Jeremy Clarkson has been in the news again lately, after he was suspended by the BBC following a “fracas” with one of Top Gear’s producers. Things aren’t looking too good for him right now, with the final few episodes of the current season of Top Gear being pulled from the air. Clarkson and controversy have always seemed to go hand in hand, but could this be the final straw for the dad jeans wearing, political correctness shunning presenter we love to hate?
According to sources in the BBC, Clarkson was finishing up filming a segment for the show and found that there had been no hot food prepared for himself and the team. Allegedly, this caused him to see red and punch producer Oisin Tymon, who he blamed for the lack of dinner.
If this was the only red mark on his ledger, you might be forgiven for thinking this is an extreme response, but good old Jezza has been causing issues for quite some years. The following is a list of just some of the controversy he has been involved with over recent years.
– October 2014 – The show’s stars and crew had to abandon filming in Argentina amid angry protests over a car number plate that appears to refer to the Falklands War.
– July 2014 – Ofcom ruled a Burma Special in which Jeremy Clarkson used a racial slur broke broadcasting rules. Clarkson had used the word “slope” as an Asian man crossed a newly built bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.
– May 2014 – The programme drew complaints when video footage leaked to the Daily Mirror appeared to show Jeremy Clarkson using a racist term while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe. The presenter later apologised for the incident – which was never broadcast – in a video statement where he “begged forgiveness”.
– October 2012 – The BBC Trust ruled comments by Clarkson which likened the design of a camper van to people with facial disfigurements breached disability guidelines.
– January 2012 – Indian diplomats complained about a 90-minute India special in which a car fitted with a toilet in its boot is described by Clarkson as “perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.”
– February 2011 – The BBC apologised to Mexico after Clarkson and his co-hosts characterised Mexicans as “lazy” and “feckless”.
Through all of these controversies, Clarkson never seemed too remorseful. He would occasionally issue a half hearted apology, but it was as if he knew he was safe and that the BBC would always take him back. Probably because Top Gear is a major cash cow for the BBC, bringing in ridiculous viewing figures, both here and around the world. Apparently he isn’t familiar with the phrase “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” though, and may finally be getting his comeuppance.
Or not, if his incredibly loyal, die hard fans have anything to do about it. Not long after his suspension was announced, a petition was started to reinstate him, and has so far gained over 350,000 signatures. Maybe the BBC will listen to this, maybe not.
The thing is, if the BBC does kick him out for good, I don’t think he’ll really be in too much trouble then. Other TV channels aren’t stupid, and there are plenty that would be chomping at the bit to snap him up. There have been rumours knocking around that Sky, amongst other channels, have been chasing him, James May and Richard Hammond for some time now. If he has nothing holding him to the BBC, there’s no reason he couldn’t go elsewhere, and continue to make insane amounts of money for doing pretty much the same thing your dad has been doing for years – wearing ridiculous clothes, talking about cars and generally offending people.
BBC own the rights to Top Gear and could just replace Clarkson, but I can’t see who they could possibly find to successfully fill his dusty old clown shoes. While people do enjoy the show for what it is, there is no denying that Jezza and his band of merry men are the main attraction. You can rest assured that wherever he goes, his fans will follow, like children following the Pied Piper to their inevitable doom.
Whatever happens, it’s safe to say this isn’t the last we’ll be hearing from Jeremy Clarkson. He’s like a huge, greying cockroach, he can survive pretty much anything. But only time will tell, I guess. Watch this space.