The pair left the veteran actor explicit messages on his personal number, including references to the fact Russell had slept with the actor’s granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, and broadcast their efforts on Radio 2.
At the time, the stunt caused outrage and following the sad news of Andrew’s death, Melody has opened up about the “lasting effect” of it, admitting that it caused their family a great deal of stress.
She tells the Daily Mail: “There was no one who didn’t love him. He’d give his last penny to any cause that needed it.
Melody continues: “He was a sitting target for them with their filthy minds and cruel jibes and they knew that he’d never retaliate. They were right. My husband was a gentleman. He would never have stooped to their level.”
“No one will ever know how deeply we were hurt by it all. It made us all quite ill and the effect was lasting. It upset our daughter Kate and caused a rift with our granddaughter Georgina that took years to heal.
“When it all happened I was in hospital having a hip replacement; otherwise I’d have gone round to Ross and Brand’s houses and told them exactly what I thought. Both of us blamed Ross more than Brand.
After public outrage over the incident - and the fact it was broadcast on the radio - Russell resigned from the show, while Jonathan was suspended from presenting on the BBC for three months, and later left the broadcaster.
News of Andrew’s death broke last week, and a number of figures from the entertainment industry rushed to pay tribute to the ‘Fawlty Towers’ legend.
Andrew was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2012, and his condition deteriorated significantly in his final weeks.
At the time, Melody issued a statement which read: “We were happy, we were always laughing, we never had a dull moment. He had dementia for four years and we didn’t really notice it at first until the memory started going.
“It didn’t get really bad until quite near the end. I nursed Andrew, I was there for every moment of it.”