Russell Brand has argued the British print media saw the scandal involving his and Jonathan Ross' prank voicemails as an opportunity to boost sales.

More than 37,000 complaints were received by the BBC last month after the pair left offensive voicemails on the answerphone of veteran actor Andrew Sachs.

Ross was suspended for three months without pay while Brand resigned, along with Radio 2 controller Lesley Douglas and Radio 2's head of specialist music and compliance David Barber.

The original broadcast on October 18th received only two complaints but after the incident was publicised by the Mail on Sunday newspaper, thousands of people complained while the affair was commented upon in parliament.

And speaking to MTV, Brand, 33, attacked the media furore that erupted over the lewd voicemails.

"I don't think anything could be worth the amount of press it's gotten. I think the privately owned media used it as a way to try to destroy the publicly-funded BBC," he said.

"Print media is dying because people get their news online now, so newspapers have to enhance their identity through opinion and comment and campaigning.

"This was a good opportunity for them to do that. It was regrettable. I apologised for it, but the ensuing publicity was just about selling newspapers."

The comedian and actor also said the row was unlikely to change his performance style.

"It literally made no difference to the way I view the world. I did a thing that was naughty. I apologised for it. What happens after that, other people can speculate about."

A BBC Trust report on the controversy last week declared the incident grossly offensive and impossible to justify.

25/11/2008 09:38:54