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Thursday, 30 October, 2008

ADMIN USE ONLY | 18:10 UK time, Thursday, 30 October 2008

Here is Emily Maitlis with details of tonight's programme.


Breaking news - the Controller of BBC Radio 2 has just resigned. She said the Ross/Brand debacle happened on her watch and she apologised to Andrew Sachs, his family and to the audience. But does it end here - unlikely. More news is expected throughout the course of the evening and we'll have full details tonight. And we're hoping to get an interview with Mark Thompson, the BBC Director General once we know more.


Another Scottish by-election, but this time in greatly changed circumstances. Will the economic crisis play to Labour's strengths when voters go to the polls in Glenrothes a week today? Michael Crick is gauging opinion there for us.


And before we get there, the small matter of another polling date looms. Any politico will tell you Florida is as famous for its hanging chads as it is for its palm trees. This swing state is now too close to call. So as the fight to be US President nears its close, we speak to Joe Klein, of Primary Colours fame, and to a senior Republican strategist. I shall ask them about the dual concerns of triumphalism and defeatism.


And Kirsty is in New York asking what eight years of George Bush has meant for the US cultural scene.

Join us tonight on BBC TWO at 10.30pm.



  • Comment number 1.

    Unless the radio 2 controller was responsible for the offensive broadcast being approved, shouldn't it be the actual person who sanctioned it? All day I have been hearing and reading comments that speak of a divers BBC audience. That does not excuse the crass element in comedy that prevails on "popular" programming. The BBC should be a bench mark for other broadcasters and stop playing audience catch up. Of course comedy should innovative but not downright offensive. These people are only heroic when they think they can get away it. I have not heard Mr Ross or Mr Brand making comments about sensitive groups in society that possess firearms.

    Sean Appleby-Simpkin.

  • Comment number 2.

    The likes of Ross and Brand and their Common Purpose friends have been dragging the Brussels Broadcasting Corporation into the gutter for years. They should all be given the boot.

  • Comment number 3.

    "And Kirsty is in New York asking what eight years of George Bush has meant for the US cultural scene."

    Personally I've always preferred 'The Mighty
    Bush' to Russel Brand.


    Jonathan Ross surely cannot hang on now other heads are
    rolling ...... tumbrils for him?

    We'll just have to cope with being left with Simon Amstel
    and Frank Skinner on the cut
    edge over here ..................

  • Comment number 4.

    The BBC is now awash with 20-somethings who have the grandiose title of Producer but I do wonder what experience they have and what they have actually done to obtain this title?

    There used to be a time when it tooks years and years to rise to the ranks of Producer within the BBC and within British Broadcasting as a whole. You needed years of experience of making quality programming and being a Producer actually meant that you had responsibility, experience of program-making and usually also held the respect of colleagues.

    In those days no 20-something would ever have been called a Producer as there were ranks of Production Assistant, Junior Researcher, Researcher and Senior Researcher before you even got to the title of Assistant Producer let alone Producer. It would take years and there was no way a 20-something would be producing anything.

    Now, you can't turn in the BBC for Producers seemingly just out of kindergarten and they just lack both life experience and program-making expertise in my personal view.

  • Comment number 5.

    tawse57, you sound like Ed Reardon ( a character with whom I closely identify):

    "Does it seem that the media is 'run by idiots, lying charlatans and moronic twelve year-olds who should've been drowned at birth in a bucket of raw sewage'? "

  • Comment number 6.

    a man of honour who knew his actions had lost the job of others would have resigned?

  • Comment number 7.

    Thanks for pointing out Ed Reardon to me mancroft.

    Alas, I have been a tad more successful than he getting out of Broadcasting back in the mid-1990s and moving into something then new called the Internet and IPTV. Anyhow, my 'Tenko' style script never got past an idea in the bath-tub.

    I am not going to whinge about dumbing down and an obsession with youth but putting out any program on the BBC is a position of huge responsibility that I think you only truly understand with years of experience and, dare I say it, age.

    I fear that British Broadcasting, aided by bean-counters who cut back dramatically on training in the past 20 years, has become like Hollywood where very high up senior executives on six figure salaries give free reign to 20-somethings, with little life experience and no program-making expertise, purely out of this obsession with youth and also out of fear of actually being seen as being out of touch themselves with 'yooth'.

    Alas, there is now an enormous void in between the high-ups at the top of the BBC and the 20-something 'Producers' that, once, would have been occupied by very experienced Producers, Directors and even Senior Researchers.

  • Comment number 8.

    So Ross and Brand have cost the job of an excellent boss of Radio 2. This is a farce. Reinstate her, get rid of the two silly louts (they will find a niche in alternative radio) and let's move on! There are so many more important things to talk about than those two.

  • Comment number 9.

    I have little time for Ross and Brand but I'm disappointed that you took up so much time on this issue tonight. There are many more important stories to cover.

  • Comment number 10.

    Isn't it about time the BBC stopped this farce of overanalysing this mistake.

    I am heartily dissapointed that I had to listen to 25 minutes of Newsnight "analysis" of this.

    Organisations makes mistakes - people have been punished - proceedures to avoid it in the future are in place now move on.

    Can we have some real analysis of important things on Newsnight now!

  • Comment number 11.

    Personally, I think this whole issue has been blown way out of proportion. Firstly the fact that only 5 complaints were received about the comments during the days following its broadcast, shows that in actual fact people really didnt find it that offensive, despite how wrong it may have been. Secondly the issues were hyped and so worsened by the media dictating to the public how it should react. Thus the following days a stream of complaints in their thousands. Is it not fair to say that in actual fact highlighting this distasteful slur during a late night radio programme has actually stirred up more attention than it actually deserved? Only to be followed by airtime on a programme such as Newsnight. I am gobsmacked the general public in this day and age of unshockable material being aired on television and radio can be manipulated like a puppet on a string to do exactly as we are told in our reactions to these programmes when we are told to do it.

    It was wrong people are clearly paying the price with their jobs, how many times have you made distasteful comments whilst in the company of friends when a conversation is directed in a certain way?

    I think we should all stop pretending to be the saints we are not and get on with good old broadcasting to suit everyones taste. Put this whole pathetic slur to one side and pay it no more attention because thats all it deserves.

  • Comment number 12.

    It's extraordinary how the editorial establishment concentrate on the wrong thing. Matthew Bannister said that the show shouldn't have been broadcast and attributed this to editorial failure. This is not the issue. The issue is that two people whom we licence-payers employ were prepared to do something very cruel to two other people, simply for the purpose of personal aggrandisement. The only relevant thing about the actual broadcast is that we now know, by virtue of the broadcast, what sort of people they are. Given that we do know that, there is no alternative to the removal of both of them from the payroll.

  • Comment number 13.

    What the hell is Newsnight doing spending half an hour on this rubbish. I'm reasonably sure more important things have been happening in the world.

    I also find it fairly annoying that Stephen Glover is allowed to say that the BBC shouldn't cater to a minority, if the majority finds it disagreeable, without being challenged. Then again I find right wing reactionary idiots fairly disagreeable.

  • Comment number 14.

    It wasn't that long ago that Monty Pythons 'Life of Brian' created an outrage for being, as some would call it "of risky humour" and it's now regarded as one of the best comedies of all time and quite rightly so. What a lot of people don't seem to understand is that comedy is subjective - if you don't like it, change the station; that's why there is more than one. To be honest after 2 complaints to thousands, I think there are a lot of people who need to lighten up and stop jumping on every media bandwagon to fill their mundane lives with scandal and controversy.

    Are people also forgetting that this show was aired after the watershed ie. adults who are supposed to know the difference between humour and genuine aggression? I really hope that BBC comedy now doesn't become watered down and diluted of all artistic expression as that's what public broadcasting should be all about! I'll end on a quote from Fawlty Towers - "don't mention the war!"...or is that too 'risky' nowadays!

  • Comment number 15.

    This is the first time I've visited this blog. However, I just have to congratulate Emily Maitlis on her interview with Mark Thompson on tonight's program. I think Emily reflected what many license payers still feel, in that, there seems to remain a malaise at the core of the present BBC. I think the fact that Mark Thompson (head of BBC) continues to almost treat the main characters in this latest debarkle (Ross and Brand) as quasi victims of there own creativity and so called 'edgy-ness'. I think the example Emily gave from 'Mock the week' Spoke volumes about what needs to be addressed. Executives at the BBC need to stop seeing and treating license payers as a necessary occupational hazard and start understanding that the BBC belongs to us - not them!

  • Comment number 16.


    This looks like a New Labour/BBC joint effort to try to send a message to the young ones via their role models that it's time to grow up/behave less anarchically as there isn't unlimited credit to party any more. As big believers in small government, there isn't much else they can do is there? Is it better than nothing?

    Only just I suspect.

  • Comment number 17.

    my first time as a bbc blogger.
    i signed up because i thought the interview was excellent.
    well done Emily you did a great job with Mark Thompson. suggest you steer clear of him for a day or two!!

  • Comment number 18.

    Having just watched Newsnight I am disappointed at the excess coverage and importance given to the Ross/Brand affair. But if you must keep the bandwagon running why provide a forum for a self righteous hack from the Daily Mail that presumably has a daily circulation approaching 60 million as he claimed to be “the voice of the majority”. I am 57, a licence payer and he does NOT speak for me! I believe a serious mistake was made by the BBC editors and an even bigger one by it succumbing to a witch hunt whipped up by the tabloid press. I’d rather watch Ross and Brand than a diet of good family entertainment from safe little Ronnie Corbett clones. The BBC should have some guts, promote diversity and talent, or it will fade into mediocrity. Mary Whitehouse must be laughing in her grave.

  • Comment number 19.

    The behaviour of BBC staff has been outrageous - heads need to roll over this.

    What vapid idiots think that this Ross/Brand trivia is remotely interesting to anyone other than hairdressers in the vicinity of Portland Place?

    You could just about imagine it being item 3 on one day in a slow news week, but I'm astonished to see from this blog that you've had it first or second three days running given all that's happening in the world at the moment - a perfect example of why I've given up actually watching Newsnight, if I want this stuff I can read the Daily Mail or Sun or something. But thanks to This Week for pointing out that you were still going on about it.

    How much coverage have you been giving to minor matters such as the IMF bailout of countries with a combined population of more than 220 million, including a member of the EU and one of the key war on terror states? The dramatic effects of the Fed's CPFF? The collapse in US consumer spending? Bombings in India that killed more than 7/7? The collapse in investment in Canadian tarsands? The ETA bombing? Japan's stimulus package? China's manipulation of the media over the poisonous eggs? The Thai bombing? The split of the ANC? The report from PFC Energy listing countries that could be destabilised by the crash in oil prices? The demise of Tempelhof? The World Economic Forum?

    Nope - some incompetent member of BBC staff thinks that none of these are more important than a third day of BBC self-flagellation. You, not Ross and Brand, are why people hold the BBC in contempt.

    Get a grip, people.

  • Comment number 20.

    The Brand/Ross thing is total distraction from the real issues and has just become a free-for-all to attack the BBC. The way politicians have become involved in this is disgraceful, when it should have been an internal matter. As a result, it was impossible for any of the parties involved to get a fair hearing, in what would have been a disciplinary matter. If the media can't prejudice trails then why did everyone have the right to prejudice an employment case?

    There is obviously a split between people who hate Ross' high wages, what they see as 'liberal' bias and the feeling the Beeb is 'dumbing down' and those who want the Beeb to also be relevant to the young, have niches for 'edgy' comedy and feel bound by the market (in stars) and viewing figures.

    I just don't see a resolution from this bind. The Beeb is trying to be all things to all people, hold on to the licence fee, as well as trying to serve groups outside the mainstream 'family' output, which can so often be inane, superficial, unchallenging, but also inoffensive.

    Viewers are either going to have to demand a public broadcaster is a 'serious' one, risking losing listeners/viewers as it did in the past, or accept the impasse as a kind of tension between the generations, which is probably normal (since the 60s). Personally, I want the BBC to do both things - serious documentary (which I love) and edgy comedy. The risk here is that in the rush to not offend, the public broadcaster become uncreative, soft, mainstream, boring, non-adult and throws the 'depth' of its output out with the bath water. What would be left, wouldn't be worth saving - which I fear is precisely the point of this self immolation.

  • Comment number 21.

    BBC Gate

    Good question about the PUSSY joke , DG was stunned and rightly so in my view.

    Maybe some of these comedians need to restrain themselves on television shows and then let rip on their own DVD's , just like Derek and Clive did.


    Why is Sterling taking such a bashing at the moment ?
    What effect will lower interest rates have on the value of Sterling ?
    Will this effect our fuel prices , what in turn effects our food prices etc ?

    Lets get back to some bread and butter issues please !

  • Comment number 22.

    Everyone saw the Ross/Brand material on you tube, and was then outraged, as it was obscene and bullying behaviour and an abuse of their position. This wasnt just stoked by newspapers.

    The BBC was right to take action against Ross and Brand, and maybe the head of Radio 2 deserved to roll as it seems she had promised the execs that she would keep Brand under control when taking him onto radio 2, and there was a major lapse. Its great the BBC are reviewing taste and decency more broadly as that is what is needed. Buts that is where it ends.

    The BBC has acted. We love the BBC. We dont like adverts in our content. We LOVE the quality programming that only the BBC does best. We love great comedy and satire.

    The public wanted the BBC to respond, and it did, and its done exactly what the public wanted.

    Now we let our great BBC get on with doing a excellent job. We will welcome a suitably chastened Jonathan back after his suspension, and enjoy his chat show and Film 2009.

    None of us who complained against this disgraceful behaviour did it because we hated the BBC. We did it because we love the BBC, and want it to live up to the standards we expect of it.

    By the way, as Emily correctly pointed out, Frankie Boyle's humour on Mock the Week needs to be reined in a touch. He weekly makes bullying remarks about Kerry Katona(not that Im a fan of her by any means), and his comment referring to the Queen "my pussy is so old, it's haunted" is certainly a joke too far, and should come within the scope of the taste and decency review.

    By contrast, if you want to see wonderful humour about the royals in the same programme, just listen to Hugh Dennis on great form:

    Hugh shows how its "easy" to do great humour and keep within bounds of taste and decency, with a little intelligence.

  • Comment number 23.

    A broadcaster for all seasons...hard work ain't it just!

    Emily did Newsnight proud with the Thomson interview; he was questioned very hard to the point that i think the BBC have reached the highwater mark on this torrid affair.. we can all calm down now.

    Boyle's mock the week joke is a standard short-shock-joke and is not in anyway comparable to the Ross/Brand episode. There is a clear distinction and rather evident.
    Next time you invite a Daily mailer on, get Littlejohn or Phillips, the guest you had on was not fully tuned in.

    I will leave you with a Frankie boyle joke:

    I lost my virginity to my mums best was my was the only time he ever told me he loved me.

    Sorry moderator, I am only testing your permissible reflex button.
    Now can we have some real news please!

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    So my comment of 7.43am has been moderated or censored. So we can't criticise the 'Editor in Chief'. But we can praise the Tonight team and Emily Maitlis for the brilliant expose of the moral vacuum at the higher reaches of the British Broadcasting Corporation. You have clearly demonstrated that
    'There is something rotten in the state of Denmark'

  • Comment number 26.

    Enough is enough, let's draw a line and move on! WE... well, I, think so (can't speak for all, though it seems many media claim, or are claimed to).

    Mind you, there is some irony in clogging a blog post about a topic with endless demands to stop talking about it.

    Small suggestion to those 'offended' by a discussion thread (tip: it's flagged by the original poster at the top. Their fault perhaps for not breaking out other, I agree, equally and even more important issues to some), and it's one used, if not very effectively to those who do think it still an issue of value enough to discuss: 'if you don't like it...'.

    In the absence of any other argument, I look forward to crushing future posters whose views may not gel with mine by using a selectively selected democratic pejorative stat of choice (6 to 1... Six!): 'Ooooh, you, you licence-fee funded, mob rule Radio 1 listener!'.

    Way to bind a country, Aunty!

  • Comment number 27.

    Having seen and heard interviews with the DG, Thompson, and the Trust Chairman, Lyons, it's easy to see how and why the BBC is out of step with public opinion. They are both weak, complacent men in no way up to the task of controlling well-paid, creative and egotistical staff necessary in the broadcasting world.

    They are also both fighting a battle to justify the original contract with Ross and the appointment of his own production company. (Brand, too, utilised his own company which obviously creates a conflict in content and editorial decisions)

    In other words Thompson & Lyons are acting as judge and jury on their own commercial judgements and therefore compounding the original error in awarding such a costly long-term contract to an erratic performer in the first place.They know they won't survive if they have to pay out Ross' contract.

    Interviewing Lyons this morning John Humphreys crysallised the wider problem. The Thompson/Lyons stategy is to chase a young audience in a way that alienates the bulk of viewers. This may be a suitable high-risk strategy for a commercial channel but not for the public broadcaster financed in the way it is. It is not old-fashioned to expect the BBC to set rather than follow a standard.

    Both these senior executives should go and the objectives and strategy altered.

    It's pleasing to see that BBC interviewers - presumably aghast at what has happened - are not mincing words with their senior executives.

    This matter is not over by a long chalk. The People are speaking.

  • Comment number 28.


    Isn't this furore about 'what is funny and why'?
    Are we 'amused' by other than humour?
    Simply breaking rules, for example?

    I always felt Billy Connelly to be immensely gifted as and observer and commentator on life. That was on TV, without the intrusive f-word. Then I saw footage of his stage performance, and while he was still just as gifted, I had to keep spitting out the pips to really enjoy the fruit. What was that all about? Answer that, and we might be nearer understanding the Ross/Brand question. Why not ask BC?

    But let's not lose sight of the Corrie Corfield conundrum. Her bizarre emphasis of most words, allied to an attempt at kitten-speak while reading mundane news, is clearly to the liking of some 'discerning ear' in the Beeb-bowels. Is it THE BBC that needs addressing?

    To my mind the BBC is pandering to itself - not 'the young'. It is intoxicated with 'free expression' regarding all output as ART. This situation requires analysis - psycho analysis.

  • Comment number 29.

    as long as ross is at the bbc this story will run and run. The questions will follow him. Like will he pay any fine, will he pay compo to those sacked for his acts? why didn't he resign? Is it because he blames others for his acts? was Brand resignation correct? if so why doesn't he resign? yada yada.

    ross clinging on is an exercise in futility?

  • Comment number 30.

    Until recently, I had been a little concerned with Emily Maitlis's performance .

    However, I should like to congratulate her on her swell of talent over the past few weeks - and treat the said short time as a temporary lapse.
    I have now returned to the view that Miss Maitlis has competence which will one day undoubtedly out-do even Paxman.

    And it may well be that that day could be unexpectedly close-at-hand ...

  • Comment number 31.


    The 'light-touch' censure of Ross and Brand's adolescent humour double act in last nights main piece was presumably scripted and passed by the editors was it not? If so, presumably the DG would have known and approved of all of the questions before it was recorded (it wasn't live was it?) and thus he would have carefully rehearsed all of his answers with the production team would he not?

    Was this not therefore just an alternative to a formal BBC statement? A bit of theatrical hand-wringing thrown in just like that which we saw after the Blue Peter and other competition phone-in fiascos? That didn't come across well either.

    Coming not long after Brown took over from Blair, wasn't the message then that media spin and wider anarchism was going to be curtailed in the interest of the greater good? But then we got the sub-prime predatory lending fiasco.

    If the BBC is driven by 'market-forces' (populist Focus Groups?) and reckons it's more important to compete to feed the needs of an ever dumber adolscent population rather than lead the way in behavioural standards, expect more of the same downward spiral across society as the younger generations are now even more rudderless. The problem today is that nobody thinks it's their job to lead, a consequence of many decades of subversive Political Correctness/Cultural Marxism buttressing anarcho-capitalist 'freedom' and anti-fascism.

    By the way, what's happening regarding the great bailouts and the great credit crisis? There are no laws to stop this behaviour as Irwin Sletzer said in teh Cedit Crisis special not long ago, not venal, but legal. So presumably there are no laws to stop Brand and Ross behaving the way they do either, which is why Brown said it was down to OFCOM and the BBC to sort it all out.

    That's the glory of deregulation and freedom, one gets minimal government. Just the sort of conditions bright people want to bring up a family within.......

  • Comment number 32.

    Boyle is funny. What Brand and Ross did was just cruel and bullying.

    I actually thought the DG handled the interview quite well. He made the point that it's not just about those journalistic cliches of decency and taste. It's about whether we want deliberate, targeted cruelty to be a celebrated feature of public life.

  • Comment number 33.

    monarchy jokes

    role gamers are a joke. they are ridiculous. people dressing up and giving themselves grand titles and calling everyone else common are comic?

    risk takers?

    lets have chubby brown and reruns of bernard manning then?

    the role of the bbc?

    why is everyone inventing their own bbc? isn't there a charter that lays it out? or is the charter irrelevant as a template to the bbc?Inform educate entertain. if you keep those three together it works. start to separate them and you end up with resignations.

    ross, worth 1000 news journalists, is bigger than the bbc. are they afraid of him?

  • Comment number 34.

    Dear readers just to help you put things into context with regard to:

    #31 JadedJean and

    ".... Correctness/Cultural Marxism buttressing anarcho-capitalist 'freedom' and anti-fascism."

    That poster does not deny the holocaust happened but does not affirm it but does like to quote dubious statistics about the survival rates of Jews in the 1930's.

    One of my favourite direct quotes from another thread is:

    "Hitler, Mussolini and Roosevelt did what they did in the 1930s (essentially running planned economies) because of the catastrophic financial mess which had been brought about by anarcho-capitalist 'democratic' deregulators peddling the merits of 'freedom'. Yet you and others of your ilk are still naively arguing for precisely this."

    A clue to what I am driving at is Roosevelt definitely did believe in freedom. Don't think the other two did really.

    I think this helps with the context of the propagandist remarks by that poster.

    I hope the BBC are paying attention! But on past evidence I am more likely to be moderated than Jaded_Jean.

  • Comment number 35.

    As licence payers and taxpayers
    people are asking why Jonathan
    Ross gets off with a slap on the wrist when other people involved and not involved lose their jobs.

    That is 'the elephant in the room'.

    Mark Thomson's reply on this to
    Emily Maitlis was to suggest we
    do the arithmetic presumably to calculate that docking of three
    months pay was a hefty penalty for an incident while Mr Ross
    was 'guesting' on somebody else's radio programme .......

    But without seeing the contract and the precise wording of the
    'must not bring the BBC into
    disrepute' clause or the fees,
    how can we 'do the arithmetic'?

    Perhaps the BBC Trust should
    publish all these performance
    contracts for the benefit of the licence payers who pay for them?

  • Comment number 36.


    A tool often used but can get lost...especially if you've got a yank in the room.

  • Comment number 37.

    I find it interesting that you say that Labour are playing to their strengths ie the economy. In what way is it a strength to have presided over these incredible levels of debt -personal and public-and the enormous house price bubble of the last years?
    Is it the rescue plan for banks we're talking about? Surely we copied Sweden and Japan who had to do something similar in the last decade. There's also of course the problem of whose plan it was -treasury, PM or Chancellor. I can't see our Gordon letting Blair float about taking the credit if this had happened previously.
    It used to seem to me that people ranting on about New Labour and their chums at the beeb were havering but the choice of language here is quite telling.

  • Comment number 38.

    I agree with the comments of 'adamalewis2002 w' and 'D4doggies'...

    I'm genuinely more offended by Newsnight's producers/editors choosing (or being told) to include lengthy coverage of this ridiculous event in their programme.

    Clearly, when a BBC reporter is saying the words "my p**sy is haunted" on a national hard news broadcast, the situation is far more absurd than a poor prank phone call on a radio show will ever be.

    2500 Congalese people made refugees after violence in the North Kivu area on the same day... - YOU should be telling ME that.

  • Comment number 39.

    I agree with the comments of 'adamalewis2002' and 'D4doggie'...

    I'm genuinely more offended by Newsnight's producers/editors choosing (or being told) to include lengthy coverage of this ridiculous event in their programme.

    Clearly, when a BBC reporter is saying the words "my p**sy is haunted" on a national hard news broadcast, the situation is far more absurd than a poor prank phone call on a radio show will ever be.

  • Comment number 40.

    Gaurdian - Killed by the radio star - Interesting

    I actually felt reading this a journalist ahd gone out with an open mind, no agenda, talked to a few folk and written an objective story. Hard to credit, really.

    Whilst this comment in reply is not substantiated, it resonates, too:

    "Brand was Lesley's Pet project and also her achilles heal. He was allowed to do what he wanted and whenever a producer tried to edit anything he did he went running to Lesley and had them fired from his show. Eventually, according to Paul, there was in effect no management inbetween Brand and Lesley - he had been through 6 producers, so there was no one else to sack."

    I guess it's not fact of sacking, it's who sacks who that matters. Meanwhile...

    Gaurdian - Paul Gambaccini in tirade against hiring of 'timebomb' Russell Brand - Very interesting.

    I do wonder if the Daily Mail would have called it a... 'tirade'. A bit emotive for them, eh?

  • Comment number 41.


    Today I was confronted by a large poster advertising Jonathan Ross' new book:

    'Why Do I Say The Things I Do'

    Oh dear.

  • Comment number 42.

    Well this is a first for me but I feel I want to express my opinion. This is has got totally out of control and feels like a lets get em campaign. I agree the broadcast should not have gone out, the person at fault for that should have been slapped on wrists. But there was no need for the controller to fall on her sword.
    I cannot stand Brand and feel he pushes it too far most of the time. It saddens me that he has taken Jonathan Ross down with him. I personally feel Jonathan is a very talented interviewer as does Parky. Yes he does overstep the mark a little from time to time but is very well respected by many many people in "the business". I am glad Brand has gone but I hope Jonathan can come back from this, I for one will miss his Friday night and Saturday morning shows.
    I am sorry so many people have jumped on this bandwaggon. LEAVE radio 2 as it is, it appeals to all ages between 30 and 80 do not turn it back into an over 70s station please. I am 52 and have been listening to a lot of Radio 2 for about 10 yrs now.

  • Comment number 43.

    Well done Emily for an excellent interview with Mark Thompson. There are not many people who would give their boss such a grilling. The point about the acceptability of the Mock the Week joke was well made, except Jeremy Paxman would have probably repeated the quote 14 times until he got a straight answer!
    Overall, however I agree that too much coverage was given to this item, and that other world issues such as the crisis in Congo should have featured.

  • Comment number 44.

    Dear BBC

    Please leave Frankie Boyle alone.

    Otherwise you will get a complaint, from alternative Scotland.

    "Welcome to Glasgow, where we beat up people who are on fire".

    In all the coverage of terrorism, in the media Frankie Boyle was the only person to go against the tide and point out somewhere in all this madness, compassion and kindness have somehow been forgotten.

    If someone is burning alive, help them, if you must judge them, then do it later at a more appropriate time, please.

    Can Newsnight not understand the difference between Boyle and what Brand and Ross did.

    As I put in another post recently I was taken out and dropped by some of our wonderful enforcement officers for nothing.

    I with my English accent ended up in Perth prison which serves Dundee. Dundee has a 'reputation'. How many in the English media could even contemplate such a experience let alone live it.

    Everyone was very pleasant, kind and helpful to me.

    Frankie Boyle speaks for some of us.

  • Comment number 45.


    There are still some who won't accept or can't grasp what's been going on in recent times simply because they don't/can't look to the wider consequences which is not what Shayer says environmental, but indicative of dysgenic/differential fertility (this will show up in short-form as reduced backward digit-span and lower spatial ability, which is genetic). The even more critical consequences have gone remarkably quiet throughout this Ross-Brand-Douglas affair many will have noted.

    In the last link, one can see how being led by market-demand and delivering simply serves to reinforce the fundamental problems, yet those who so are richly rewarded both financially and socially for doing just that.

  • Comment number 46.


    Why does the BBC care about ratings or market share given that the public has to pay the licence fee?

    The demand that the BBC ('Auntie') tailors its production to meet market demand is due to pressure from its free-maket competitors/ideologues like Murdochand his Neocon emissaries

    The BBC as one of the last bastions of statism, so is inevitably under attack, and some of this has been done by putting staff into places where they will (no doubt unwittingly) do the most harm and help bring about its demise - entryism. This has been done in the Civil Service for years abd it's inevitable that New Labour turns a blind eye, just as Thatcher's govermnet did, the reasons should be obvious. The people who do this don't care about the state, they're anarchistic internationalists - free-marketeers.

  • Comment number 47.


    We have a head of state with no power, a party political system whose primary concern is relative* power for its own sake, a state-funded medium of communication that has bought-into pursuit of 'media-power' and an electorate who are a mix of castrated and conned.

    *UK party power is referenced to other parties, as in matters of war we defer to America and in matters-legal to the EU.

  • Comment number 48.


    Barrie (#47) I wonder how may will follow the Home Affairs link in #46 even as far as Q280 to appreciate how this has been operating over the years? Even fewer will appreciate the significance of the Offender Management Act and its consequences, not to mention the splitting of the Home Office into two, and the DfES too. For all too many, if they don't understand something, it isn't happening - but then I suspect such people have little grasp of government/the state over the past 30 years or so and how it's been systematically taken apart.

    It's all done by stealth. The people in the jobs, be they Controllers, Chief Probation Officers, or in education today 'Future Leaders', all no doubt think that they're doing what seems right (even though it is never really evidence driven if looked at critically), but that's how this clever, urbane, destructive/deregulative game is played in the service of greater 'freedom' from state 'bureaucracy' in pursuit of Workers Democracy, which sadly is not what it seems, it's the free-market, and as the state crumbles, bigger fish than individuals buy it up.

  • Comment number 49.

  • Comment number 50.

    #49 More muddled nonsense, see the following for an explanation Popular dogma is rarely always accurate, especially when it comes to politics.

  • Comment number 51.

    "'Gordon is the most complex man in Anglo-Saxon politics at the moment. I think he has a much grander role for the state than a neo-conservative would be comfortable with, but I always qualify that by saying you can't just translate the balance of the individual and the state [from America] to here. You're coming off years of a class system which has encrusted the economy and society and it is perhaps justifiable to see a more vigorous role for the state in creating opportunity and so on. On Gordon's behalf I would say it may take more vigorous action; on the other hand I'm always very nervous that he may not know where the proper limit of government intervention is."

    Stelzer on Brown Oct 2004 (see earlier for link).

    Sure, we were class-oppressed by the Civil Service for years before Tony Blair turned up and continued Thatcher's Neocon 'good' work. They know just where to pitch their sedition don't they?

  • Comment number 52.

    Just watched the Andrew Marr show, with a clearly tired and emotional Ruby Wax telling us everything she thinks with near zero moderation, followed by a clearly reality-isolated DG telling me what I think and want.

    The final nails in the coffin, though the digging still continues.

    I am canceling my licence fee DD on Monday and will review later actions as they transpire.

    If the plot has so totally been lost, I fear further funding of it this clearly blighted entity in ways I cannot endorse, in support of self and supporters, is not a productive use of my scarce personal funds.

  • Comment number 53.


    You have my respect and empathy Junkkmale. When I stood for Parliament in 2005 ('Spoil Party Games') I guess I felt 'enough is enough'

    I have not yet marred myself, but will investigate.

    There is something odd about having to pay a fee for owning a TV receiver on the basis it CAN receive a few BBC channels, and then funding free radio output, to licence-free receiving kit. I suspect there is some fuzzy logic and quasi-legality behind the situation.

    But in the final analysis, it must surely be, that the world thinks the BBC is the voice of Britain, so it is time to rename! With a nod to Mayall and Edmondson, I suggest


  • Comment number 54.

    #52 and 53 Junkmale and Barrie

    You are right to have some scepticism of the BBC. I do watch it, (what is the alternative, and are they any different). But treat everything with a pinch of salt, never believe anything that is said.

    When the Dome competition was entered one of the things was an environmental monitoring and alert system.

    Another aspect was in 2001 supplying the Government with information that the UK would suffer extensive flooding on or after 8th Jan 2006.

    After the 2004 SE Tsunami there was media coverage of a lack of early warning and alert system.

    Representatives of the victims families asked why there wasn't one.

    I contacted the representatives and told them the story. They gave me permission to approach the media.

    I contacted BBC News and details of the story was taken and I was told I would be contacted by a journalist.

    No one ever bothered. More than 200,000 preventable deaths and the story isn't important enough for the BBC to bother with. Because it challenges the establishment version of events.

    The BBC were wall to wall with images of misery, but were not interested before or after the fact there was an early warning system that was not wanted.

    Similar with the 2007 flooding, lots of coverage after the fact, but will not cover that the Government knew about it in 2001 with plenty of time to have averted it.

    I am not saying the BBC tells lies it is just selective with the truth it tells.

    I know from my own experience that stories it presents are not the full truth. I am sure other people know more of the background on other important stories the BBC do not present.

    In my opinion I think the BBC should drop the pretence it has any public mandate. Its terms of reference are the very narrow and are of the narrow paradigm of the establishment, the BBC is there not to rock the boat, to maintain the status quo and deny an alternative voice or perspective.

    If the BBC was around in the middle ages and Copernicus or Galileo went to them and gave them absolute proof that the earth wasn't the centre of the solar system or universe, and the heavens weren't supported on crystal spheres. The BBC would completely ignore the facts.

    The BBC would not challenge the church/state establishment view then.

    It will no more do it now. Just accept the BBC presents the establishment view, no matter how far divorced from reality that may be. It reports from a very narrow perspective of reality.

    We just have to accept that. Just accept it is wallpaper. Just accept that most of what it says is wrong.

    Just accept it is the Crystal Spheres Broadcasting Company.

  • Comment number 55.

    To any who were/are despairing of finding good news analysis or great comedy, I can commend a rare diamond in the rough that I believe managed/s both: Silly Money on Ch4, hosted/performed/co-written by Bremner, Bird and Fortune.

    Nice to see intelligence and talent can still exist, and I'd have been happy to pay for it.

  • Comment number 56.


    Ever since encountering the mind-numbing 'dirty joke' all those years ago at school, I have appreciated crafted humour.
    I have floated the idea that people laugh when shocked or embarrassed, as well as amused, and might actually be confused. I contrasted the 'TV Connelly' and the 'stage Connelly' - the only difference being multiple 'f'. This is a matter for a psychologist.

    But to my mind, the bottom line is a decline in 'knowing what they are doing' at the BBC.
    Surely, quality humour (as one would expect from Britain's voice to the world) is elegantly crafted (see Junkkmale's comments above) and relies on witty presentation of observations and situations? When done skilfully, humour can encompass a wide age-range (as in the best children's books) and needs no recourse to shock or 'edginess'.

    So often I bemoan the BBC transmutation of information into art; their entertainment policy has now turned art into (e)vacuous rhyming slang.

    CJ would say: "You're talking my language Reggie" but Reggie was never edgy, and the humour was exquisite without.


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