The prime minister, Gordon Brown has become involved in the snowballing row over the Andrew Sachs prank calls, condemning Russel Brand and Jonathan Ross’ broadcast on Radio 2 as “clearly inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour”.
Brown, speaking to journalists after meeting French president Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris, said it was for the BBC and media regulator Ofcom to decide what sanctions, if any, were appropriate following Brand and Ross’s lewd prank calls, pre-recorded and broadcast on Radio 2 on Saturday October 18.
“This is clearly inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour, as is now widely recognised,” he added.
The prime minister’s intervention comes at the end of a day when the prank calls broadcast has escalated into a major political crisis for the BBC, with the Conservative leader, David Cameron, also wading in and the number of complaints about the incident to the corporation more than doubling in 24 hours to 10,400 by 5pm.
The BBC director of audio and music, Tim Davie said the pre-recorded messages left on Sachs’ answerphone on Thursday, October 15, in which Ross said Brand had “fucked” Sachs’ granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, and they joked that Sachs might kill himself as a result, should not have been broadcast.
Brand offered an apology of sorts on his Radio 2 show on Saturday, October 25, saying “sometimes you mustn’t swear on someone’s answerphone and that is why I would like to apologise personally”, but having also said “it was quite funny”. Ross has made no public comment on the incident.
However, Sachs said today that both Brand and Ross had written to him apologising for the calls and sent bunches of flowers.