TV and Radio presenter Jonathan Ross gets ready for Halloween by putting a 'Keep Out' sign above his front door. (Photo by Flynet Pictures)
Jonathan Ross must be bummed about his 12-week suspension from the BBC, because he's sending a pretty clear message to the public, the paparazzi, and Halloween visitors alike. Granted, he will be losing about 1.5 million pounds out of the deal, so I guess I understand his anti-social disappointment.
Andrew Sachs of Fawlty Towers. Ross's suspension is his punishment for the Andrew Sachs debacle. As a guest on the Russell Brand show, Ross and Brand made a prank phone call to Sachs, who is an actor known for his performance in Fawlty Towers. Ross recorded a message on his answering machine saying that Brand had slept with Sachs's granddaughter, and Brand went on to suppose that Sachs would commit suicide after hearing the message.
Brand resigned after the scandal, but Ross's job was spared, with the stipulation that he take a 12-week suspension without pay. According to the Press Association, this is his last warning. BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said: The ultimate editorial responsibility for BBC programmes lies with producers and editorial managers. The consequences of errors of judgment are therefore more serious for managers. Nonetheless, Jonathan Ross's contribution to this edition of the Russell Brand show was utterly unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go uncensured or without sanction.
A 12-week suspension is an exceptional step, but I believe it is a proportionate response to Jonathan's role in this unhappy affair. Jonathan Ross has already made a comprehensive and unreserved personal apology to Andrew Sachs and his granddaughter. I believe that he fully understands the seriousness of what has happened. I have made very clear to him the central importance of the clause in his contract about not bringing the BBC into disrepute.
We agree that nothing like this must ever happen again and that tight discipline will be required for the future. Last warning? That language suggests that Ross is a repeat offender, and according to the BBC, he is.
In 2000, he felt the heat from the Broadcasting Standards Commission after he made off-color comments about stroke victims, Romanian orphans and asylum seekers.
In 2003, he swore on the air during Comic Relief Red Nose Night.
In 2006, he posed some overtly sexual questions to David Cameron about Margaret Thatcher.
In 2007, he joked on air that his salary indicated he was worth 1,000 BBC journalists (he makes about six million pounds a year). Unfortunately, the BBC had just announced it was going to make more than 2,000 staff members redundant.
In 2008, he called Heather Mills a liar and said he wouldn't be surprised if she had two legs.
Jonathan Ross in his signature quirky style. And THIS is the last straw? The BBC must love this guy.