Top Gear is dead. At least, it is in the capacity millions of fans worldwide have grown to love since the motoring show was reinvented by Jeremy Clarkson and executive producer Andy Wilman in 2002.
The BBC report we had all been waiting for has arrived – and with it comes the news the BBC will not be renewing the 54-year-old presenter’s contract.
It said the ‘fracas’ resulted in physical and a non-physical confrontation in a north Yorkshire hotel, which lead to BBC produced Oisin Tymon taking himself to Accident and Emergency to treat a busted lip – something Clarkson tried to apologise for on multiple occasions.
It is unclear exactly what happened at the hotel and whether it was an actual punch or a ‘handbags at dawn’ scenario with lots of arm flailing. What is clear, however, is the controversial man will no longer host the show he turned into a global powerhouse.
And on that bombshell, we decided to round up a very small portion of the reactions on the Internet.
James May gave a suitably James May answer, saying Clarkson is a bit of a “knob” but that he actually enjoyed working with him. More interesting though, is the hint the three presenters “come as a package”. In other words, is this Captain Slow’s way of saying all three presenters will walk? It certainly seems that way.
Richard ‘Hamster ‘Hammond left out the personal insults for his official comment on Clarkson’s sacking but echoed May in his sentiment about the show only working as a trio: “Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.”
Jezza has neglected to make an official statement. Instead, he adjusted his Twitter bio to say: “I used to be a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, Top Gear.” It originally said “I am a presenter” before he added in the word “probably” (which was actually spelt as “probbably” before the typo was noticed) when the BBC investigation began.
BBC director-general is a self-confessed fan of Clarkson, perhaps because of his ability to make lots of money for the British corporation. It is, therefore, unsurprising he acknowledged the ‘extraordinary’ contribution made to BBC and said he is “huge talent” (maybe that’s a subtle reference to Clarkson’s height of 6ft5?). But ultimately he had to make the decision he did.
One of the former Stigs on the show, Perry McCarthy, told the BBC: “Tony Hall was backed into a corner and was unable to make any other decision. If this had been kept confidential and investigated there would have been far more options available.
“At the moment we’ve lost Top Gear, Jeremy is off the BBC and the corporation probably suffers by about £100m a year. It needed to be investigated, but there was a brighter way to go about it.
He went on to say “there could have been damages [paid] to the producer, financial penalties to Jeremy, suspension or a cooling down period,” instead of what happened. He concluded: “The BBC may continue to try and push the franchise forward, but like him or loathe him, people tune in to Top Gear for Jeremy and the relationship the three boys bring on screen. That chemistry won’t exist anymore.”
Ex-Top Gear presenter Tiff Needell, who now presents the Channel 5 motoring show rival Fifth Gear, expressed his sadness in a Radio 5 Live interview.
“I feel sorry for the millions of fans that aren’t going to see Jeremy doing what he does best, which is cars on telly… I just feel there’s people within the BBC who wanted to get rid of him anyway.” He added: “It’s a sad day for Top Gear – he’s a larger than life character.”
Clarkson and Piers Morgan were never best of friends. “If he’d stuck to just punching me, he’d have been fine,” Morgan joked on Twitter, referencing a ten-year spat that was sparked by Morgan publishing a photo of Clarkson and a BBC producer in a compromising position.
In reality, the pair got utterly pole-axed in a Kensington pub for five hours, resulting in a mutual ceasefire. In a column written by Morgan, Clarkson reportedly said:
“I’m going through a difficult divorce, my first ex-wife has also came out of the woodwork to give me hell, I’m smoking too much, drinking too much, my back hurts, I’m all over the papers with this N-word scandal, I’m at war with my BBC bosses, and my mother has just died. I simply don’t have the energy for you any more.”
Tymon, who has endured a lot of unnecessary hate for his unfornate part in the ‘fracas’, was extremely mature about the whole thing: “I respect Lord Hall’s detailed findings and I am grateful to the BBC for their thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident, against a background of intense media interest and speculation.
“I’ve worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a programme I love. Over that time, Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.”
Former Conservative MP and author Louse Mensch was anything but pleased, citing how “pathetically wimpy” Britain has become. “When I was a kid two blokes would have taken it outside and brushed it off,” she added in a tweet.
Not to be left out, glamour model Rhian Sugden waded in: “Noooo as IF @JeremyClarkson has been sacked for being #hangry!!! Genuinely gutted!”
North Yorkshire police
It seems Clarkson could end up losing more than just his BBC gig. A report by Sky says the North Yorkshire Police has asked for the Beeb’s report and said action will be taken “where necessary”.
As the man responsible for starting the ‘reinstate Jeremy Clarkson’ petition, which reached one million signatures, Guido Fawkes is staying remarkably quiet. Or maybe he’s just doing the journalism thing and writing something on the subject.
Random people in London
It seems this random video report managed to only find people who love Clarkson. Coincidence or testament to how popular he really is outside the hate-filled world of Twitter? You can decide.
We’re amazed Frankie Boyle has managed to keep his job, given his Clarkson-esque tendency to fly as close to the sun as humanly possible. His witty retort was true to form: “Clarkson has no doubt got what he deserves: an £8 million pound contract from C4 to present a show called Immigrant Patrol from a submarine.”
Fleet Street Fox
“I wonder if @Mirror_Editor would praise me as a “huge talent” if forced to sack me for smacking people about. Probs not,” Mirror Online columnist Susan Boniface, aka Fleet Street Fox, tweeted, seemingly forgetting the fact Clarkson was responsible for one of Britain’s biggest exports.
“So BBC suits bring down another presenter, pity they missed Savile,” Sky News Tonight presenter Adam Boulton said, referencing the years of child abuse that occurred while Jimmy Savile was a BBC presenter.
Was the BBC right to sack Clarkson? Are millions of fans being punished unnecessarily or is workplace fighting unacceptable no matter who it is? Let us know.