Russell Brand quits BBC radio show

Oct. 30, 2008 at 6:55 AM   |   Comments

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LONDON, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- British comedian Russell Brand says he has quit his BBC radio show after being suspended following a controversial on-air prank.

The BBC this week said it had suspended Brand, who, along with television and radio personality Jonathan Ross, made sexually explicit phone calls to the cell phone voice mail of 78-year-old "Fawlty Towers" actor Andrew Sachs in a segment that aired on Brand's Oct. 18 Radio 2 show while Ross was a guest.

In addition to suspending the hosts, the British broadcaster also pulled Brand's and Ross's shows off the air while it investigates the matter.

More than 18,000 people complained to the BBC. Sachs's granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, has called for the pair to be fired and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned the comedians' antics as "inappropriate and unacceptable behavior." The crude messages left on Sachs's voice mail were about Baillie, 23.

"As I only do the radio show to make people laugh I've decided that, given the subsequent coverage, I will stop doing the show," E! Online quoted Brand as saying in a videotaped statement. "I got a bit caught up in the moment and forgot that, at the core of the rude comments and silly songs, were the real feelings of a beloved and brilliant comic actor and a very sweet and big-hearted young woman."

Ross and the BBC have also publicly apologized to Sachs.

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