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Aoife Finneran: Which side are you on in the great Wossy divorce?

It must be the slowest-ticking time bomb in history. It's 13 months since Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand became embroiled in the lewd phone message incident known as 'Sachsgate'. But it wasn't until yesterday that the whole sorry saga culminated in Ross's resignation from the BBC.

You either love or loathe this foul-mouthed Peter Pan of television. I'm loitering somewhere in the middle, drawn in by his quirky inability to pronounce his 'r's and his penchant for asking the most outrageous questions while being slightly nauseated by his preoccupation with publicly discussing his sex life.

That's the trouble -- he may be a TV god, but gorgeous he ain't, so visual images of Wossy in his birthday suit don't do viewers any favours.

Today, however, I'm hitching my wagon to the Wossy camp.

That's just how it works during a messy break-up, everybody takes sides. And while we're busy champion-ing our side, we're also wondering who dumped who? Will one want to get back with the other? Is one side already hogging the phone and making embarrassing pleas for reconciliation?

I think not. This is one of those rare occasions when the hatred was mutual. A station which habitually has its knickers in a twist about something or other, the BBC has behaved like a sancti-monious old aunt who hasn't forgiven the incorrigible Wossy for misbehaving.

After Sachsgate, they slapped him with a fine and a suspension yet he walked out of that particular dung pit three months later smelling of roses.

Headache

To top it off, he earns more than €6m a year, much to the disgust of licence fee payers and the BBC's stable of lesser paid stars. Now they've finally eliminated their main financial headache and obliterated their biggest PC problem.

The wounds are still raw today, but this is one break-up that was definitely for the best. The BBC smothered Wossy, forcing him to pre-record his radio show and crushing every remaining spark of the outrageous wit and Peter Pan exuberance that made him such a hit.

Now, he'll probably take his collection of lurid suits and shoes to the US, sign up to a station that doesn't want to crush his talent and become an even bigger star.

I'm guessing his BBC wages will soon look like chicken feed.

In any earth-shattering split, the supporting ranks are always ready to rush forth with tissues, comfort food and a shoulder to cry on. Wossy is already enjoying the online equivalent of that ritual thanks to the flood of Twitter messages gushing his way.

For my part, I'm going to hold off on the tea and sympathy.

Wossy has finally been unleashed from his shackles, and my guess is that he's about to soar, presumably dumping on his old employers while he's at it.

It may take a while for the station to realise its mistake, but trust me it'll rue the day it spurned its one true love.

Supportive pals, take the hint, and start sending the tissues to the BBC by the truckload.


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