If you live outside the UK the story of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross phoning Andrew Sachs is unlikely to have made an impression, however, in the UK it is seemingly the only thing people are talking about.
For those who don’t know, the story can be summed up as follows:
In the recording of Brand’s BBC radio show a number of childish phone calls were made to Andrew Sachs (most famous for the part of Manuel in Fawlty Towers). In one of these phone calls Ross shouts out “He [Brand] fucked your granddaughter”. This then led to lots of discussion about the wayward nature of the BBC in the right-wing press, and numerous complaints to the BBC. A more detailed timeline can be found at the BBC, and the actual comments are, unsurprisingly, available on youtube.
So, why am I interested in this particular story? Because it is a great example of the continued power of old media. As the graph of blog posts below shows, there was no story until the Mail on Sunday created a story (the show was originally broadcast on Saturday 18th of October from 9pm-11pm).
The story created the 30,000 complaints, rather than the actual event. Whilst I acknowledge that there must be some standards, the question is whether those standards should be set by a right-wing press. If the phone call had happened in the middle of Songs of Praise then I would support the complaints, but what do you really expect from Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross?