At 10:46am on 21 Nov 2008, THEESSEXBOYS wrote:

    The news to come later today will no doubt justify our blog below to the politicians on Tuesday.
    If Ross goes so do Lyons & Thompson.

    THE ESSEX BOYS BLOG - 19th Nov 2008

    4 of us, after separately watching yesterday’s select committee appearance by ‘Batman & Robin’, agreed the top management were truly dire!
    They still feel the Ross/Brand problems centred on:
    (a) the internal control system and
    (b) the invasion of Sachs’ privacy and rights.
    They appear not to recognise that the public were, in the main, disgusted at the nature of the content itself.
    Messrs Lyons & Thompson believe the BBC must be ‘edgy’ and that the public want them to ‘take risks’.
    Arguably most business decisions involve ‘risk’ - that is the risk of being a good or a bad decision - but are generally made without compromising the ethos and reputation of the business itself.
    Both HAVE been compromised as our BBC - under its current management - have waded further and further into their own murky waters of ‘edginess’ and ‘risk’.
    Lyons is a lone voice in arguing that Ross is worth his £6m pa, which rather confirms how far out of touch he is. Apart from its inflationary effect, has it occured to him to look at the cost per viewer given the numbers for Ross’ off-peak tv and radio shows?
    And now Radio 2 has even announced that Ross will return on 24th January before the investigation is complete! Right and left hand?
    We believe these senior men fail the Corporation as managers and are way out of step with us, their customers, on what we really want for our £140 a year. Both may well be out of a job if Ross has to go so their personal interests seem to be standing in the way of a BBC with which most licence payers are happy.
    Sadly there can be no smugness on their news coverage either as Channel 4 and Sky easily and regularly out-perform them on content, relevance and scoops - and without the bias!
    We deserve better and judging by yesterday’s sad performances, we’ll get it only after changes at the very top.
    A bit like this Labour Government eh what?

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  • 2. At 10:47am on 21 Nov 2008, DI_Wyman wrote:


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  • 3. At 10:50am on 21 Nov 2008, annasee wrote:

    Ah go on! We love your rash promises.

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  • 4. At 10:59am on 21 Nov 2008, Fearless Fred wrote:

    ah, but what sort of rash will it be? A "freckly" one?

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  • 5. At 11:07am on 21 Nov 2008, Fifi wrote:

    I'm feeling an urge to scratch already.

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  • 6. At 12:16pm on 21 Nov 2008, justfloating wrote:

    Why is the list of risky programs so long that the trust did not have time to voice them?

    (5) I hope they have not put calamine lotion over everything!

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  • 7. At 12:17pm on 21 Nov 2008, Simon wrote:

    If they don't ditch Wossy then perhaps they'll just let his contract expire next year without renewal. Less nuisance and less newsworthy than paying him off early.

    This first slice of the Trust statement seems to concentrate on the financial climate. Better for them if they'd said they messed up in hiring Ross/Brand and were foregoing their bonuses as a result. Not because there's a money squeeze going on.

    Nothing so far about 'No further action'. Maybe Eddie knows something that we don't?


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  • 8. At 12:28pm on 21 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    The Glass Box is being unavailable, and trying to go to 'previous' from Train Fare Rises brings one back to here, it seems.

    Someone please tell the techies that the blog is looping again!

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  • 9. At 12:39pm on 21 Nov 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    We didn't need the Trust to tell us about Brand's "Gross britches", they're on view in the photo above.

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  • 10. At 1:09pm on 21 Nov 2008, justfloating wrote:

    I think page 29 is the best.

    Why would the trust print the whole of the mail front page? Especially while being critical of private life intrusion?

    The emails above are "good" reading too. Obviously had no idea of the implications.

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  • 11. At 1:12pm on 21 Nov 2008, modernMrHappyDays wrote:

    Jonathon Ross has clearly brought the name of the Corporation into serious disrepute. For most organisations this is a very serious offence - probably a gross misconduct offence - and I suggest that most organisations would sack the guilty.

    Of course organisations need to be seen as fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. If an everyday employee of the BBC behaved as Ross did, even without the ensuing publicity and who-hare, I suspect that they would have lost their job for the same reason. Perhaps you ought to invite the BBC's Head of Human Resources onto the programme to comment on whether they would have treated the everyday BBC employee in the same way as Ross - I suspect not!

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  • 12. At 1:30pm on 21 Nov 2008, Big Sister wrote:

    Hm. Strikes me they need a new set of teeth.

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  • 13. At 2:30pm on 21 Nov 2008, Dick Hobbs wrote:

    I have read the whole document, and there does not seem to be any record of what happened to the producer. Is he (she?) still a Radio 2 producer? Is there a process of retraining (as clearly the original training failed dismally)?

    It seems to me that the producer is at the heart of the cock-up, not by deciding that this was acceptable content but by deciding that, as there was no-one around to sign it off, there was no need to go through the editorial compliance process.

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  • 14. At 3:55pm on 21 Nov 2008, Sid wrote:

    "... this use of such offensive language must be approved at senior level ..."

    I love it! You really couldn't make it up!

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  • 15. At 4:16pm on 21 Nov 2008, Screamingmuldoon wrote:

    Can we find another photo of Brand please? That one in his shreddies is well past wash day.

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  • 16. At 4:19pm on 21 Nov 2008, The Stainless Steel Cat wrote:

    DickHobbs (13):

    As I understand it, the producer wasn't (isn't) employed by the BBC but by Brand's own production company - a recipe for disaster right there - and as such wouldn't personally be under the jurisdiction of the Trust.

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  • 17. At 5:01pm on 21 Nov 2008, AllotmentJo wrote:

    15 (S) - Please! Can we get rid of ALL the photo's of Brand. I have got quite fed up with looking at the ugly git!

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  • 18. At 5:02pm on 21 Nov 2008, AllotmentJo wrote:

    PS. That goes for Wossy as well!

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  • 19. At 5:16pm on 21 Nov 2008, needsanewnickname wrote:

    I still find it mind-boggling that no-one senior listened to the whole pre-recorded section. Controller R2 really should have.

    But this has all been said.

    A sad episode, all in all.

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  • 20. At 5:18pm on 21 Nov 2008, Mitcherooney wrote:

    Just what does Jonathan Ross have to do to get the sack from the BBC?

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  • 21. At 5:19pm on 21 Nov 2008, Shiponthewater wrote:

    1715 hours, yet more apologists for the Ross/Brand affair being given airtime - why are these people so far removed from any concept of a decent responsible society - why does Ross still have his job while others lower paid have lost theirs - It was his foul mouth that uttered such offensive remarks, yet others have paid the price and he still pockets our millions ?

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  • 22. At 5:23pm on 21 Nov 2008, petepassword wrote:

    Still worship celebrity, still learned nothing. Ross should take the lot of them with him and they can kiss his ass somewhere other than the public service broadcasting we all pay for.
    They've made it clear where they stand by not sacking him, there must now be a concerted campaign by everyone who gives a sh*t to have a complete clearout of OUR BBC.

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  • 23. At 5:25pm on 21 Nov 2008, petepassword wrote:

    And please, why are those pictures there at all? Who thought it appropriate? Was it an executive decision or is Eddie running his own fiefdom? Public enquiry anyone?

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  • 24. At 5:25pm on 21 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:

    I think it is somewhat sad that an individual can in effect get away with winding up another person into leaving obscene phone messages and broadcasting them on national radio, but also with having broadcast on public-funded television and in graphic terms a wish to fornicate with one of his female guests.

    Why was that incident not enough to get him disciplined, before his infantile wish to shock his elders by mouthing obscenities had dragged another person into his slough?

    I go back to my very first question, back before all this hoo-ha started: who decided these people were such must-have performers that they had to be paid such vast sums, and why?

    It seems to me that if Ross had not been employed for the three years at eighteen million quid, nobody would have felt ill-done-by about it -- if it had been explained when that contract was not given to him that he was too expensive, and the sum he wanted had been mentioned, would anyone who actually paid for a licence seriously have decided that he was worth it?

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  • 25. At 5:27pm on 21 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    C_G 24, Mark Byford told Eddie that Ross is worth what he is paid.

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  • 26. At 5:30pm on 21 Nov 2008, edrub wrote:

    Nice to hear Mark Byford again - it takes me back to the golden days of the Hutton inquiry. He avoids answering questions like no one else. Quite masterly.

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  • 27. At 5:37pm on 21 Nov 2008, RxKaren wrote:

    I find it hard to reconcile the fact in my mind that the BBC pay two performers a fortune to present that output which was blindingly inappropriate and pay a much lesser sum to production teams who deliver some wonderfully researched, considered and presented documentaries. I realise that it is different things for different audiences but it does make me wonder whether the BBC now values number of listeners over quality of product. I'm not sure that Mark Byford reassured me greatly on that point.

    Wasn't Ross the one who joked about redundancies in BBC News? Funny old world...

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  • 28. At 5:37pm on 21 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    C_G 24, The other one.

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  • 29. At 5:47pm on 21 Nov 2008, glasshoneybee wrote:

    I am so pleased that Eddie Mair brought up the issues regarding the appalling behaviour of Jonathan Ross in his interview with Gweneth Palthow. I wrote to the BBC to complain and was told by e-mail there was a warning before the show begins, that "there could be bad language" and therefore I should not watch it if I was likely to be offended.
    I just wish more people would object,
    he is rude, crude, vulgar and totally overpaid, and I for one would be very glad to see the back of him.... Carry one the good work Eddie.

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  • 30. At 5:48pm on 21 Nov 2008, Lady_Sue wrote:

    If I were on six million pound a year and given "three months off", I'd be laughing all the way to the Bahamas.

    The BBC Trust know that "the punters" tune in to J Ross in their thousands and the Trust, therefore, don't want to lose him. They are hoping this little punishment "gloss over" will placate the general public so they can reinstate him and get back on track.

    Selfish to the core! Shame on you!

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  • 31. At 5:49pm on 21 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    C_G 24, You follow all of that?

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  • 32. At 5:50pm on 21 Nov 2008, Lady_Sue wrote:

    Oh and yes... what about the "young producer(s)" who were sacked outright. I feel sorry for them - imagine having to stand between the Mighty Ross and the might of the BBC Trust!

    Whatever happened?

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  • 33. At 5:52pm on 21 Nov 2008, TouchMyMusic wrote:

    What an opaque report. Does it go out of its way not to include people's names? Apart from list "talent"; where are the names of the mysterious producer, Leslie Douglas, Dave Barber, etc. Why are they referred to but not named?

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  • 34. At 5:52pm on 21 Nov 2008, ourvoice wrote:

    The issue has now turned to, not bowing to pressure at all costs. I guess this is what it has always been about though. As the story has rolled on the execs have dug in deeper and deeper. The fox holes have now become trenches and like brats in the school yard they are saying, "speak on the blog cause we ain't gonna listen". We have heard nothing about any real change or review or shake up at the core of BBC editing. I can only assume they think its all in ok shape.

    Lets watch the future action on the issues of good taste, offensive concepts and language, not to mention the legality of phone calls. The gratiutious offensive rubbish doesn't begin and end with Ross and Brand you know.

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  • 35. At 5:56pm on 21 Nov 2008, steelpulse wrote:

    Coming back from Xmas shopping.

    Neither Madonna nor Guy Ritchie attended!Just heard on my radio.

    Did NOT attend their own divorce?

    Did either attend their own wedding or were nominees sent?

    And whilst I am "moderated on my favourite site for sending rude messages - without use of the the "F" Word - I then hear the findings of the Ross and Brand business. So I will post one here.

    Weasel words when Young Edward asked a pertinent question. BBC Deputy someone was challenged whether Mister Ross deserved his several millions for that sort of on air behaviour?

    No proper answer - in other words Jonathan is a celebrity - different rules seem to apply. If Russell B. hadn't decided to go himself - I wonder whether he would still have been there? No I don't. Of course he would still be there!

    I have great fun joshing celebrities in their absence and realise some things said are taken completely out of context. But they do set themselves up don't they?

    "Women can't cook to save their lives." - Gordon Ramsay. Yesterdays newspaper.

    Idiot! The best cook I know is a woman and NOT Mrs Ramsay either.

    What Gordon is sort of saying may I deduce "the best cooks are men and guess which man is the best?" :laughing: And how many others make the claim instead of shutting the :eek: up?

    He certainly is one of the gobbiest and can allegedly be rented to say stuff - so I take no notice of his ilk!

    I am a rubbish salesperson because I have to believe what I am saying most times - not how much does the job pay?

    BBC Trust - Tomorrow - Rail Fares?

    Eddie, old thing - who cares? It is all waffle - should have got BBC Deputy thingy to say it.

    It is wasted on quality broadcasters like thee and young Charlotte Green. You both are serious people.

    Toodle pip!

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  • 36. At 6:08pm on 21 Nov 2008, noojie wrote:

    does anyone else out there think this is all unbelievable tosh? Ok- the broadcast was mistaken and in dubious taste. But for goodness sake- resignations called for left, right and centre- mostly right of course- calls for a massive reform of what is still one of the best and independant media organizations in the world!!

    a free media makes mistakes, get over it

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  • 37. At 6:19pm on 21 Nov 2008, Psycho B Delic wrote:

    So who is this 'core audience' that the BBC has supposedly, lost contact with? 400,000 viewers, average age 55, majority of listeners are women - that sounds pretty core audience to me. I was pleasantly surprised to find this out on reading the report.

    I was one of the many thousands who felt they had to write in support of Ross & Brand and to counter the rising hysteria.

    The rank hypocrisy of the Mail talking about the invasion of privacy was galling enough, let alone those who regularly pay to read such stuff attacking the BBC and basically saying that the BBC should only broadcast material that they (the self-appointed guardians of my morals) approve.

    42,000 (most of whom do not listen to the programme) is around 10% of the programme audience and approximately .01% of the adult population. Who are they to dictate what and who the other 99.99% find acceptable.

    Why did I bother? Because I am fed up with the right wing trash press thinking that all they have to do is stir up an hysterical mob and they can 'Have' anyone they like, be it be the BBC or a politician.

    I am fed up with people saying 'why should my license fee be spent on Ross?' as if the BBC was only there for them. (I do hope that all those who threaten to "withhold" their licence fees enjoy their day in court & subsequent fine.) I detest All Soap operas yet I don't complain - I rejoice at the very concept of the BBC in all its diversity.

    Thatcher took on the unions who thought they could bring down whomever they wanted. The Banks took themselves down, and maybe Max Mosely, a victim of a gross invasion of privacy, will succeed in bringing the right wing trash press down to size.

    Oh well, we live in hope.

    Roll on Jan 24th :O) X

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  • 38. At 6:29pm on 21 Nov 2008, ianlomas wrote:

    I object to paying for programmes hosted by Mr Ross or his ilk. I had hoped that the BBC Trust would have realised that license payers who have no say in programme content rely totally on the integrity and judgement of those responsible for deciding what is good entertainment and what is good value. It appears that nobody at the BBC have learned any lessons. I hope that there is a debate over the license fee and that the 42000 people who objected over Mr Ross and his cruel attempt at humour along with his outrageous salary once again make their voices heard.

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  • 39. At 6:30pm on 21 Nov 2008, toughCuriousCat wrote:

    The Ross/Brand affair is definitely becoming boring but then they are celebrities so we must gossip about them. It adds to their special status.
    Trying to widen the debate a little, my objection to their behaviour is that it is bullying. They were trying to belittle someone else. Bullying programmes seem very popular at the moment - the talent shows with overbearing judges, celebrities being put in embarrassing situations so the audience can laugh at them (Does anyone else think they are watching the orang utans at the zoo?) and The Weakest Link - why do people volunteer to be sneered at?
    Most schools have anti-bullying policies but surely teaching students how to bully effectively would be a better life skill. Youngsters could look forward to being presenters on TV/radio, politicians and even managers of international companies, especially those in the world of media.

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  • 40. At 7:35pm on 21 Nov 2008, ourvoice wrote:

    The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

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  • 41. At 7:48pm on 21 Nov 2008, Charlie wrote:

    "In God We Trust".

    All others pay cash...

    (I just hope Mr Ross pays tax on it...)

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  • 42. At 7:52pm on 21 Nov 2008, Charlie wrote:

    A Femail-Tool-Box (Wot-Dat)?

    Who knows..?


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  • 43. At 7:54pm on 21 Nov 2008, RJMolesworth wrote:


    Whilst I agree with everything you say, those were fired should have been, as Ross should be, not for his antics but because he was not funny. He didn't even begin to be funny and being funny is what he is paid for.

    Only one person on this blog said that he found it funny but he was from Glasgow so it probably wasn't his fault.

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  • 44. At 1:25pm on 22 Nov 2008, J_O_E_L_-_C wrote:

    Did anyone watch 'Screenwipe' on BBC 4 with Charlie Brooker (broadcast on Tuesday night)?

    I would recommend it - its probably the most sensible take on it...With any luck the Daily Mail will reprint a transcript next week for those who wish to be offended...

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  • 45. At 1:59pm on 22 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    I've just read through the document.

    To me it again illustrates why Lesley Douglas should not have resigned.

    It was largely the fault of the producer and Radio 2's head of Compliance -

    by what I understand the producer was employed by the BBC and 'on loan' to Vanity productions.

    Lesley Douglas had to trust the integrity of the judgement by the head of compliance.

    I'm afraid he should have been the casualty.

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  • 46. At 2:53pm on 22 Nov 2008, cping500 wrote:

    re 45 the head of compliance. was a casualty and resigned a week back. The Trust doe not employ BBC staff.The Corporation does. Ross is almost certainly on a contract for services not employment so ending it (depending on the terms) would be rather expensive (write you own headlines for the Mail about the cost of buying it out). Sachs was phoned by Vanity about the sequence before the programme went out but it is not clear what he said. It was his agent who complained on his behalf four days later after being called by the Mail. The average age of the listeners to Brand programme was 50 according to Mark Thomson in Aerial the BBC House Magazine which is available to the public.
    The reason for the very large number of complaints I suggest is the BBC does not protect itself against computer generated complaints via BBC.co.uk and it should do so and also on its feedback sites too. Other media do this.

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  • 47. At 5:14pm on 22 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    cping 46, And Ms Douglas, who OK'd the program didn't listen to it either.

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  • 48. At 6:44pm on 22 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    Re: 46 - Yes, thanks for clarifying and reminding me that the head of compliance resigned. In my view that would have been sufficient.

    Re; David_McNickle,

    A small pedantic point but it's a 'programme' - and not computer code.

    Lesley Douglas had been away the day before - and if you read through the document, it's clear that the head of compliance had ok'd the broadcast as far as he was concerned.

    Lesley approved the f-****** along with the warning of bad language.

    It is not necessary for the controller of Radio 2 to listen to everything - that's why other staff are employed - such as the head of compliance.

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  • 49. At 7:13pm on 22 Nov 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    jonnie (48) I think David McNickle should be allowed to communicate in his natural dialect and accent ;o)

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  • 50. At 7:31pm on 22 Nov 2008, tedyeoman wrote:

    Jonnie @ 48

    It is not necessary for the controller of Radio 2 to listen to everything - that's why other staff are employed - such as the head of compliance.

    It is called delegation... you can delegate a task, the authority to do the task but you cannot delegate the responsibility for that task.

    As Controller Ms Douglas could have asked the doorman to approve the show and accepted his recommendation but it remained her job, her responsibility, to make sure it met the guidelines for out put.. Mind you the man ultimately resposible for all BBC out put is the DG...

    IMO Ross is a foulmouthed no tallent but at least the BBC is shot of the worst....

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  • 51. At 10:29am on 23 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    Point taken tedyeoman, though I'll have to disagree with you on your Jonathan Ross comments.

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  • 52. At 10:49am on 23 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    jonnie 48, Sorry: program, color, ...ize, while. You spikka da English how you want and I'll spikka it da way Webster taught me.

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  • 53. At 10:56am on 23 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    tedy 50, I'm sorry to be a pedant, but jonnie says you misspelled 'talent', and, possibly, it might be 'no-talent'. Although, he might also prefer for me to say 'misspelt'.

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  • 54. At 12:25pm on 23 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    David, I was merely pointing out the difference between programme and program.

    I'm also aware that I make a good few mistakes but am happy when people point them out.

    David, please try and calm down and enjoy Sunday.

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  • 55. At 7:05pm on 23 Nov 2008, BettyHur wrote:

    All this just shows that "you can't please all the people all the time".

    If I was responsible for paying the wages of JR esquestionmark, I would be expecting him to put the world right, not just the BBC on his return. It's a case of reiterating that wonderful saying of "oh you are awful, but I DO like you!" along with the actions on screen at the time. I can't say that I can put a brand on that or a mark out of 10. It was priceless.

    I look forward to seeing the new JR who let's face it, made a human error without considering the consequences at the time - don't 99% of the world's population having served and paid for a crime that was less than most criminals commit. Yes, it upset people, Yes, he is sorry as no one deliberately hurts people in his career, Yes, he's on life's learning curve like the rest of us. One difference - he is having to do all that in view of millions if not billions of people who can play it over and over again, write about it and blame him for their own mistakes that are never heard about.

    I think the BBC has been most fair and just to both him in relation to his wealth, to their audience in showing correct suspension and not the sac which would have been really unfair to them and us (I loathe adverts selling me things I do not want to buy and are not good for me) and will make him a better husband and father to his children who also have to live with this scenario and the memory of it.

    Let's get things in perspective here. JR hasn't shot anyone or himself whilst all the cameramen in the Media have been pressing buttons left right and centre, and I am sure that the Sachs family will understand and be forgiving as we all need to be.

    As for our Brand - well if he thinks he can improve America with a new brand of underwear - good luck to him. Personally, I think he may have to move on to Australia where it is hotter.

    Long live the Best Best Channels.

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  • 56. At 10:18am on 24 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    jonnie 54, As there are 300 million Americans and 60 million Brits, I know which word I will use.

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  • 57. At 1:41pm on 24 Nov 2008, mittfh wrote:

    Reading around this, a few points:

    JR is currently on a three year contract with the BBC. How far through it is he? What does the contract say about premature termination (e.g. circumstances in which it can be ended by either side, any financial compensation involved if terminated prematurely etc.)? One possibility is that the contract is fixed in terms of dates but not work - so he gets paid the same regardless of how much or how little work he does for the BBC during that period.

    JR apparently has 'form' in blurting out 'inconsiderate' comments - the report mentions an incident on his TV show and some media outlets have reported further incidents.

    If it's not possible to sack him yet without suffering additional financial consequences (e.g. paying the remainder of his contractural salary), would it be legally possible to give him a final written warning when he returns?

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  • 58. At 1:51pm on 24 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    David - you are like a dog with a bone.

    Just call it the 'program' then - I don't really give a stuff........

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  • 59. At 2:53pm on 24 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    It will be jolly nice when the Americans learn English, won't it?

    When they learn that:
    - aluminium has two i's
    - carburettor has two t's
    - there is an 'o' in moustache
    - willful, skillful, appall, fulfill, enrollment and installment are all incorect spellings
    - a cheque is what is paid into a bank, a check is a pattern of squares and Czech is a Slavic language
    - 'per cent' is written as two words
    - a story is an item of news or an account or real or imaginary events, whereas a storey is a floor or level in a building.

    But I'm sceptical (and certainly not skeptical) if it will ever happen.

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  • 60. At 4:07pm on 24 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    QL 59, Check out the history of the word aluminum before pontificating. Oh, I forgot, you think there is still an Empire. "They're always be an Ingerlund....."

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  • 61. At 4:08pm on 24 Nov 2008, David_McNickle wrote:

    jonnie 58, Tell that to QL. You started it.

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  • 62. At 4:28pm on 24 Nov 2008, jonnie wrote:

    Woof Woof - growl.

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  • 63. At 4:29pm on 24 Nov 2008, Gillianian wrote:

    QL (59) - Psssstt!! You don't spell ''incorrect'' like that, either ;o)

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  • 64. At 9:18pm on 24 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    Gillianian (63) - Oh ** and I czeched that out twice before posting it!

    ** insert swearword of choice.

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  • 65. At 9:27pm on 24 Nov 2008, U12196018 wrote:

    DMcN (60) - OK, I've done as you asked.

    "Americans adopted -ium to fit the standard form of the periodic table of elements, for most of the nineteenth century, with aluminium appearing in Webster's Dictionary of 1828. In 1892, however, Charles Martin Hall used the -um spelling in an advertising handbill for his new electrolytic method of producing the metal, despite his constant use of the -ium spelling in all the patents he filed between 1886 and 1903.
    It has consequently been suggested that the spelling reflects an easier to pronounce word with one fewer syllable, or that the spelling on the flier was a mistake.
    Hall's domination of production of the metal ensured that the spelling aluminum became the standard in North America; the Webster Unabridged Dictionary of 1913, though, continued to use the -ium version."

    Quoted in this form in Wikipedia, but readily found in other sources.

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  • 66. At 00:36am on 25 Nov 2008, Chris Ghoti wrote:


    One of the very few times that American spelling is actually useful, because it makes a distinction for me between the program on a computer and the programme on a radio, and silly people insist on spelling the two quite different things the same way.

    I suppose one *could* spell 'pavement', 'sidewalk', but

    Well, a friend of mine from America went on a demo in the late sixties, and a policeman asked her politely to get on the pavement. She said 'I am on the pavement'. He assumed she was obstructing him in the execution of his duty and arrested her. An expensive piece of determined refusal to learn the native language, that one.

    Sometimes if you're in Rome, DMcN, it pays to shoot Roman candles.

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