Russell Brand new book: Radio 4 listeners angry at BBC's 'shameless' promotion of Revolution

People have complained about the comedian's guest star slot on Start The Week

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The Independent Culture

Radio 4 listeners have reportedly been angered by the BBC's "shameless" promotion of Russell Brand's new book.

The controversial comedian, who has been made headlines recently for his anti-establishment beliefs, appeared on Newsnight earlier this month, during which he admitted to remaining "open-minded" about 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Just days later, Brand was invited to discuss his latest political release, Revolution, on Radio 4's Start The Week, prompting complaints by those who do not believe he deserves so much airtime.

"[Brand's] latest foray into 'serious politics' is only the latest in a long line of self-serving populist roles where he gets to practise long words in order to sound like a working class hero," one listener said, according to The Times, branding his contribution "abysmal and embarrassing".

Other listeners were concerned by how easily Brand was able to talk across other guests on Start the Week, with some criticising his descriptions of leading politicians.

"When people are coating me off for saying 'don't vote', they always forget what I actually said," Brand argued.

"I don't see who I am supposed to vote for: Ed Miliband, Clegg, that racist geezer, Cameron – the sort-of-like marginally less racist.

"They all come from the same schools, they all come from the same background. If these people are out leaders, if Parliamentary democracy is going to be something that engages us ordinary people then it has to represent us."

 

But Rebecca Stratford, programme editor, defended the decision to give Brand a platform because Revolution is "being discussed everywhere at the moment". "He does seem to have the ear of a certain generation," she said.

A BBC spokesperson added that the broadcaster is "always careful not to give undue prominence to individuals or organisations".

"Brand is a high profile voice in a debate about the relationship between politicians and the public that various programmes are examining, and these interviews give an opportunity to test those views," they said.

Brand quit the BBC six years ago after a Radio 2 scandal saw him and Jonathan Ross leave an obscene and offensive voicemail message for 83-year-old Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

Recent reports have suggested that Brand is considering running for Mayor of London, but he has dismissed these as false.

"I think we've already got a comedian who's more known for his hair than his policies,"he told XFM presenter Jon Holmes last week.

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