All programmes presented by Brand and Ross have been pulled from BBC radio and television. In a statement, BBC director general Mark Thompson said:
"I would like to add my own personal and unreserved apology to Andrew Sachs, his family and to licence fee payers for the completely unacceptable broadcast on BBC Radio 2.
"BBC audiences accept that, in comedy, performers attempt to push the line of taste. However, this is not a marginal case. It is clear from the views expressed by the public that this broadcast has caused severe offence and I share that view.
"Since Sunday, I have been in regular contact with the senior executives I tasked with handling this issue. The investigation that I instructed Tim Davie to conduct is nearing completion, and I am returning to London to review the findings and, in the coming days, announce what action we will take.
"In the meantime, I have decided that it is not appropriate for either Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross to continue broadcasting on the BBC until I have seen the full report of the actions of all concerned.
"This gross lapse of taste by the performers and the production team has angered licence payers. I am determined that we satisfy them that any lessons will be learnt and appropriate action taken. I have been asked to report to the Trust's Editorial Standards Committee before the end of this week and will discuss with the Trust the findings of the report and the actions I propose."
18,000 complaints have been lodged with the BBC about the October 18 edition of Brand's programme on Radio 2, during which a pre-recorded segment of Brand and Ross leaving expletive-laden messages on the voicemail of Sachs' mobile phone was broadcast.