COMIC Russell Brand has claimed the notorious Sachsgate controversy erupted because he had become caught up in an anti-BBC “agenda”.
In an interview for BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, he reiterated his apology for the upset the incident caused, but suggested it was a “dishonest scandal” because it was hijacked by those motivated by a bias against the corporation.
The star, who divorced American singer Katy Perry last year, also said he wants more than anything to settle down and marry again.
Brand was at the centre of a furore in 2008 when he and presenter Jonathan Ross left a series of smutty messages during a radio programme on the answerphone of veteran actor Andrew Sachs, with whose granddaughter the comedian had previously enjoyed a romantic liaison.
The pre-recorded show caused uproar, prompting Brand and the controller of Radio 2 to quit, Ross to be suspended from broadasting for three months and a shake-up in the way BBC output was vetted.
Brand told Desert Island Discs that many who had complained were not fully aware of the chain of events which led to the messages.
Before giving his interpretation of the incident, he told presenter Kirsty Young his explanation should not be seen as “showing a lack of contrition, because I am contrite”.
He said: “Anything that damages something I love, I’m going to feel sorry for. And I’m sorry also because the story I tell myself, of myself, is not that I am a man who is rude to people who are in a position of vulnerability – but what’s difficult, Kirsty, is there was obviously a pre-existing agenda in privately owned media to destabilise, attack and diminish the BBC.”
Young countered by saying the 42,000 people who eventually complained “weren’t being motivated by some agenda against a publicly funded media”.
But he brushed it off to say: “They were, course they were – listen, Kirsty, after the show there were two complaints. After it was in the Daily Mail there were subsequently 42,000 complaints.”