Grow up, grandpa: Years after 'Sachsgate', Andrew Sachs reveals he is still not talking to his granddaughter

It's time to forgive and forget, says Rosie Millard – the rest of us all have

Share

If you are a public figure, there are several ways available to market your autobiography. One is to talk about the highlights of your life. The other is to talk about the lowlights, with a sort of pained duty, as if they were a bedsore that just won't go away.

This is the path that Andrew Sachs is taking to promote his book I Know Nothing. Not content with stories from his wonderful career, his Jewish German ancestry, comic moments on Fawlty Towers, etc, Sachs is yet again hauling us all through the terrible moment when Ross, J and Brand, R chose to ring him up and leave a teasing message about his granddaughter Georgina Baillie on his answering machine, and then replay the incident on BBC Radio 2.

Not a great moment in the career of either man, but according to Sachs, this "diabolical" act was the worst thing that has ever happened to his family. "It was worse than the Nazis," he told one newspaper this week. Really? A radio prank, worse than your entire family fleeing Berlin in 1938? Apparently so. Or was it last week that he spoke about it, in another paper? Perhaps it was both, since Sachs has been banging on about this gross infamy to as many journalists as he can manage.

Well, Andrew, I have news for you. We don't care any more about it. The perpetrators were punished. Someone at Radio 2 fell on her sword. Er, that's it. Nobody thinks it is akin to the Nazis. Barely anyone thinks it is disgusting. Nobody thinks anything, because the world has moved on. Ross is still on television. The Radio 2 boss has a new deal with the BBC. Brand is on Question Time.

It is only Sachs and his wife Melody who have failed to progress. Six years on, Georgina is still out on the cold. "We don't see her any more", he says, grandly. He and Melody have cut their granddaughter off – for her (inadvertent) role in an act apparently as bad as the Holocaust.

"They talk about it all the time," moans Melody (in another national newspaper) about Brand and Ross. No, love. You and your husband do. Eventually, it's going to be the only thing that anyone will say about you both, because it's the only thing you seem to care about.

Russell Brand (left) and Jonathan Ross left a teasing message about Sachs' granddaughter on his answering machine (Getty Images) Russell Brand (left) and Jonathan Ross left a teasing message about Sachs' granddaughter on his answering machine (Getty Images)
 

I interviewed Baillie after the incident. She struck me as a young girl finding her way in life. So what if she was in a Goth-rock band and a bit burlesque with it? So what if she hopped into bed with Russell Brand? People do quirky things. Old enough to have a life of her own but young enough to remember, Baillie told me, with longing and love, about the wonderful Christmasses that Grandma and Grandad Sachs used to put on for her and her siblings, when their house was transformed into a Winter Wonderland.

She was clearly dazzled by Grandpa's fame and Grandma's glamour. Maybe that was their motive. Maybe the big, famous couple were more keen on impressing the grandchildren than really loving them. When she was humiliated on national radio, the first and only thing Sachs ought to have done was to put his arms around his granddaughter. Not spurn her.

As her father Charles indignantly stated this week, in a letter to The Times, Georgina has made many attempts to mend broken fences. Her grandparents have stubbornly refused to acknowledge them. Perhaps worst of all, she was invited to Melody's 80th birthday knees-up (at The Ivy, of course), and then de-invited.

It sounds churlish to tell a man in his eighties to grow up, but really. For God's sake, man. As John Cleese said to Sachs on set once, when he had the temerity to complain about being hit a bit too hard by Basil Fawlty: "Pull yourself together and I'll buy you another Babycham."

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Regulatory / Compliance / Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: Exeter - An excellent opportunity for a Solici...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Technician - 12 Month Fixed Term - Shrewsbury

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Helpdesk Support Technician - 12 ...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: World Wide PLC Service Engineer

£30000 - £38000 per annum + pesion + holidays: The Jenrick Group: World Wide S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mary Christmas: the Bethlehem story is Mary's moment, when a poor peasant girl gives birth to the Son of God in a stable  

The appeal of the Virgin Mary: A supernatural hope at a time of scepticism

Peter Stanford
 

Letters: Why Cameron is wrong about EU child benefits

Independent Voices
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'