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BBC suspend Brand and Ross

The Director General of the BBC has announced that the corporation has suspended all programmes presented by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in the wake of the "prank phone call" row.

[b]UPDATE[/b]: Russell Brand has now resigned from his position – Jonathan Ross remains suspended.

Brand said: "I got a bit caught up in the moment. I forgot that at the core of the rude comments and silly songs were the real feelings of a beloved and brilliant comic actor and a very sweet and big hearted young woman."

Mark Thompson said the decision to suspend the pair had been taken while an investigation into the incident was ongoing.

"Since Sunday, I have been in regular contact with the senior executives I tasked with handling this issue," he said.

"In the meantime, I have decided that it is not appropriate for either Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross to continue broadcasting on the BBC until I have seen the full report of the actions of all concerned.

"This gross lapse of taste by the performers and the production team has angered licence payers."

He then apologised personally to Andrew Sachs and his family and to licence fee payers for the "completely unacceptable broadcast".

Georgina Baillie, Sachs' grand-daughter, has also weighed into the row, telling the Sun newspaper that she believes the pair were "beyond contempt" and should "pay for what they've done with their jobs".

The pair got into hot water after making a series of obscene calls to the answerphone of actor Andrew Sachs in which Ross, who was guesting on Brand's show, suggested that Brand had "f**ked" Sachs' grand-daughter. They then made several more calls, including one in which Brand suggested Sachs might "kill himself".

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