Brand said he was “contrite” about the fallout from the Sachsgate controversy
The so-called Sachsgate controversy erupted because of a bias against the BBC, comedian Russell Brand has said.
Brand and fellow presenter Jonathan Ross caused a storm in 2008 when they broadcast lewd answerphone messages left for veteran actor Andrew Sachs.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs the incident was exploited by elements of the media seeking to “attack and diminish the BBC”.
He also said he hoped to marry again after his divorce last year.
‘Position of vulnerability’
The Sachsgate affair resulted in Brand and the controller of Radio 2 resigning, Ross being suspended from broadcasting for three months and a review being held into the way BBC output was vetted.
Brand told Desert Island Discs presenter Kirsty Young: “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.”
He claimed the thousands of people who complained were motivated by an agenda against publicly-funded media.
He said: “Listen, Kirsty, after the show there were two complaints. After it was in the Daily Mail there were subsequently 42,000 complaints.”
Brand added: “I’m sure their offence was genuine – it was wrong, and I apologise for that – but how the information is presented is important.”
He continued: “The thing I want to address here, the thing that 42,000 people were offended by is offensive. It is offensive if someone calls up an answerphone, does some swearing, hangs up.
“But if, incrementally, that act is led to by a series of innuendos and in-jokes, then it is a different thing. It is still a thing that is wrong, but it’s not the thing that they are offended by.”
Brand, who split from US singer Katy Perry last year, also revealed he had become weary of being a celebrity.
“I really, really embraced it at the beginning – I was excited by the accoutrements of fame, but now I’ve progressed, I feel,” he said.
“I was talking to some friends yesterday and I thought, ‘Oh my God, the things that I want are a wife, somewhere to live.’
“However extraordinary and exciting I might like to present myself as being, in the end, I’d just like to sit down and watch telly with someone and hold hands.”