The BBC is under pressure to sack Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand over obscene pranks calls they made to Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs.

The broadcaster has so far received more than 1,500 complaints, including phone calls and emails, and there have been several calls for the pair to taken off air or sacked.

The BBC has apologised to Andrew, who played waiter Manuel, after the DJ pair left answerphone messages saying Russell had slept with his granddaughter, 23-year-old Georgina Baillie, an aspiring model.

The presenters also joked that the actor might kill himself as a result. Jonathan, 47, has since issued a personal apology, with Russell, 33, following suit.

Andrew told reporters: “People ask me if I’m angry, well, yes, but not half as angry as Georgina. That’s where the apology should be directed.”

Mediawatch-UK, the pressure group which campaigns for “decency and accountability” in the media, called for the pair to be removed from broadcasting while the BBC investigated the incident.

Director John Beyer said: “I think the BBC should look at the possibility of putting other presenters on air while it conducts this investigation to reassure the public it is taking the matter seriously.”

Former BBC deputy director general Will Wyatt told the Daily Mirror: “This was broadcast over a licence fee paid for network and it was to an ageing actor who hadn’t done anyone any harm.

“One way or another, someone should take some pain for this.”