Inside Sachsgate – the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross phone prank scandal

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Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross were publicly scrutinised for their behaviour during what has become known as Sachsgate, where they prank called Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs.

The actor, made famous for portraying Spanish waiter Manuel, sadly died of a secret four-year battle with dementia in 2016, spoke out two years prior on how he was “haunted” by the high-profile prank.

Back in 2008, Brand and Ross made headlines after leaving numerous vulgar messages on Sachs’ phone, including claims that Brand had sex with his granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

In an interview, Sachs talked more in-depth about the ordeal and the impact it had on his family.

He explained: “For all my family, the unpleasant incident that hit the headlines in October 2008 was hugely distressing,” he wrote.

“Their lewd banter was deeply hurtful for me, my wife, our daughter and our granddaughter. It not only caused pain but huge stress to the family.”

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After the pre-recorded radio show was aired, the actor made a complaint to the BBC which resulted in the channel receiving a £150,000 fine from Ofcom.

Brand resigned from the BBC and Ross was suspended for three months, admitting the comments were a “serious breach of editorial standards”.

Ross reportedly described the incident as “fun”, with Sachs later stating to the Daily Mail that it was “excruciating” for him and his loved ones.

He added: “To be honest, the whole Brand/Ross saga remains a painful experience that we’d very much like to put behind us. But it keeps resurfacing.”

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Sachs portrayed the lovable Manuel for two seasons but also had lesser-known roles in projects such as Revenge of the Pink Panther, Coronation Street and Spies of Warsaw.

Sadly, he died after a four-year battle with dementia, passing away at a care home in 2016, aged 86.

Before he died, Brand is believed to have written him a letter in 2014, apologising for the scandalous prank.

The 48-year-old said was “wholeheartedly” sorry for his actions and “this is not the man I want to be”.

Brand reportedly wrote: “I apologise for the distress, sadness and turbulence this has brought into your life. I apologise for the damage I have caused to your family relationships and for robbing you of your peace of mind. This behaviour and the consequences you have suffered as a result of my actions are unacceptable.

“This is not the man I want to be and I wholeheartedly apologise to you both.

“I am sorry too that it has taken so long for me to write to you expressing this sentiment to which the two of you are entitled… please do not hesitate to contact me… My sincere apologies for the hurt I have caused you and your family.”

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