Although Russell Brand has stopped producing his YouTube series The Trews after tiring of being in the spotlight, fans of the comedian-turned-revolutionary can now get their fill in the new documentary Brand: A Second Coming.
While the film, which is directed by Ondi Timoner, was originally supported by Brand, he later got cold feet on viewing a first cut. After asking for changes — and saying that he would try and prevent the film’s release — he went on to distance himself from the project by boycotting the film’s premiere.
So what was it in the film that caused Brand to perform a U-turn? Well aside from disclosures about his colourful love life, it appears to be none other than Peter Hitchens who gave Brand the biggest headache. Writing for the Daily Mail, Timoner says that Brand asked her to take out a scene from the film featuring Peter Hitchens, to which she refused:
He also insisted that I take out a scene where he is clearly very disturbed on Newsnight when The Mail on Sunday’s Peter Hitchens angrily suggests it is inappropriate to have a comedian speaking on drug policy.
Russell was uncomfortable with this and many other scenes in which he appears in any way vulnerable. When he watched the first final cut of the film, he called me and his voice sounded like a rubber band that was about to snap.
During the mentioned exchange, Hitchens let rip at the BBC for including Brand in the debate:
PH: Why is a comedian being given a programme on the BBC to push a policy about drugs? Why is our debate about drugs so debased that this is the kind of thing we are reduced to?
RB: Peter, why are you so angry? What happened to you mate?
PH: I’m angry because many, many young people in this country are being betrayed by a feeble government.
Still, Mr S suspects that Brand actually came off lightly in the BBC exchange. After all, Hitchens has gone on to question whether Brand can even now be called a comedian, describing him in a blog after the incident as a mere ‘alleged comedian’.