Anyone who knows me is aware of my disdain for Jonathan Ross. You could describe me as “prematurely anti-Ross”, in fact, because I’ve always felt he was promoted beyond his level of competence all those years ago when he moved from back office to in front of the camera. His amateurish presenting style, his slavish copying of David Letterman, and his tendency to turn every interview on his chat show into a conversation about himself make it all the more bewildering that he is apparently paid so much.
Russell Brand has never been on my radar. But, you know, anyone can look like a rock star, just like anyone can drive fast in a straight line. It takes talent to be a rock star, or drive fast round bends.
The unfolding story of the increasing number of complaints following the pair’s prank phone call is fascinating. I would have said that just about anything that comes out of the mouths of Ross and Brand would deeply offend the average Mail or Telegraph reader – as would the lyrics of a Death Metal song. If Lewis Hamilton drove through your housing estate in the same way he drives his F1 car, you too would be offended. But in their context, with their audience, they’re clearly not really offending anybody. If you don’t like them, as I don’t, then you don’t even bother switching on.
This afternoon, the pair were suspended by the BBC, pending an “investigation.” Presumed innocent? It seems not. Now Brand has resigned:
Brand has presented his Radio 2 show since November 2006 and is thought to be paid more than £200,000 a year by the BBC. Brand said in a statement that he took “complete responsibility” for the incident and that he got “caught up in the moment”.