BBC removes Russell Brand programmes deemed to ‘fall below public expectations’

The BBC has removed some programmes featuring Russell Brand that it has deemed to “fall below public expectations”.

Certain shows have been taken down from the corporation’s iPlayer and Sounds sites, following allegations of sexual assault against the presenter.

The comedian, 48, has been accused of rape, sexual assault and emotional abuse by four women, with the alleged incidents taking place between 2006 and 2013. At the time, Brand was at the height of his fame in the UK and was working as a presenter for BBC Radio 2 and Channel 4.

Brand has vehemently denied the allegations in a video released before the report by The Times, The Sunday Times and Channel 4’s Dispatches was made public, saying that his relationships have been “absolutely always consensual”.

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A spokesperson for the BBC press office said: “The BBC does not ban or remove content when it is a matter of public record, unless we have justification for doing so.

“There is limited content featuring Russell Brand on iPlayer and Sounds.

“We’ve reviewed that content and made a considered decision to remove some of it, having assessed that it now falls below public expectations.”

It is understood that an episode of QI and a Joe Wicks podcast, both of which featured Brand as a guest, have been wiped.

On the Wicks podcast, Brand – who has had treatment for sex addiction – talked about his issues and described his life as “defined by acting out on addictions”.

Russell Brand (PA Archive)
Russell Brand (PA Archive)

He said: “Drug addictions, behavioural addictions, dominated my life. And then getting off them…

“On an average day, I get up, I do what I’ve got to do with my kids and my family, I meditate, then I talk to other people with addiction issues who have got less time clean and sober than me. Then I talk to people with more time [clean and sober] than me, to tell them if I’ve got any issues going on. Addiction is governing me.”

The Independent has contacted the BBC for further information on which programmes have been taken down. Brand’s representatives have also been contacted for comment.

Earlier this week, Channel 4 removed a number of TV episodes starring Brand from its catch-up platform, including Big Brother’s Big Mouth – which he hosted – and The Great Celebrity Bake Off, which he won.

The remaining shows on Brand’s Bipolarisation tour have also been postponed as the Metropolitan Police said it has received a new report of an alleged sexual assault in 2003.

The BBC, Channel 4 and Banijay UK, which bought Endemol, the company commissioned by Channel 4 to produce the Big Brother spin-off shows Brand hosted, have all launched investigations into his behaviour while he was working on their programmes.

Brand has also been dropped by his agents at Tavistock Wood.

In a statement, the agency confirmed that they had been contacted about Brand’s alleged behaviour in 2020, which he had denied.

“Russell Brand categorically and vehemently denied the allegation made in 2020, but we now believe we were horribly misled by him,” they said.

“TW has terminated all professional ties to Brand.”

And Brand’s publisher, Bluebird, has paused work with the comedian. His new self-help book was supposed to be released by the publishing house this coming December.