Gwoss Misconduct

October 30, 2008 at 11:10 pm (comedy, Free Speech, Jim D, media, trivia, TV, wankers)

I would very much like to be able to tell you that this blog’s failure to comment on the Ross/Brand/ Sachs “incident” has been the result of a high-minded refusal to demean ourselves by following the tabloid pack, etc, etc.

Unfortunately, that is not the case. We have all been too busy with other matters to get round to it. And we don’t have a “line” on the matter, either, so what follows is entirely down to yours truly:

1/ If you or I, or some obscure local radio presenter had done anything approaching what Woss and Brand did, it would have been treated as gross misconduct and our feet wouldn’t have touched the ground.

2/ Taking the piss out of the rich, powerful and influential can be funny. Mocking inoffensive, not particularly wealthy, elderly people – even when they’re slightly famous actors – isn’t. The great Charlie Brooker put it rather well in an article written just before the Woss/Brand story broke: “Because we’re all just jerks in the playpen, when it comes down to it. And tossing insults and brickbats is all part of the fun, especially if its done with panache. But when anyone – no matter how annoying – stumbles and shatters their skull, you’d better shut up or help them. Why? because you’re also a grown up, stupid. And that’s what they do.”

3/ How is it that while Brand has resigned from Radio 2 (though that represents a very small sacrifice in his “portfolio” of lucractive interests), and an innocent BBC apparatchik has now followed suit, the £6 million-a-year gobshite Woss gets off with 12 weeks without pay and a public assurance from the director general that he won’t be sacked?

4/ Have you noticed the omerta of the new luvvies – the British comedy clique? Not one of these “cutting edge” clowns has broken ranks to call call Woss and Brand the assholes that they are. Others from the comedy establishment (like the Blairite groveller John O’ Farrell and his pathetic NewsBiscuit website) and some “liberal” commentators (like him and him) have suggested that it’s all a storm in a teacup got up by the tabloids, and also a threat to freedom of expression (not that these same liberal commentators seemed particularly concerned about real threats to freedom of expression).

5/ Finally, I just hope that this whole sordid business doesn’t signal the end of that wonderful comic tradition, the hoax phone call, which in the right hands (ie not those of Woss or Brand) can be a delight to be savoured…



  1. Jim Denham said,

    I’ve just visited Dave’s site
    and have seen that he made many of the same points yesterday. Great minds, and all that. Honestly: I’ve only just read your stuff, Dave.

  2. modernity said,

    I think this sorry incident shows how the media is fixated with its own goings on, and how the cult of celebrity is really a modern day version of bread and circus’s

    this silly event has dominated the London centric media for days, whilst other note worthy stories across the world are brushed aside or not covered

    damn stupid

  3. maxdunbar said,

    This a great post.

    The stunt itself was cowardly and childish. I bet Ross and Brand wouldn’t have said anything like this to Sachs’s face.

    The real scandal is that this arsehole is on millions of pounds a year, in public money.

  4. Matt said,

    I have no particular regard or antipathy towards Ross but I do think Brand is genuinely funny. Having watched the call on YouTube, it’s clear that rather than being a hoax it was a spontaneous reaction to reaching Sachs’ answerphone. (That doesn’t mean it’s acceptable but the actions of the producers in then broadcasting it are surely more open to question).

    There is a big element of the Daily Mail v BBC here. Two complaints after the broadcast, 30,000 now – 99% of whom haven’t even heard what they’re complaining about. These people not only disapprove of swearing on the radio but of the left/iberal/multicultural/PC/morally lax agenda they see the BBC as representing. God know what they would make of Ms Baillie’s act if they witnessed it.

    The only person with any right to complain is Sachs himself. In the only interview I’ve seen him give he was restrained and decent, unlike the right-wing mob who have formed around the issue. Having fled Germany as a child after Kristallnacht, I’m sure he has more perspective on what is important in this world than the politicians and news editors who have jumped on the story and made it into a surreal, unrelenting and frankly unspoofable moral crusade.

  5. Will said,

    This post is possibly even worse than anything Voltaire’s Pantyline has delivered here so far.

    You need to get your quill out Jimbo. You have become as much a disgrace as the rest of the fuckwits who post and comment here. I reckon you are mixing with the wrong sort and it is twisting your synapses into ill-formed matter.

    Document here for signing:

  6. Dr Paul said,

    I have this feeling that Jonathan Woss has been for ages trying to make amends for being left speechless by Julian Clary in that Norman Lamont on Hampstead Heath episode — I remember seeing it at the time; it was, well, unexpected — and has failed dismally, knowing that he was left unusually speechless at the time, and couldn’t subsequently be more comically outrageous. This sad episode shows that all he can do is insult an old bloke. It’s a bit sad that a bloke not much younger than me has to rely on nob jokes to get a laugh.

    I do detect an awful lot of intentional, forced outrage here. It was the same back in the mid-1970s when the same suspects whipped themselves into a strop of outrage at the schoolboy naughtiness of Johnny Rotten. The Daily Mail & Co are outraged because they want to be outraged. It’s really pathetic that the Broon and the other outraged parliamentarians are no different to the downmarket Tory press.

    As for Andrew Sach’s grand-daughter, I wonder if Sachs, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany, really relishes the sight of her and her pals cavorting in a video in a cod-Nazi uniform. Even the thought of her and Brand having it off must surely be less distressing to him than that.

  7. David Ellis said,

    What a bunch of lower middle class moralising tossers this blog encompasses. Jim Denham would be far more comfortable writing for the Daily Mail. He could write reviews of End of the Pier shows and fish and chip shops. And he could take the piss out of other people’s speech impediments and their skin colour and champion pre-emptive strikes on third world countries which is clearly what he’d rather be doing.

  8. Voltaire's Priest said,

    Ellis, have you been at the cooking sherry (sorry I mean Special Brew, if you think that’s more proletarian)?

  9. David Ellis said,

    Something worth reading. Perhaps you can leave a nasty little remark Denham.

  10. David Ellis said,


    Something a bit more entertaining to read.

  11. David Ellis said,


    I drink real ale every other Friday.

    I have been trying to post a link to Russel Brands football column on the Guardian but it has not appeared. Do the comment boxes here not take links?

  12. voltairespriest said,

    It should let you but sometimes they get caught in the spam filter (it looks for links but it can’t tell “Russell Brand” from “sexy teenagers” or whatever). I’ll take a look.

  13. voltairespriest said,

    Ellis: Sorted.

    Will: your bollocks also got caught in the spam filter. Thought I’d release your comment just to demonstrate (once again) what a total prick you are. 🙂

  14. David Ellis said,


  15. Peachy « Shiraz Socialist said,

    […] Brand and Ross are small fry– a few months in a re-education camp, and they may be fit to return to scrub the streets.  But this enemy of the people – what gulag regime could bring her back to a proper consciousness?  Her very existence insults the masses. […]

  16. Jim Denham said,


    As you know I take your criticisms very seriously, and certainly what you have had to say about my post on this subject has given me some considerable pause for thought.

    I agree with you and Paulie that the attempt by the Daily Mail and others to use this episode to attack the BBC and the licence fee, and to limit the freedom of expression of comedians (and anyone else), must be vigorously opposed.

    And yet, and yet…I still contend that what Ross and Brand did to Andrew Sachs was simply bullying. He’s by no stretch of the imagination a ruling class figure, an influential figure, or someone who in some other way deserves taking down. On the other hand, Ross and Brand are, indeed, arrogant, highly-paid, preening assholes who think they can do and say whatever they want without accountability. They deserved what they got. The fact that the Daily Mail led the campiagn, and may yet go on to broaden its attack on the BBC and freedom of expression, certainly makes me uncomfortable. But to allow that to silence ones’s criticism of Ross and Brand strikes me as like left-wingers rerusing to criticise Stalinism because the right wing was also doing so. We shouldn’t let those bastards determine our agenda, even negatively. As Orwell once said about the Daily Telegraph ( in connection with much more serious matters, but the comparison would apply to the Mail at the moment): (these things) “all happened, and they did not happen any the less because the Daily Telegraph has suddenly found out about them…”

  17. voltairespriest said,

    Well said, that man.

  18. Matt said,

    Charlie Booker’s take on the Mail’s moral crusade at:

  19. Jim Denham said,

  20. Jim Denham said,

    Sorry about that duplication, Matt: your comment was stuck in our filtering machine thingy that tends to block comments that include lengthy links. I wrote my comment linking to today’s column by The Master before I noticed yours was trapped in the dreaded Filter, and released it.

  21. Dave Stamp said,

    Not that anything else needs to said about this whole palaver…but I do actually rather LIKE Russell Brand, “preening arsehole” or no. And I think it’s interesting that the last time he faced censure from the BBC for the content of his broadcasts, it was for a far mor principled reason.

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