Comedian Russell Brand has said that the notorious ‘Sachsgate’ scandal occurred because he was caught in an anti-BBC agenda.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs he once again apologised for the incident – but suggested it was hijacked by those who have a bias against the corporation.
The furore broke out in 2008 after Brand and Jonathan Ross left a series of lewd messages on the answerphone of actor Andrew Sachs on Brand’s pre-recorded radio show – making reference to a romantic liaison the comedian had had with his granddaughter Georgina Bailie.
It caused such an outcry that both Brand and the controller of Radio 2 quit the BBC, while Ross was suspended from broadcasting for three months.
The scandal also led to changes in the way BBC output was vetted.
However the funnyman said on the show that many of the most vocal critics were unaware of the chain of events which led to the messages being left on the actor’s answerphone.
“Anything that damages something I love, I’m going to feel sorry for,” he said.
“And I’m sorry also because the story I tell myself, of myself, is not that I am a man who is rude to people who are in a position of vulnerability – but what’s difficult is there was obviously a pre-existing agenda in privately-owned media to destabilise, attack and diminish the BBC.”
While presenter Kirsty Young tried to argue against this, Brand pointed out that “after the show there were two complaints. After it was in the Daily Mail there were subsequently 42,000 complaints.”
Since the incident Jonathan Ross has moved from the BBC to ITV, while Russell Brand has moved into movies, starring in the likes of Arthur and Rock of Ages, as well as voicing characters in Hop and the Despicable Me films.