THE Madrid government last night sprang to the defence of Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross hailing them as the new heroes of anti-Spanish racism.
Prime minister José Luis Zapatero said the assault on Andrew Sachs was 'measured' given the actor's portrayal of a halfwit Spaniard who thinks a rat is some kind of Siberian hamster.
Zapatero said Sachs, banned from entering Spain since 1976, was single-handedly responsible for the country's image as a nation of greasy-haired chimpanzees who have to have everything explained to them twice.
A spokesman for the Spanish embassy in London said: "We've been leaving dirty messages on his answerphone for years. And every Sunday we camp outside his house and chuck handfuls of paella at his front door."
Spain's biggest newspaper El Pais said: "Señors Ross and Brand are the champions of every waiter who has ever served a table of drunken English tourists who find it amusing to answer all of his questions with 'Qué?' until one of them finally comes out with 'I'm so sorry, he's from Barcelona'."
Meanwhile, the BBC has offered Brand's £200,000 salary to the Treasury to help pay down the jaw-droppingly out-of-control national debt that everyone seems to think is irrelevant compared to some swear words on an answering machine.
And although Jonathan Ross will keep his job, he was last night told to apologise 18 million times over the next three years.
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson said last night: "Jonathan is very sorry and hopes this will go some way to making up for any distress he may have caused. But he remains a valuable part of the BBC and I look forward to threatening you all with jail in order to pay his multi-million pound salary."