31 OCTOBER 2008

As the fallout from the furore surrounding the inappropriate messages he and Russell Brand left on the answerphone of Fawlty Towers' actor Andrew Sachs continues, it's been announced Jonathan Ross has been suspended for three months without pay.

The decision by Beeb bosses will cost the entertainer £1.4 million - around £16,000 a day - and mean the 47-year-old will no longer host next month's Royal Variety Performance. He will also miss several episodes of his Film 2008 programme and Radio 2 Saturday show, while the remainder of his latest series of his Friday night chat shows is now cancelled. A £60,000 deal to host the BAFTA awards next month has also fallen through.

Director General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, said Jonathan, who earns £6 million a year, should regard the suspension as a "final warning".

Russell, who resigned from his radio show following controversy surrounding the segment broadcast on his programme, has apparently decided to quit the UK for LA. While Channel 4 commitments are keeping the 33-year-old in the UK for now, a friend told The Sun that Russell "just wants to get on the next plane out of England – and get away from this mess".

The film Forgetting Sarah Marshall and the success of his presenting role at this year's MTV awards has boosted the British funnyman's profile Stateside of late.

Photo: ©
Although he'll still host the British Comedy Awards on ITV next month, Jonathan's BBC commitments have all been withdrawn. His three-year, £18-million contract with the Corporation is up for renewal next year Photo: © BBC
Photo: ©
Russell, who has resigned from his Radio 2 show, is reportedly keen to spend some time in the US Photo: © Getty Images