Drawing A Line

*Drawing a line

The BBC draws a line under radio show – or rather it hopes to. Given the front pages today, the fact that there’s an Ofcom investigation continuing, and the fact that Ross remains in a job, that seems unlikely. But should it? Well, what has the BBC actually done?

Russell Brand went, but was Mark Thompson even back from his holiday when that happened? Anyway – nothing to do with the Beeb.

But what about the Controller of Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, who also quit. That’s altogether more significant. But the decision to go was mine and mine alone, she said. Again, nothing to do with the Beeb.

In fact, has the BBC or the Trust done anything? Well, four days after the story broke and they’ve racked up more than 30,000 complaints Ross has been suspended for three months. And they’re going to do a review, I think.

The important thing to remember is none of it happened because of BBC management or the Trust, which laughably claims to represent your interests. It’s all down – as the Beeb hasn’t tired of reminding us in recent days – to the Mail on Sunday.

* The picture I’ve stolen from Anorak, which also has this for those that want a laugh.

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32 Responses to Drawing A Line

  1. Peter says:

    I just had this from the Lib Dems, who continue not to wish to make political capital out of this by issuing endless press releases on the issue:

    BBC must be allowed to take risks – Foster

    Commenting on the resignation of the controller of BBC Radio 2, Lesley Douglas, over the prank calls involving presenters Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross, Liberal Democrat Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster said:

    “Many people were offended by the antics of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross who have both been dealt with appropriately. But for this to lead to the loss of one of the BBC’s most talented producers is hugely disappointing.

    “Lesley Douglas has made an enormous contribution to British radio and we have still seen no evidence that she was responsible for the failings that led to the show being broadcast.

    “This resignation seems to have more to do with satisfying the media feeding frenzy than in working out what went wrong and ensuring it doesn’t happen again.

    “The BBC has the impossible task of trying to appeal to all parts of the British audience. We should all think long and hard about what will happen to many of the wonderfully innovate BBC programmes, which many of us take for granted, if producers are no longer prepared to take risks.”

    I must say in this ‘job secure no matter what’ public service times I am having trouble understanding the logic of this, other than to somehow make a dubious point about how tabloids operate. Maybe the Lib Dems have been on the wrong end more often than the right (apologies, if insincere, for that line)?

    While I do think the bigger issue was the executive market rate bonus talent that patently did not learn lessons after the last one and will doubtless forget their next publicly-funded course within a few months, but if this lady was nowt to do with it all, why the sword fall? Made, and I presume quickly accepted?

    And on an O/T non BBBC issue, if the Lib Dems can’t tell the difference between not taking risks and not doing something plain wrong… over and over…

    All those with an interest in ‘moving on’ have a point. At each turn I learn more and more about mindsets I had never really understood until now.


  2. George R says:

    BBC had interview on with Tory MP, Nigel EVANS on Ross-Brand-Thompson-BBC issues on ‘Today’ this morning; go to 7:12 am here (4 mins duration):


    There is passing reference to Richard LITTLEJOHN’s article; that excellent article, in today’s ‘Daily Mail’, is available here:



  3. Devil's Advocate says:

    “Quit” isn’t always the quitter’s choice. “Go without a fuss and you’ll get a good reference,” is usually what high-level quitting means. The controller, I mean, not Brand.

    Brand is a drug addict and alcoholic. The level of stress that this ridiculous feeding frenzy instigated and inflamed by BBC-haters is likely to impact on him heavily, and so rather than going through the ringer any further quitting is probably best for his mental health. He can’t defend himself against this childish, offensive PRANK, but I doubt he wants this hanging over him – especially with a new Channel 4 show starting soon (maybe last night, can’t remember).

    I personally think the BBC has over-reacted yet again. Just like they did when they faked a couple of phone calls that they didn’t actually profit from.


  4. Anonymous says:

    RE: Richard LITTLEJOHN’s article;

    “Let this revulsion at the excesses of the BBC be the start of a popular revolution against an arrogant and largely unaccountable elite and their contempt for the paying public. It’s taken a seemingly minor incident to focus our attention on the way not just the BBC, but the whole of Britain is run.

    If the Tories could but see it, there’s a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity here. The BBC is an ideal example of a nationalised industry which has grown bloated and lost sight of its remit.
    Here is the scope for Call Me Dave and Boy George to demonstrate exactly how they can cut taxes without cutting public services.”


  5. dick says:

    Mike Lyons did the Geoff Hoon defence – “I simply don’t accept that”. Right, he’s a gravy trainer with no priciples, talent or backbone – at least that’s cleared up.


  6. Martin says:

    Why can’t the BBC just take its punishment? Yet agin on Radio 5 they morons are trying ot defend Toss and Brand.

    Give it up BBC morons.


  7. George R says:

    If the BBC and its performers want to do something which is really culturally ‘on the edge’ or ‘pushing the boundaries’, they could try to do something really difficult: not express their dhimmitude towards Islam.


  8. Hugh says:

    Devil’s Advocate: so your defence of the Beeb is based on the assumption that it’s lying to the audience in its response to this? I am relieved, though, that Brand’s fragile mental health has not stopped him starting his new Channel 4 series.


  9. Grimer says:

    A listener phoned Radio 1 to complain about Moyles getting taxis ‘while he struggles to feed his family’. Moyles effectively told him to sell his house and move to a cheaper area, because ‘it isn’t my responsibility to feed your family’. I would respect his Libertarian attitude, if he wasn’t a parasite upon people struggling to pay the TV Tax, while he lives the high life.

    It isn’t on iPlayer yet, but it happened at about 8:50am Radio 1.

    Once it is up, I’ll grab a sample.


  10. Gareth says:

    “I personally think the BBC has over-reacted yet again. Just like they did when they faked a couple of phone calls that they didn’t actually profit from.”

    A couple? Phone calls?

    You mean the competitions that had fake winners, the competitions that had no winners, the competitions that couldn’t have any winners, the shows that were pre-recorded but pretended to be live, the competitions that the BBC rigged, the phone votes that the BBC failed to adequately supervise and the charity donations the BBC chose to keep to itself?

    Yes. Just a couple of phone calls.

    The BBC is simply dishonest.


  11. Eric says:

    politicalbetting.com has an interesting story from yesterday (apologies if it’s already been covered). In essence, the BBC’s political polls are known to be inherently biased towards Labour; other pollsters adjust for this, but the Beeb lets the result stand



  12. Millie Tant says:

    “We should all think long and hard…”, drones Don Foster. Clearly HE didn’t before putting out such a fatuous statement in defence of the indefensible.

    The reasons that Lesley Douglas resigned is a) that she is a sort of gallant fool and b) so that Bodger Thompson doesn’t have to.

    In his interview after the meeting, the weasel couldn’t wait to tell us that Controllers have ultimate responsibility. (Does he know what the word “ultimate” means? Isn’t HE the ultimate one here?)

    Then, in case we didn’t fully absorb the message, he added for good measure that it was right that she resigned. Talk about a stab in the back – while smarming luvvy-like all over “Jonathan”. She didn’t understand the politics of the game she was in, the first rule of which is to look after No.1 even if it means selling your own grandmother down the river. There we saw it in action from Bodger T, kicking his Controller while giving the luvvy a little light tap which he calculated would be just enough to keep them both in their jobs. What a grubby little Bodger.


  13. Peter says:

    O/T, but as it’s what is still being pumped out regarding this on the BBC too I think it counts…

    I have just penned a letter to Ch 4 about an email I have had from ‘AlexT’ billed as ‘Snowmail’. I guess this can be dismissed if needs be as another junior penning their thoughts on behalf on another, who can then deny it all, even if it is all on company stationery using my email addy. Eh, Gordon?

    RE: The complaintometer now apparently way past 30,000 for a piece of broadcasting which elicited precisely two, yet two, complaints at the time.

    Am I right in thinking I might expect a visit from the police if a person makes one, that’s just one complaint against something I may or may not have said to them?

    In the new edgy, multi-culti UK of today that all rather depends on who I am, who they are and what I said, I guess.

    One for Fact Checker, perhaps?

    Yours faithfully,
    Not a Daily Mail reader. And on this basis not a very impressed Ch 4 viewer now, either.


  14. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Foster is a jerk. But then, the Lib Dems are neither Lib nor Dem: they are a sad joke.


  15. Pete says:

    The 12 week ban on Ross is further evidence of the appalling low standards at the BBC. Any reputable employer would instantly sack someone caught making obscene phone calls to a member of the public and a customer.


  16. Nearly Oxfordian says:

    Brand is a drug addict and alcoholic

    And whose fault is that, pray?

    The level of stress that this ridiculous feeding frenzy

    More drivel from a shoot-the-messenger idiot. Are you a beeboid, perchance?


  17. Jeff says:

    This is probably the most incisive piece i’ve read about the whole Manuelgate mess. And yes it’s from the Grundian…



  18. mailman says:

    Well I guess the commercial reality is that the BBC cant let Ross go because he will get snapped up by a competitor within seconds.

    BUT this brings us to a new arguement, its it the BBC’s need to make money? Seeing as they are publicly funded, why does the BBC beed to make money from the shows that Ross fronts?



  19. Pete says:

    Godd riddance to the Radio 2 controller too. She’s responsible for using public money to run a station staffed by middle aged men playing teenage pop music and mouthing obscenities.

    If the BBC regrds people like her as qulity employees its no wonder the BBC is the dumbed down shambles it is today.


  20. Millie Tant says:

    What is wrong with that Grauniad article is the writer’s use of the terms “star” and “super-talents”.

    You aren’t a star just because you present a radio programme. Nor are you a super-talent because you chatter inanely between spinning a few records.

    The language reveals the mindset of the Beebies and how they are in thrall to such mediocrities with inflated salaries, leading to inflated egos.

    The outrage is that we the public, allow a vulgar oaf like Ross to be paid such a vast amount of money.


  21. Gareth says:

    Millie Tant said

    “The reasons that Lesley Douglas resigned is a) that she is a sort of gallant fool and b) so that Bodger Thompson doesn’t have to.”

    Paul Gambaccini has made some comments that may change your mind. Lesley Douglas has been smitten with Brand and other personalities.


  22. Tom says:

    Millie Tant | 31.10.08 – 11:41 am

    You aren’t a star just because you present a radio programme. Nor are you a super-talent because you chatter inanely

    Well said!

    In fact, the phrase ‘the talent’ seems something of a stretch, more often than not.


  23. Millie Tant says:

    Interesting clip of Paul Gambaccini’s comments; thanks for that.

    If I knew how to search this blog for my own posts, I could find one from yesterday in which I castigated her for inflicting Brand on Radio 2, (a successful music station based on people with a passion and knowledge of the music genre in which they present) which has no need of a stand-up “comedian” such as Brand.

    Paul G is an example of a radio presenter who is steeped in the music and is knowledgeable about what he does. I agree with him about Brand.

    He confirms my view that she was a fool, albeit a well-meaning and possibly honourable one, though too self-sacrificing for the snake-pit organisation in which she worked.

    My posts today were addressing more my impressions of the role of Bodger T in this and his own behaviour and responsibility.


  24. Grimer says:

    Chris Moyles insulting a member of the public and failing to understand just who’s money he is spending:



  25. Hugh Janus says:

    Yes thank for the link to Gambo’s comments. Interesting about the tv stars not “driving the desk” and instead just standing up and performing. That was true of the likes of Sara Cox and her predessor whose name escapes me at the moment too.

    My favourite DJ is Danny Baker. Skilled, erudite, intelligent and witty. After his interview with Glen Campbell the other week GC even said thank you to Danny on air for being such a knowledgeable and courteous interviewer.


  26. GCooper says:

    Excellent link, Gareth. I’m not a fan of Gambaccini but he was astonshingly frank. I wonder if being so candid might yet have implications for his own career?

    Particularly interesting was his assertion that those investigating Brand will find things that will ‘make their hair stand on end’. I wonder what he meant?

    Gambaccini’s revelations about Lesley Douglas, meanwhile, were similarly revealing and confirmed my impression that, far from being a good Controller of Radio 2, she was actually a rather foolish one.

    Quite why Radio 2 has to have yoof content like Brand and Ross, I fail to see. In fact there is already more than sufficient BBC radio for kids – what there isn’t is radio for the lost generation who are almost completely ignored – men in between the pipe and slippers brigade and college kids (and no that isn’t special pleading – I don’t fit that category).

    Instead of trying to make R2 appeal to C4’s just-back-from-the-nightclub crowd, she should have looked at the audience Radio Bloke fails to serve (the Top Gear audience) and tried to fill that huge gap.

    Far from being a success, and regardless of whether Ms. Douglas was liked by her staff, she has been a failure at Radio 2.


  27. archduke says:

    interesting comments by Gambo!

    what is he on about with the “hairs stand on end” comment?


  28. Gaeden Trash says:

    “Brand is a drug addict and alcoholic. The level of stress that this ridiculous feeding frenzy instigated and inflamed by BBC-haters is likely to impact on him heavily, and so rather than going through the ringer any further quitting is probably best for his mental health.”

    First, the BBC is a public corporation compulsorily funded by taxation.It is not an encounter therapy group for whack jobs.
    Secondly,if Brand has such fragile mental health,he is simply in the wrong business.
    Thirdly.If he wants to avoid stress,Brand should not do things that are likely to induce stress.
    Fourthly,Who gives a fuck?


  29. Peter says:

    Jeff | 31.10.08 – 11:13 am | #

    Agree. I actually felt a journalist has assembled some facts, talked to some people involved and written a halfway objective piece.

    The PG aspect is an eye opener. Now… that’s back to form.

    ‘Paul Gambaccini in tirade against hiring of ‘timebomb’ Russell Brand’

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


  30. Barry Chubb's Sister says:

    Did you know that the Panda Bear has to consume half it’s body weight in food every week to survive?

    Surely that means a Panda can only live for 2 weeks before it’s eaten itself completely.



  31. Ms. Know says:

    The state of the country under the elitist illuminati have everyone stressed. We may all start drinking soon, never the kool aid.