I've met Andrew Sachs. I worked with him once. I was very hungover and trying not to vomit. This isn't so much declaring an interest as dropping a name. He was a nice man - very quiet, likes croissants, bit frosty. But then we had just had Hannah Gordon in and she'd shown us she could split an apple on her knee and that it was a skill that had really impressed John Lennon. "And I mean *really*" she'd twinkled.
Anyway, poor Andrew Sachs. It really is playing into the tabloids' grubby hands, though, isn't it? Aged National Treasure terrorised by Britain's Wealthiest Entertainers? Short of spit-roasting Joanna Lumley it's hard to work out what they could have done worse.
The really sad thing is that you just *know* what's going to happen. You can sense it as soon as phrases like "BBC Internal Inquiry" and "Urgent Investigation" start floating around. Will they fire Ross or Brand? No. In the end they'll simply sack the show's producer. He only earns thirty grand, he's nobody (even though he's got good hair). And it'll look responsible. They can issue a statement: "Clearly, both of them overstepped the mark. Maverick talent needs careful handling, and there was a clear failing in this case."
Which is one way of reading it. Another is to imagine a 25-year old producer trying to overrule two multimillionaires who could end his career instantly. A mistake happened. But personally, I hope he goes on to make many more.
Meanwhile, the vile 6Music-ruining Ray Davies-baiting George Lamb is still employed. Now that's a clear crime.
UPDATE: Well, they've been suspended. Mark Thompson is rushing back from holiday to hear from senior executives he's "tasked" with the investigation (I thought no-one still said "tasked" these days, but he does). But you just know they'll be back after a token wrist-slap. Firing Ross would mean the issue of his £18 million contract never left Mark Thompson.
AND: From an article about the BBC's Editorial Guidelines: "Radio producers do not have to worry about nudity or the use of strobe lights."
UPDATED AGAIN: And it seems as though Russell Brand has decided to spend more time with his strobe lights. But I bet they still boot the producer. Jonathan Ross meanwhile has apologised... saying he only waited so long because he wanted to do it on his tv show. Hmmmn. I remember I once tried a similar excuse with my mum. She didn't buy it.