BBC apologizes to actor over Russell Brand joke

Mon Oct 27, 2008 2:16pm EDT
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By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC apologized on Monday to "Fawlty Towers" actor Andrew Sachs after well-known personalities Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left a series of crude messages on his answerphone during a radio show.

The Radio 2 presenters joked on-air that Brand had slept with Sachs' grand-daughter and that he may kill himself after hearing their message earlier this month.

A BBC spokesman apologized to Sachs, 78, who played Spanish waiter Manuel in the classic comedy series, for the "unacceptable and offensive" comments.

"We are reviewing how this came about and are responding to Mr Sachs personally," the spokesman said. "We also apologize to listeners for any offense caused."

A recording of the messages was posted on the YouTube video-sharing website,

The pair said they decided to leave a message for the actor after he failed to come to the phone for an interview.

After making the quip about Sachs' grand-daughter Georgina, Ross said: "I can't help it. You were talking about it and it was in my head. I got excited, what can I say? It just came out."

Brand burst out laughing and said: "I did not do nothing. Oh no, it's a disaster, abort abort ... put the phone down. Code red, code red."   Continued...

<p>British actor Russell Brand, a cast member in the film "Forgetting Sarah Marshall," arrives at the premiere of the film in Los Angeles April 10, 2008. REUTERS/Chris Pizzello</p>