Sure, they made an awful mistake on BBC Radio 2 by trying to be funny at the expense of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. But it was the BBC that transmitted their prerecorded error to the British public. It was YouTube (no criticism intended) that then made the incident available to voyeurs globally as a video clip. Therefore, the major fault in this affair lies with the weak – or non-existent – editorial control exercised by the BBC over its well-known loose-mouthed performers.
Andrew Billen, chief television critic of The Times rightly says in today’s newspaper that it was a crisis of “editorial misjudgement followed by management failure, compounded by inept public relations”.
Ross and Brand have said sorry. Brand has resigned from his show (Radio 2 was hardly the right audience for his style of humour, anyway). But it is the BBC that now faces the bigger challenge to put its house and reputation back intact. Or it might find itself dismantled when its Royal Charter comes up for review in 2016.