Predictably, the furore regarding the prank calls made by laddish presenters Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand on BBC Radio 2 to actor Andrew Sachs, has been dubbed 'Sachsgate' by some elements of the media and blogosphere.
If you're not up to date with the story, google any of the people above or look at the front page of any tabloid newspaper. The target of the lewd phone calls was Andrew Sachs, best known for playing the put-upon waiter Manuel in Fawlty Towers, who is now (it seems hard to believe) 78 years old. BBC listeners and newspaper readers seem to be confusing Sachs with his character, and have jumped in their thousands to his defence, as viewers of Fawlty Towers always jumped to poor Manuel's defence during his altercations with Basil.
Words with '-gate' tagged on to the end, which denote a scandal, are examples of snowclones (which I mentioned recently). The original scandal which gave rise to the use of '-gate' was the Watergate scandal of 1972. Here are some British '-gate' scandals:
Lippygate - a 2003 scandal concerning Cherie Blair (see here). Sometimes called Cheriegate.
Betsygate - a 2002 scandal concerning the wife of the then leader of the Conservative Party, Iain Duncan Smith, who was on her husband's payroll.
Camillagate - a 1990s scandal when intimate phone calls between the Prince of Wales and his then lover Camilla were recorded.
Squidgygate - a scandal during the late 1980s when intimate phone calls between the Princess of Wales and her alleged lover James Gilbey were recorded. Squidgy was Gilbey's nickname for Diana.
Pizzagate - an incident in 2004 when someone threw a pizza at Sir Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, during an argument he was having with Arsène Wenger, manager of Arsenal.
Baftagate - a 1991 scandal at the BAFTA awards when Prime Suspect was declared the winning drama serial, but some of the jury said they'd voted for GBH. They asked to see the votes but the paperwork had been destroyed.