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Jonathan's return to radio 'a disgrace'

The return of Jonathan Ross to Radio 2 six years after the Sachsgate scandal has been branded "a disgrace" by a fellow BBC DJ.

Gordon Sparks wrote to the corporation's on-line magazine, Ariel, complaining about the plan to put Ross (right) back on air for a week of holiday cover for Steve Wright's programme.

The DJ, who hosts a show on BBC Radio Devon, said: "What a disgrace it is that Jonathan Ross is to return to Radio 2.

"Following Sachsgate six years ago, it is my opinion that neither he nor Russell Brand should have received any further remuneration from the BBC."

Mr Sparks, who is a familiar voice to Plymouth Argyle fans whose games he covers for the station, said the BBC "used to be the bearer of standards in the broadcasting industry".

He said: "One can only imagine the fuss that would be made if somebody at local level broke so many broadcasting regulations. They certainly wouldn't be employed."

Ross, who has an ITV chat show, left the station in controversy when he appeared on his friend Brand's show in 1998 and the pair were heard leaving lewd messages on the answerphone of Andrew Sachs.

It prompted 42,000 complaints and led to the departure of senior BBC figures, including the station's controller. Brand resigned and Ross was suspended.