Lewd calls row

Radio 2 controller resigns and Ross is suspended

The Radio 2 Controller Lesley Douglas has resigned over the Andrew Sachs row, the BBC said today. And Jonathan Ross has been suspended without pay for 12 weeks.

Douglas offered her "personal apology to Andrew Sachs and his family and to the audience for what has happened".



The BBC director general Mark Thompson said that Ross, said to earn £6 million a year, had been suspended without pay.

The BBC said he would "be suspended from all broadcasting for the BBC for a 12-week period, ending in mid-January 2009.

"He will not be paid by the BBC during this period. The fees that would have been paid will be deducted from his BBC contract."



Mr Thompson said: "Jonathan Ross's contribution to this edition of the Russell Brand show was utterly unacceptable and cannot be allowed to go uncensored or without sanction.

"A 12-week suspension is an exceptional step, but I believe it is a proportionate response to Jonathan's role in this unhappy affair.

"Jonathan Ross has already made a comprehensive and unreserved personal apology to Andrew Sachs and his granddaughter. I believe that he fully understands the seriousness of what has happened.

"I have made very clear to him the central importance of the clause in his contract about not bringing the BBC into disrepute. We agree that nothing like this must ever happen again and that tight discipline will be required for the future."



The row has already claimed the scalp of Russell Brand.



Douglas said: "Over the 23 years of my career at the BBC I have enjoyed a deep love and respect for both the audience and the BBC.

"The events of the last two weeks happened on my watch. I believe it is right that I take responsibility for what has happened."

Meanwhile the BBC Trust said it was "dismayed" by what had occurred in the Radio 2 broadcast.

A statement released by the Trust's chairman Sir Michael Lyons said: "The BBC Trust represents licence fee payers and on their behalf has a responsibility to safeguard high standards of BBC broadcasts.

"The Trust is dismayed both that the offensive comments broadcast on the Russell Brand Show on 18th October fell so far short of audiences' legitimate expectations and by the deplorable intrusion into the privacy of Mr Sachs and his granddaughter."

It added: "On behalf of the BBC, the Trust offers a full and unreserved apology to Andrew Sachs, Georgina Baillie and the rest of his family. The Trust extends its apologies to licence fee payers as a whole."

Complaints about the incident have reached 35,700 and the prank has been condemned by the Prime Minister downwards.

Brand, 33, and Ross, 47, were suspended by the BBC yesterday, 11 days after the offensive phone call was broadcast on Radio 2.





Douglas, Controller of BBC Radio 2, 6 Music and Popular Music, was reported to have been prepared to resign if members of her production staff were sacked.



She took over Radio 2 in 2004 and has lured thirty-something listeners to a station once known for its more mature audience.

She said the last week had been a "painful one for the BBC and particularly for BBC Radio 2".

She said: "It is with enormous regret that I have decided to resign as Controller of BBC Radio 2, BBC 6 Music and of Popular Music. This is my decision alone."

BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said he accepted the decision with "real sadness".

Mr Thompson reported to a special meeting of the BBC Trust's editorial standards committee this afternoon.

He presented the findings of BBC management's investigation into how the comments were cleared for broadcast.



The BBC website carries this biography of Lesley Douglas, who "was appointed Controller, BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music in October 2003 and took up the post in January 2004.

"Lesley's role was expanded in May 2007 when she was appointed the BBC's first Controller, Popular Music.

"Her remit includes taking responsibility for co-ordinating the full range of popular music output produced across the various BBC platforms.

"She started her career in the BBC in 1986 as a Production Assistant, first in a research department and moving later that year to the David Jacobs show. A year later she joined Promotions working as a Promotions Assistant. "

It adds: "Lesley was born in Newcastle in 1963 and gained a degree in English at Manchester University."

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Legal Recruitment Consultant

Highly Competitive Salary + Commission: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL BASED - DEALING ...

Digital Project Manager / Web Project Manager

£45-50k (DOE) + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced ...

Account Manager

£30 - 35k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Account Manager to join ...

Social Advertising Manager / Social Media Manager

£Excellent + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Social Advertising Manager / Social Med...

Day In a Page

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?