Top Gear fans, these are sad times. Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC over a ‘fracas’ with a producer and the future of the show hangs in the balance.
But fear not, for Jeremy Clarkson is a mighty popular chap. Top Gear is watched by more than 350 million people in 214 countries around the world, and a recent petition to see him reinstated will undoubtedly hit one million signatures.
Suffice to say, if the BBC boots him or Clarkson leaves of his own accord, he will find a new home. But where, you ask, will that be? Just where the presenter and his acerbic wit end up?
On-demand television service Netflix has become known for reviving shows and has the sort of bold approach that would see Clarkson fit in well. It also already happens to be a place to catch up on Top Gear outside of Dave and its endless re-runs. Knowing just how popular Netflix is and the freedom it could afford, Clarkson would be a perfect fit, even if the viewing numbers would be lower.
ITV is trying to lure Clarkson away from the BBC with £10,000,000, according to the Daily Mail. A few years back jumping over to a rival broadcaster would have been unthinkable. But perhaps Clarkson is bored and his relationship with the BBC at an all-time low. The lure of money and less hassle from middle-management jobsworths could prove too hard to resist.
YouTube has an unmatched audience of billions globally and makes an absolute fortune. The video streaming website could, in theory, provide Clarkson with something approaching his £1.5million-plus presenter salary paid by the BBC. The downside is those without a computer in the living room might miss out, but reminding people there is entertainment outside of your television licence would be a kick in the nuts for the Beeb.
Put aside that dreadful thought of adverts interrupting shows. Top Gear on Sky would be better than seeing the show die. From a financial sense Sky has it covered, while the football-loving fan base it is often known for would have no qualms in switching over to a show that involves three men being, well, men. Sky’s motorsport coverage is great, too, which makes Sky a great destination for TopGear’s petrolheads.
Channel 5 may be known for being the resting place for Australian soap Neighbours, but its parent company Viacom International Media Networks is a powerhouse that reaches hundreds of millions of people across Europe via MTV, Comedy Central, VIVA and Nickelodeon to name a few. With an office in London and a huge potential worldwide reach, Channel 5 may not be such a mad idea after all.
But what about Dave?
Dave has tirelessly broadcasted Top Gear for as long as we care to remember. “He’s blokey, loud-mouthed and downright rude. No wonder we love him,” reads the description on its website. Men who are predominantly aged between16 and 34 years old are already happy to watch Top Gear on repeat until their eyes bleed. So why not a possibility? Dave’s owner, UKTV, is part-owned by BBC Worldwide, so this one’s very unlikely.
How about a return to the BBC?
The conspiracy theorist inside us wonders whether the cancellation threat was just a PR stunt and that the Beeb has no actual intention of taking the show off the air for the long term. Instead, it is merely riding a tidal wave of PR only Clarkson could generate that only reinforces the show’s popularity.
Want to see Top Gear go for good or are you hoping this will all blow over? Let us know.