Jonathan Ross’s Radio 2 show is to be pre-recorded from this weekend, the BBC has said.
Last week, PinkNews.co.uk revealed that complaints had been received after he said boys who ask for a Hannah Montana MP3 should be adopted before they brought their gay partner home. The story was picked up by the national media, including the Guardian and the Daily Mail.
BBC executives reportedly decided the show will be pre-recorded from tomorrow in order to avoid a repeat of the ‘Sachsgate’ incident after which Ross was suspended without pay for three months.
Today, a BBC spokeswoman told PinkNews.co.uk that the BBC had began discussions months ago to pre-record the show. She said the decision had been made prior to last week’s story about the gay adoption joke.
The censorship is undoubtedly more serious than PinkNews.co.uk’s ‘gay tsar’ April Fool story, in which we wrote that the BBC would be introducing a two-minute ‘gay delay’ to avoid presenters landing in hot water over homophobic comments.
Broadcasting watchdog Ofcom has received 56 complaints about Ross’ comments to date. A spokesman said the complaints were currently being assessed but could not say whether an investigation would be carried out.
According to the Sun, a source said: “BBC bosses are fed up chewing their fingernails to the quick every Saturday, worried about what he’s going to say. By recording the show the day before they can edit out anything they reckon could cause offence.”
A friend of Ross said: “Jonathan is not happy about this at all. He feels he’s been bounced into it by people who just want to have a go at him. He feared this would happen. Now it’s a reality.”
The BBC denied Ross was angry about the move, saying last night: “Pre-recording Jonathan’s show enables us to ensure the programme is watertight in line with Compliance whilst attracting the best guests. It’s common practice to pre-record radio programmes and both Radio 2 and Jonathan are very happy with the plan.”
Last year, Ross was suspended from the BBC for three months after he and Russell Brand left obscene messages on the answerphone of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.
Although only two listeners complained to the BBC when the programme was broadcast, 30,000 members of the public complained after the story was picked up by the national media.