BBC suspends Brand, Ross over crank calls

UK presenters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross are suspended following "offensive" radio prank.

The BBC has today suspended Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross for their "gross lapse of taste" during a radio show this month. The suspension comes after a series of hoax phone calls were broadcast on BBC Radio 2, which sparked outrage across the UK.

Brand and Ross made numerous crank calls to Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs during a pre-recorded segment of Brand's radio show, broadcast on the 18 of October, in which they claimed that Brand had slept with 78-year-old Sachs' granddaughter and swore repeatedly.

The BBC has received more than 18,000 complaints about the show and Mark Thomspon, director general of the BBC, said today in a statement: "It is clear from the views expressed by the public that this broadcast has caused severe offence and I share that view." Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom is to investigate the incident and the BBC has reported that its editorial standards committee will be meeting this week.

Both men are now suspended from broadcasting on the BBC. Mr Thompson said, "I have decided that it is not appropriate for either Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross to continue broadcasting on the BBC until I have seen the full report of the actions of all concerned."

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