Recently, I was invited to appear on the BBC Radio Cambridge Breakfast Show to speak for only a moment or two on the fact that pubs have to become more innovative in order to survive. The BBC was focusing on me because we recently installed a Nintendo Wii in the Tharp and use it to have tournaments or simply liven up a dull winter’s evening.
It didn’t take long, however, for me to join the ranks of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand and receive a complaint regarding my on-air performance. True, mine didn’t involve me making lewd references to a sordid fling with Olga Kurylenko, nor did I repeatedly swear on air – we were live at 8:40 in the morning, after all, and not pre-recording a show to go out after 10pm like Ross and Brand were.
But still, a little old lady did get the wrong end of the stick and rang up to say that, although she understood pubs were struggling at the moment and that they needed to do new and more inventive things to get ahead, it really was out of order that they should resort to weeing competitions.
Admittedly it was only one call, rather than 40’000+, and it was only raised by somebody who’d misunderstood just what we were talking about rather than being brought to the attention of the masses by a tabloid newspaper eager to make a stir, but it did give everybody a laugh and the pub’s Wii has been used quite extensively since being brought in to the limelight.
Which just goes to show that there is no such thing as bad publicity. The same, really, goes for Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, and the two people at the centre of their tasteless joke.
Andrew Sachs, the man who played the amusing Manuel in the 1970’s sitcom Fawlty Towers, is somebody that most people born in the 1980s have probably never heard of, and he’d disappeared off the radar somewhat in later years. Now, though, he’s apparently been approached by ITV for a role in Coronation Street, while his grand-daughter, a burlesque dancer who seemingly has an insatiable appetite for sex and wants to meet people who can sell her fake blood, was a complete unknown before the Brand/Ross fracas yet now gets invited to be the headline act at various nightclubs.
Neither Ross nor Brand will suffer too badly in the long run, either. Certainly, Russell Brand had no choice but to resign or be sacked for his part in calling up Sachs and claiming to the man’s answering machine that he’d had sex with his grand-daughter, but the thirty-three year old walking toilet brush is unlikely to go short of work.
Having dashed straight off to America to hide from the tabloid press in the UK he is undoubtedly going to enjoy a lucrative film career with his next film, Disney’s Bedtime Stories, due out at Christmas. A contract with Channel 4 also saw him back on TV shortly after the furore over his radio show broke.
Jonathan Ross is equally unlikely to suffer long-term for his part in the telephone scandal, during which he exclaimed to Andrew Sachs’s answering machine that Brand had “f***ed your grand-daughter!”
A three-month suspension and loss of pay rumoured to be around £1.5million is a harsh punishment, but the loveable Wossy has a strong history and loyal fans and the BBC were unlikely to punish him any more severely for fear that he would immediately be snapped up by a rival broadcaster.
Indeed, the whole scandal has done nothing but good for the four involved. Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand’s names have been on everybody’s lips since it erupted, including Jeremy Clarkson who claims the reason their guest list on Top Gear has improved so dramatically this series is all down to Friday Night with Jonathan Ross being cancelled.
Georgina Baillie became the most searched name on Google and Sachs has been offered a new acting role.
In fact, the only way this could get better for any of them is if, on the return of Ross’s Friday night show, his guests in the Green Room were Georgina Baillie, Russell Brand and Andrew Sachs.
That, on its own, would be a ratings winner.