View all newsletters
Sign up to our newsletters

Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Long reads
30 October 2008updated 27 Sep 2015 2:59am

The banality of Jonathan Ross

By Staff Blogger

Jonathan Ross likes to think of himself not only as a popular entertainer, but also as something of an agitator and affronter: a fast-talking, wised-up joker. He likes to shock and offend. The BBC may have suspended him this week, but only after indulging him for far too long, encouraging him to spew expletives as he interviews guests on his repulsive Friday evening BBC1 talk show and paying him more in one year (£6m) than the annual budget of the Today programme. Ross has done as much as any broadcaster to coarsen and debase our culture, and for this he has become the BBC’s highest-paid star.

Ross’s humiliation of the veteran actor Andrew Sachs – leaving abusive messages on his answerphone, which were then broadcast on a BBC radio programme – has rightly prompted widespread outrage. This is not public service broadcasting. This is not what we pay our licence fee for.

Ross, a cocky, vulgar jack-the-lad, is out of control. Mark Thompson, the cost-cutting director general of the BBC, must take ultimate responsibility for his star performer’s reckless behaviour.

As for Russell Brand, on whose Radio 2 show Ross was appearing when the cruel messages were left, one can only ask: who is he? The great Viennese satirist and scourge of Nazism Karl Kraus once said, “When I think of Adolf Hitler, nothing occurs to me.” To paraphrase: when we think of Russell Brand, nothing occurs to us.

Content from our partners
Future proofing the NHS
Where do we get the money to fix the world's biggest problems? – with ONE
Labour's health reforms can put patients first

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com Our Thursday ideas newsletter, delving into philosophy, criticism, and intellectual history. The best way to sign up for The Salvo is via thesalvo.substack.com Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates. Weekly analysis of the shift to a new economy from the New Statesman's Spotlight on Policy team. The best way to sign up for The Green Transition is via spotlightonpolicy.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU