Jonathan Ross‘s 6 million pounds-a-year job was saved by BBC bosses as Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas took the blame for the Andrew Sachs controversy.
The BBC star was suspended without pay for 12 weeks and told he would not be able to bring the BBC into disrepute again.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said that ‘ultimate responsibility’ for such incidents ultimately lies with ‘executive producers, producers and controllers’.
Thompson said he accepted the decision of Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas to resign with ‘real sadness’.
Ross’s contribution to the Russell Brand show was ‘utterly unacceptable’ and there would be ‘tight discipline’ in future, he said. Mr Thompson said it was a final warning for Ross, who will return to work in mid-January next year.
He said: “The ultimate editorial responsibility for BBC programmes lies with producers and editorial managers. The consequences of errors of judgment are therefore more serious for managers.
“Nonetheless, Jonathan Ross’s contribution to this edition of the Russell Brand show was utterly unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go uncensured or without sanction.
“A 12-week suspension is an exceptional step, but I believe it is a proportionate response to Jonathan’s role in this unhappy affair. Jonathan Ross has already made a comprehensive and unreserved personal apology to Andrew Sachs and his granddaughter.
“I believe that he fully understands the seriousness of what has happened. I have made very clear to him the central importance of the clause in his contract about not bringing the BBC into disrepute.