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Sunday, November 02, 2008

Ross, Brand, the BBC and just a whiff of hypocrisy

Firstly it wasn't 'edgy'.
Phoning Andrew Sachs and being indiscreet about his granddaughter is not edgy. It's oafish, cruel and has a touch of the bully about it.
When Chris Morris tricked various MPs and celebs to join his campaign to eradicate the menace of a new drug called 'cake', that was edgy. The various bods complaining that the past week's events will somehow stop comedians from pushing the boundaries were perhap forgetting just how unchallenging Brand and Ross's exchange with Sachs's answering machine had been.
But that's not the real point.
The BBC broadcasts countless hours of material every week and some of it will offend, most will not.
Those in BBC management who are promising to put systems in place to stop this happening again are fools. You cannot possibly achieve anything like that level of control in an organisation that large.
You could possibly promise never to phone Andrew Sachs again. But to suggest that something equally as offensive might not happen again is nonsense. Of course it will.
What they might promise is that they will have a management response that does not leave them flat-footed when they are in the crosshairs of the Daily Mail et al.
Finally, while the BBC response was poor, the behaviour of the tabloids shows that writing for them requires the ability to suspend one's sense of irony.
Howe they raged against this dreadful intrusion into the life of a much-loved actor and the invasion of the privacy of his granddaughter.
Yes, and pray who was it whose excesses in recent years have had the courts busily developing the very law of privacy that was flouted this week by Ross and Brand?
Step forward the UK tabloid press.