Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon is suing ex lead-presenter Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC for racial discrimination and personal injury, it has emerged.
Lawyers representing Tymon and the BBC attended the Central London Employment Tribunal for a preliminary hearing about the legal action on Friday. Clarkson was not required to attend.
The case is likely to cost Clarkson more than the price of a cold steak, which is what sparked the ‘fracas’ between the two that lead to a ‘physical and verbal attack’ by Clarkson. Damages cases are said to be capped at £80,000, although the discrimination aspect could see that edge north of £100,000.
The BBC issued a statement: “We will be responding to this claim, but will not be commenting further at this time.” Tymon’s lawyers Slater & Gordon confirmed the case but declined to comment.
Following an internal investigation, BBC director general Tony Hall admitted Clarkson subjected Tymon to “a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature”.
A formal investigation was then launched, which lead to Tymon telling police he did not want to press charges. Slater & Gordon lawyer Paul Daniels said in a statement at the time:
“Mr Tymon has informed the police that he doesn’t want to press charges. The events of the last few weeks have been extremely unpleasant for everyone involved. The matter has taken a great toll on Oisin, his family and his friends.”
He added: “Quite simply, Mr Tymon just wishes to return now to the job at the BBC he loves, as soon as possible. Further, the BBC have, in his view, taken action with a view to addressing the issues at hand.”
Clarkson’s contract with the BBC was never renewed after the incident came to light. Co-stars Richard Hammond and James May subsuquently left the show before all joining together again alongside ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman to create a show for Amazon Prime.
Chris Evans is now the main host for Top Gear, alongside what is thought to be a ‘gang’ of presenters that includes at least one female, the most likely candidate being F1 and MotoGP star Suzi Perry.
Both the BBC and Amazon Prime shows will arrive in 2016.