Media Law Prof Blog

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Louisiana State Univ.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

BBC Receives Complaints Over Radio Broadcast, Apologizes To "Fawlty Towers" Actor

Once again, the BBC finds itself in the position of having to apologize for some unfortunate behavior on the part of participants on one of its shows. This time, the behavior occurred on Russell Brand's Radio 2 show, during an episode on which film critic and host Jonathan Ross was a guest. The two repeatedly called actor Andrew Sachs, who played Manuel on the classic comedy Fawlty Towers, and left prank calls on his answering machine. However, the content of the calls went far beyond fun and lurched into offensive content, including the implication that Mr. Brand had slept with Mr. Sachs's granddaughter. The pair only made things worse when they redialed and tried to apologize. Mr. Sachs listened to at least one of the recorded calls, and directed his agent to complain to the BBC. Mumerous listeners to the Brand broadcast also filed complaints. Read more here in a BBC story, and here in a Guardian story.

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