Comedian quits as broadcaster investigates controversial prank calls

Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand have been taken off air by the BBC over their prank calls to Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs.

Both have been suspended pending an investigation, director general Mark Thompson has confirmed, but now Russell Brand has quit the corporation.

‘I got caught up in the moment,’ Russell told ITV’s News At Ten. ‘I don’t want to cause any more trouble. I take full responsibility.

‘Jonathan Ross is a kind family man who just did something a little bit silly.’

The BBC has received over 27,000 complaints about the radio broadcast which featured the comedians leaving lewd messages on 78-year-old Andrew‘s phone.

The calls, in which the pair talked about Russell having sex with the veteran actor’s granddaughter Georgina Baillie, 23, were broadcast on the former drug addict’s pre-recorded Radio 2 show on 18 October.

Today Jonathan Ross has issued a statement about his behaviour. ‘I am deeply sorry about my juvenile remarks,’ he says. ‘It was a stupid error of judgment on my part.’

Russell, 33, and Jonathan, 47, have been criticised by Prime Minister Gordon Brown for their ‘inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour’.

But at the National TV Awards this evening, Big Brother host Davina McCall showed support for the duo.

‘They’re both brilliant at their jobs,’ she said, ‘we know they’re naughty boys.’

Russell was sacked by MTV after arriving at work dressed as Osama bin Laden the day after 9/11 and by Xfm radio for reading out ‘pornography’ on a Sunday afternoon show.

In 2006, he boasted he’d slept with Rod Stewart’s daughter Kimberly but had to admit his claim was false after the singer confronted him.