He was as witty as ever, but there was also a heartfelt apology among Jonathan Ross' cheeky jokes as he returned to his Friday night chat show after a three-month ban. The TV presenter - who originally indicated no apology for his part in the Andrew Sachs incident would be forthcoming on the programme – said he was sorry for "any hurt or distress" caused.
"Being on the BBC and being allowed this level of freedom to communicate openly with people is a great privilege and something I've always enjoyed," said Jonathan. "In future I intend to be more aware of the responsibility that comes with such a gift."
The 47-year-old received a rousing reception from the studio audience as he stepped onto the set with his opening gambit: "So where were we…?". And he didn't pass up the chance to make jokes at his own expense, responding to Tom Cruise's comment that he was too busy by quipping: "You should try getting banned."
Many commentators are already hailing his return to Friday Night With Jonathan Ross, which airs on BBC1 at 10.35pm, as a success. "He was a bit nervous, but that probably helped him," says a BBC insider. "He said he was sorry, then stormed the show."