Blog : Clarkson – has he really done it this time?

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Mike Humble

What is to become of these three? Who knows but the BBC pulling the last remaining shows from air does not bode well. Image: BBC
What is to become of these three? Who knows, but the BBC pulling the last remaining shows from air does not bode well for the future of the world famous Top Gear brand. Image: BBC

Jeremy Clarkson, what are we going to do? Usually, when Doncaster’s finest bigmouth says something out of turn or controversial, he gets a smack on the bum and told to be a good boy in future. This time, I feel he is really sitting on a knife edge and the BBC publicity machine has not spewed this story out in the hope of even more viewers and DVD sales – I really believe he’s in trouble this time. But will this be the undoing of Jezza? I doubt that very much.

Like him or loath him, the man is an incredibly talented writer and TV presenter who has become a celebrity on a truly global level. Rather than continue working as a mobile salesman for his parents’ soft toy business, he started at the bottom as a hack writing for local newspapers. It’s not like today where you start a blog site on the Internet for free and hopefully get spotted (ahem) which leads onto maybe bigger and better things. He worked on his craft, persevered long and hard, honed his style and made it into the big time.

It’s rather like being a comedian, take Bernard Manning, for example – here was a man who, on face value, was one of the most famous homophobic, racist and blasphemous men that ever had a spotlight shone upon them. Yet everyone who personally knew him after the audience went home or when the red light went out on the camera regarded him to be a placid, generous and tolerant fellow. Bernard Manning the comedian or Jeremy Clarkson the outspoken presenter are both two different people… in other words, it’s all for effect.

Controversy sells and Clarkson is just as much a brand as he is a clever bloke who has great skill and ability to create a hilarious analogy. He is expected to be brash, to the point and mildly offensive because it’s us, the TV viewers, who wait expectantly for the next quip to make us cringe. He’s noted what works and what doesn’t but, before you point the finger at me for seemingly defending him, remember this: a huge proportion of the spoken word is scripted and edited for human consumption on his behalf. Could he partly be viewed as a scapegoat perhaps?

So, what about the man? Well, I have met him twice over the years and latterly had the opportunity to chat over a cigarette and a coffee outside a café in Surrey. We spoke about things in general and he remarked that he had seen and heard of the road test I did with an electric 7.5 tonne truck from another motoring Journalist, Mike Rutherford. He was complimentary and seemingly fascinated about my battery-operated caper and not once came over as the rude and arrogant man so many people claim he is. As is always the case, take what you read or hear second-hand with a pinch of salt.

Clarkson in a thoughtful pose. Opinionated, outspoken and not always politically correct - but a talented man who knows how to get people talking. Image: BBC
Clarkson in a thoughtful pose. Opinionated, outspoken and not always politically correct – but a talented man who knows how to get people talking. Image: BBC

Clarkson’s public persona is like a comedian’s act or an actor’s style, you try and try noting what doesn’t go down well with the public until you hit the spot where your material or presentation is well received. It’s a finely tuned, well-rehearsed case of “take out of this what you will” and I’ll tell you something for free… it’s bloody hard work for Clarkson and his scriptwriters. But before I extol any further, I am not defending his actions because, at the time of writing, none of us know whether and, if so, why he actually took a swing at a BBC Producer. He may have been provoked or it may have been a clash of personalities.

Whatever the case maybe, there comes a point where authority and fair play has to come into effect for all parties. The BBC have pulled rank and reserves the right to do so for whatever reason it sees fit. Irrespective of the show being one of the most watched on the TV, selling the format onto other countries of the world, regardless of the money it brings in or the number of DVDs that fly out of every shop around Christmas time – someone has to say stop. But, if the road has ended for Top Gear or Jeremy Clarkson on BBC2, it will be a massive shame.

Top Gear itself isn’t really a motoring programme like it used to be but I shake my head and tut when I hear cries of “bring back the old format”. Those days are over and, to be fair, the viewing public were switching off in droves. I’ve watched it almost like a ritual since the early ’80s. But, as I grew older into my adolescent years when I wanted wheel spin and power and stupidity, Top Gear continued to give us presenters dressed like your Geography teacher who boringly expanded on topics such as direct diesel injection or catalytic convertors.

It was only when the first dream team of Jezza, Quent, Tiff and Vicky developed that the show became a real hit. Clarkson and co. picked the show from off the floor and dragged it screaming, kicking and power sliding into the eventual entertainment spectacle it is today with Hammond and May. Jeremy’s unique style of outspokenness and shooting straight form the lip was always bound to cause controversy, but it made people watch and it made the suits at the motor manufacturers think a little harder about what their products should be.

The race to the north episode with JC on the footplate of the locomotive Tornado was one of the best episodes I ever watched. When it involves a personal interest, he does it brilliantly with passion and flair.
The race to the north Top Gear episode with JC on the footplate of the locomotive Tornado was one of the best episodes I ever watched. When it involves a personal interest, he does it brilliantly with passion and flair

His former colleague Quentin Willson once summed up the typical Top Gear viewer by stating that boot space and rear headroom was irrelevant, all their viewers wanted to know was: A – How fast? B – How much? And C – If can you pull in it. That formula works incredibly well and remains true to the core of any petrolhead regardless of race or gender. Top Gear is best explained by being an hour of escapism from a stiflingly politically correct world – secretly admit to yourself that three good mates and three crap cars being dragged across a third world continent sounds like just the kind of fun that would you do in a heart beat if you could simply drop everything and run?

And that is what I will miss if JC gets the heave-ho. The gel, chemistry and on screen camaraderie is wonderful to watch and sometimes even threatens to produce a moist eye now and again in our household. It’s not a motoring show, it’s an hour’s worth of three daft blokes winding each other up getting into the kind of japes and scrapes that other petrol-headed men and women secretly hanker for. It might be the end of Top Gear as it stands at the moment, but I doubt very much to it being the end of their careers.

Maybe only the start of something new…

 

Mike Humble

Upon leaving school, Mike was destined to work on the Railway but cars were his first love. An apprenticeship in a large family Ford dealer was his first forray into the dark and seedy world of the motor trade.

Moving on to Rover and then PSV / HGV, he has circumnavigated most departments of dealerships including parts, service and latterly - the showroom. Mike has owned all sorts of rubbish from Lada to Leyland and also holds both Heavy Goods & Public Service Vehicle licences, he buys & sells buses and coaches during the week. Mike runs his own automotive web site and writes for a number of motoring or commercial vehicle themed publications

77 Comments

  1. I want a Top Gear, like it was on TV 25 years ago (correct and informative)and not a Top Gear with three clown wich will destroy erverything which gets in their hands!
    I hope BBC will cancel that horrible programm and send these three clowns with a oneway ticket to the outback!

    • Old Top Gear was great, but the science/engineering content was pretty heavy. These days it would be branded as Horizon and shown on BBC Four. New Top Gear should go on Sky One – no political correctness to get in the way, and plenty of budget to throw at presenting talent.

      • Much as I like Top Gear I do fume when anything mildly technical is dismissed as boring or uninteresting. If it wasn’t for Science and Engineering there would be no cars for this motley crew of Journalists and Media Studies Graduates to drive – or a means to transmit their increasingly inane ramblings.

        • The earlier format was good at explaining some technical advances in simple terms but made them interesting at the same time. I remember a feature on 4×4 cars which went into detail about viscous couplings & how it allows the drive to be shared between all 4 wheels.

  2. Interesting : it is apparently not now suggested that there was any physical violence . I find the programmes rubbish and only watchable if there is absolutely nothing else on . Nonetheless, it sounds like yet another fuss about nothing , and the only losers will be the BBC for which read all of us as licence payers . I have never come across the man, but one of my sons has two of his former cars ( the Lamborghini Galliardo Spyder and the Ford GT ) and seemed to have no problems with him

    • I have heard the same – apparently witnessed by a family also staying at the hotel. Lots of shouting and swearing but no physical violence.

      This is a storm in a teacup, like a number of these things have been, and why everyone is so po-faced about things you can hear or see in most high streets or pubs up and down the country is beyond me. It is an entertainment programme, and is very entertaining to a lot of people worldwide. Accept that he is an outspoken presenter, saying and doing things often for effect and move on.

      Shame about this Sunday as well – MG BGT featured I believe.

  3. Jeremey Clarkson is an employee who, allegedly, either verbally abused and/or physically assualted a colleague. In any workplace this would be grounds for suspension and an investigation. His fame, notoriety and earnings potential for the BBC are irrelevant in this context, as is the purile “It’s just Jeremey being Jeremey” argument. Regarding his borderline racist and homophobic “banter”, he may or may not hold these prejudices, but he gives tacit approval to those who do. Likewise, Bernard Manning may have been a very different character off stage, but he made a good living by articulating overtly racist and homophobic attitudes as ” humour”.

  4. Great article, I have exactly the same opinion about Top Gear. Of course sometimes they do stupid things, but that’s what make the show brilliant. If I wanted to know about the boot space of a car I would read a car magazine. On TV, it makes all the sense that TG talks about different things.
    I think it will very hard to end with TG. It generates 150 million £ and sells magazines in a lot of different languages.
    All we can do is wait and see what happens.

  5. TG has long since ceased to be a motoring show and simply become an exercise in giving Clarkson’s ego the sloppiest BJ his two gimp chums and the producers could muster.

    It jumped the shark long ago and it’s about time it was put out to pasture.

  6. p.s.

    if anyone is suffering withdrawal symptoms this Sunday without their fix of the show, just pop along to a car showroom with some UKIPPERS and you’ll get a similar result.

  7. A tired format aimed at adolescent youth and those that hanker after a supercar they will never afford. The three of them are as bad as each other and I’m sure that the BBC’s insurance liability for the ‘accidents’ that are unscreened are huge. It’s a promotion of all that is bad in today’s driving scene – excessive speed, lack of consideration for others – the list goes on.

    Best thing that could happen is for the BBC to pull the plug permanently on this puerile show and replace it with a more informative and up to date show.

    Ye reap what ye shall sow!

  8. Thanks, Mike for an excellent summary of why TG is so successful globally and why so many people watch every programme. Clarkson himself has said that it is not a car programme, it is an entertainment programme which happens to be about cars. Of course it is tyre-smoking, exhaust-growling escapism; given a choice of bedroom posters, how many of our younger selves would have chosen a Rover 45 and how many a Ferrari or Aston Martin?
    I was fortunate enough to be at a recent recording and can vouch for the fact that the three presenters have a wonderful time making it. Their enthusiasm and rapport is obvious and is one of the main reasons for the programme’s success.
    Could TG survive without Jezza? Probably for just one series, which people would say was “Not as good as it used to be”. What this episode proves is that Clarkson is someone who splits opinion down the middle in a love-him-or-hate-him, Marmite way. His detractors have been circling him for years waiting for every slip up, hence the loud cries for his head before the full facts of the case are made public. If he hit someone he may have to go, but it is not a crime to be a boorish opinionated loudmouth.

    • I have to completely agree with you. Clarkson and the other presenters are just petrolheads like us, despite of all their criticism about some brands. So, why am I seeing here so much critics?

  9. Is it a stunt to give what is now a very tired and predictable show some free publicity?
    I too recall the original Top Gear, Noel Edmonds etc, here is the 1984 Toyota Corolla this is the size of the boot…. mpg is …, The modern Top Gear, if you gave seen one , you have seen them all, James May is the most likeable of the trinity, but I rarely bother to watch the show and when I hear work collegues recounting the latest Top Gear stunt, it is cringe cringe cringe until I can invent an excuse to vanish oit of ear range

  10. Couple of things:
    I like Clarkson, I would even say, since I’m just 21, that it was Top Gear which made me interested in cars. I remember the shere excitement, when a new season was starting… Ehh, good old times 🙂
    I understand, why some people don’t like Mr Clarkson, I am far from agreeing with everything he says myself, but basically he does have some really “full-of-common-sense” style and I like him for it.
    As for Top Gear itself: I agree it’s fine they changed their style. I have seen some old episodes from 1980s on YouTube and I DO UNDERSTAND there IS a place for a source of say… less “spectacular” news for people, who actually have some interest in cars, not just enjoy watching an Aston going sideways on Sunday evening (which is fine too, make no doubt) and this place is these days more and more on the internet, rather than TV. It’s just a fact. But I have to say, even the most hard-core petrolhead would be bored to death after some materials they used to show in the 80s. It’s not even the form of it, but the content. I mean, there was a piece, in which they were talking about new ways of stopping the water splashing from under the wheels of trucks on motorways. Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8M0H7xw6jSY
    I can’t think of a person, who would like to watch this. I’m not even saying it is not a material for a world-beating show,that’s sort of obvious, but It’s not even interesting for some most dedicated car enthusiasts.
    I have no problem with Top Gear being a typical show. Yes, the recent episodes really are becoming childish with some, to say the least, not exactly “high-brow” humour, but it is still a joy to watch and has been all the way from 2002. So stop complaining, for pit’s sake, about this “not being the good old TG”. There are plenty of sources of more… ekhm… boring informations, the pre-Clarkson Top Gear used to be. In other words there are other “old Top Gears” around. If you don’t like the actual TG in today’s format, don’t watch it.
    And one question: Is it just me, or is actually most of what Clarkson says not any real insult, but just a kind of humour and jokes that, because of its “repartee style” (being so much better than some bland, dull, politically correct mash we have to deal with so often these days) and people are really just hysterical in the modern world, labeling everything as, at the very best, “controversial” or (that’s the most irritating one) “rasist”?
    P.S. Sorry for such a long comment and all the mistakes I made in the text, English is not my native language 😉

  11. Oh, and one more thing: show me another programme or a channel on YouTube or anything similar about cars that can criticise a trillion pund supercar the way they can. They became independent from car makers lobby thanks to their success. And that’s something I will miss, when they will disappear. Most of the car “journalists” will, sorry for putting it this way, get an erection just thinking about driving a Ferrari. Where’s they, with all their experience with all different sorts of machines, will be able to actually have an OPINION on it. An independent one. And this is what I really like and always liked about TG.

  12. If he’s got to a go a move towards the original format would be good, a mix of what’s going on in the motoring world with some features on oldies & some of the quirkier stuff like the more unsual racing catagories, oddball customs etc.

  13. Perhaps a suspension from duties is in order, as with Jonathan Woss?
    I enjoyed the episode with the steam train, and considered taking a tape of it for my friends living in Asia to watch; but then realized how embarrasing it would be for all parties for me to explain the meaning of the swear words. Enjoyed all over the world? Perhaps not everywhere.
    The show is a massive commercial success because it aims at the lowest common denominator. I’m not sure that that’s a recommendation, other than in pure financial terms.

  14. I think one way or another he will still be around but probably not with the BBC. I also do wonder….that lets say he was sacked, and he started up another show (he probably could afford to if he wanted or some other TV company might bank roll it) and lets say both Hammond and May went with him, I think it would put the BBCTOPGEAR in a spot of bother. AS for the offensive aspects, my personal opinion is that they are being a little picky, and I think that that stuff should be edited out if that is what is needed (I would say that is the BBCs job and not exactly Clarksons fault on his own. The business of the N word should never have been made public. but it wasn’t that long ago when it was a very common rhyme (even though it was inappropriate). At the end of the day millions of viewers are ‘choosing’ to watch TOPGEAR as it is. if you don’t like it…don’t watch it. alex

  15. That was a great write up.

    I’ve enjoyed a lot of the show, but watched it less and less as the format and the antics became, bit by bit, more predictable and tired.

    JC should have moved on by choice about 5 years ago and done something fresh and interesting by his own choice.

  16. I think Clarkson would sit much more comfortably away from the BBC. Clarkson is a free-thinker and actually very liberal, why persist with broadcasting through an organisation which is stuck in a destructive cycle of 1970s socialism?

  17. I think the format is getting tired/repetitive – maybe a new experienced presenter like Jason Plato or even Suzi Perry would take it forward and work well with James and Richard with less overt bullying.

  18. Old Top Gear and new Top Gear are two different things. The original was a factual motoring programme aimed at your everyday motorist. The Clarkson show is a piece of light entertainment with great popularity. We could have both – First Gear and Second Gear perhaps ?!

    I’m sure Clarkson won’t be off the scene for long…

  19. It interesting to see how many people (not just here) can’t stand the programme and hate the presenters and bemoan the lack of intelligent content….and yet speak with a great deal of authority about it. I guess they watch it every week to re-confirm their dislike of it.

    • K.C wins a virtual pint!

      Indeed, the same old people watch it week in and week out only to moan whine and whinge about the show.

      I questioned someone about this only the other week who said “well… I have my right to my own opinion don’t I?” he said.

      Maybe love… but not every bloody week eh?

      If you don’t like it and if you have SKY* – you have 300+ channels to float your boat… that’s what I do!

      *Other televisual broadcasting companies are available.

  20. My boys, 13 & 10 love it, and the weekly catch up on a saturday afternoon is their telly highlight (except for Dr Who). They have been rolling around this series (the ambulance episode a classic). Totally disagree it is tired and as someone has already said turn it off if you don’t like it. I was interested to hear the Radio5 presenter this morning say her kids would be upset (14, 10 & 7 I think) if pulled. Perhaps that sums up the show. It is entertainment and actually family entertainment and appeals at many (predominantly male) levels! However, if we find out what really happened, striking colleagues at work is unforgivable. If I did that even 25 years ago at work I would have been sacked, no question. Old Top Gear to me means William Woollard / Chris Goffey. If he goes it is destined for immediate decline, he is the show with the other two characters, but then he should have controlled himself.

  21. I think the reaction for the “Guardian” types is ludricous. You would imagine he was some kind of third world dictator or serial killer, based on what some writers say.

    Yes it is an act, but one that has grown a bit tired. Topgear’s success is more than just May, Clarkson, and Hammond. Look at the quality of the cinematography, it is truely first rate.

    The problem is, they have run out ideas, it has always been scripted and planned. With BBC health and safety, how could it not. However now it feels overscripted, that there must be at least 5 outrageous incidents a minute.

    It wouldn’t be a great loss if Topgear finished, and the team went on to do other things.

  22. Jeremy is a nice guy, and if the interview with James May is anything to goe by not exactly much happened. However until we find out the truth we cannot be certain – if he did strike the producer then he should go – anybody else would in the workplace.

    Top Gear is an hour of sillyness, but it is an escapism from the real world. Thats why it has sold in so many countries around the world. However the current series has been a bit hit and miss – the Pug story was sort of true but they took it way beyond its funny point. The same with Hammond up a mountain. If it is to go on I think it needs some new writers – maybe Andy Wilman needs to move on and let some fresh talent come in.

  23. If he goes it will be a massive blow for the German car Industry.

    Of course we love the program but it needs to up its game and be great all of the time.

  24. If you don’t like Top Gear, there’s always entertainment on ITV that usually features Phil Schofield pratting around or z list celebrities in a rehash of Family Fortunes, or fifties midwives on BBC One. TG does well because it offers escapist entertainment to what’s on the two main channels and actually at times has rated better than Eastenders. This series has been a bit tired, but for years TG has been the only entertainment show I’d watch on a Sunday.

    Also would anyone really watch a show now with William Woollard discussing the latest Dacia Sandero and fuel efficiency in hybrid cars?

  25. Glenn well said. The trio of presenters are true petrol heads and great entertainers. I am sure their opinions on new models are eagerly awaited by manufacturers (excepting Peugeot). As a viewer/potential buyer you get a brief no holds barred opinion. If you want to know more buy Autocar/Car.
    What other programme gives you a chance to see how a super car performs on the limits? Usually driven by Jezzer. All great fantasy stuff.
    Some of the features are the funniest moments on TV. The Christmas specials always eagerly awaited.
    I hope it is not the end of the line.

    • Well put!
      I remember original top gear with Wooly Willy, Tony Mason et all. I loved it. I really believe there is a market for a sensible factual car programme about cars that normal people own, buy and desire. There is no shortage of programmes about exotica that is nice to look at but totally irrelevant to the 99%+ of the population that will never have one.
      Top Gear in its current format is trashy, banal but hugely enjoyable entertainment. as much as it is cringeworthy and daft I too never miss an episode.
      BBC needs to think very carefully what it does next, Clarkson is the goose that lays the golden egg for them. I truly believe he is bigger than BBC2, he could go anywhere, to any network and be a success.
      Outspoken, offensive and opinionated, sometimes we need a bit of that in this madly PC world!

  26. OK ive just been watching the topgear ambulances. it was so funny the whole family was wetting themselves. conclusion Topgear is also good for your health!! alex

  27. Alex – the ambulances was the best bit of the current series. It wasn’t original but it was well written. Let’s hope if it does return they try fire engines!

  28. It is incredible that they have got away with the same program for so long; any other series would have been axed after the third series. Americans seem to like continuous reanactment of the previous show in different clothes and get it with Top Gear; it’s a shame the BBC feels the need to show the program over here, rather than just taking the mony from America and keeping quiet of it’s shame.

    I have never seen anything in the media questioning whether Clarkson was actually responsible for any of the news-grabbing events. It seems far more lokely to me that they were dreampt up by a child in BBc publicity to get cheap publicity for a weak programme format. The issue with the car in Argentina seemed particularly unlikely to have generated any notice at all by Argentinians and I find it highly improbable that Clarkson actually has any influence on what cars he is paid to sit in; I expect the car was bought by a props buyer and the story concocted to gain publicity. Similarly this latest non-event.

  29. You know I feel I am the only one who is split on this subject. Sometimes I think oh FFS shut up. and yet most of the time I do enjoy the show. There is little content it is just entertainment .
    For example the last programme about with the review on the Jaguar. Yes the V8 is noisy, but is that the only real reason to have a V6 version. Because that is the only thing to come out of it.
    However they recently “attacked” Peugeot, in the same way they used to Rovers. I now drive a Pug. I use to be a BMC-BL-Rover man and just changed my car for a Peugeot. God I must be TG worse nightmare. (or maybe they are mine?)

  30. @ Ian, I have owned two cars Clarkson despises, a Proton MPi and a Nissan Micra. Surprisingly for cars he thinks are so bad, both never failed to start, rarely went wrong and were cheap to run. I wonder how practical some 200 mph supercar with 10 mpg fuel consumption would be on a stop start commute.

    However, would we really want to watch a show that featured the merits of a Nissan Micra, when we want to see Clarkson doing 160 mph in a £ 200,000 supercar and the team driving a Land Rover to Vladivostok. This is what makes Top Gear a success, plus its un PC attitude is refreshing compared with the totally unfunny, PC comedians that appear on Live at the Apollo.

      • In 1994 Top Gear, including Clarkson, subjected the 10 best selling small hatchbacks to their their typical brand of humilation and scathing assessment, they picked the newly launched Sunderland built Nissan Micra K11 16valve as the best car of the bunch, You Can In A Nissan as Clarkson echoed the current Nissan ad line. For once he was right, The Micra was a nice car and fuyn to own and drive, not the typical biscuit tin with 4 wheels such as the Corsa and Fiesta.

        • yeah but I want to watch silly humour with supercars, and other nonsense (EG topgear as it is now). it cheers me up no end…nothing like a good laugh…thanks. alex

  31. Old Top Gear was great but had a limited audience. In the late nineties the BBC felt it couldn’t justify its own existence on the numbers it was getting and canned it, perhaps unnecessarily.

    New Top Gear was initially a very refreshing change and offered a compelling blend of car related content with natural humour and camaraderie from the relationship between Clarkson, Hammond and May. For at least five series this format worked.

    At some point around five or six years ago perhaps, things started to get sloppy and a decision was taken to pander to the lowest common denominator/adolescent male market. Hence the move away from car related content towards relentless cocking about and forced humour. Many viewers such as myself no doubt tuned out at that point.

    I think what we are effectively dealing with here is three talented men who have become too successful with too few negative consequences to their lack of professional discipline that they have become arrogant and entitled. Clarkson being the worst affected.

    The show itself is past its sell by date and due at least a refresh. The problem is that many fans will continue to praise it as they remember it for its highlights and turn a blind eye to its diminishing quality.

    If you want another example of a once superb show that became a dumbed down cash cow, look no further than the Simpsons.

    As far as Clarkson is concerned, I think he should be sacked for verbally abusing a colleague in public during works time, as would anyone else in an employed position.

    It’s got sod all to do with PC or non-PC behaviours and everything to do with employment law and corporate ethics.

    • Absolutely.

      The Simpsons analogy is interesting and it just made me think; there might just be some serious similarities between Jeremy Clarkson and Homer Simpson…..

  32. A colleague at work suggested that if Mr C were to go then a worthwhile replacement could be Chris Evans. Popular enough to carry the show and definitely got the car qualifications.

  33. Well no doubt BBC Two will probably put on some show about antiques instead of Top Gear, or dig out yet another episode of Eggheads. Top Gear is probably one of the few shows young people will watch on BBC Two, unlike a lot of the reality rubbish that is aimed at young people can be repeated and made into DVDs, and makes the BBC millions. They would be mad to scrap a format that gets nearly as many viewers as Eastenders.

  34. Clarkson doesn’t appear to have shown any remorse for the incident- in which he basically had a temper tantrum because he couldn’t have a steaky-weaky when he stamped his foot. Whether or not he actually threw a punch is neither here nor there.

    Now the hapless producer, Oisin Tymon- who was most likely blameless (how was he supposed to stop a chef going home after his shift is done?), is the target for bullying by some of the immature adolescent fans that Top Gear nowadays panders to. It appears that Clarkson himself reported the incident to the BBC if several different papers are to blame. Tymon has had the good grace to remain silent on the incident until the enquiry is underway. So the whole thing I suggest, may fit Clarksons agenda, perhaps in order to leave Top Gear and the Beeb, whilst scapegoating the Beeb itself and Tymon. Reminds me a bit of the odious Robin Thicke ‘Blurred Lines’ affair when the singer was slated for it’s incredibly mysoginistic lyrics and video- first blaming the fact that he was on painkillers and alcohol (therefore not responsible), then claiming producer Farell Williams actually wrote it when sued by the Marvyn Gaye estate for plagiarising one of his tunes.

    No remorse either for denying fans the last episodes on the series, or for putting Hammond and May out of that particular job.

    Clarkson may be a big mouth, but he really needs to grow a pair and accept responsibility for his own behaviour. And get his oversized ego in check.

  35. Actually I need to clarify a point- I am not claiming that Clarkson himself is blaming Tymon for the incident- but he doesn’t exactly seem to be going out of his way to relieve Tymon of the perception amongst some TG fans that Tymon is the villain of the piece.

  36. I think Chris Evans would make an excellent and much improved TopGear anchor.

    Incidentally, does anyone have anytime for Hammond?

    I find him an unpleasant combination of loathsome and dull. That MX-5 review was excruciating.

    • Not really. I think his level of success as hosting other shows proves this.

      The talent is with May, who’s pretty entertaining whatever he does.

    • Chris Evans? Really ? Am I the only one here who would rather spend the hour pooing in his hands and clapping rather than put up with that irritating buffoon?

  37. Re Hammond-

    Until recently I worked for a company that looks after the demonstrator and press fleet for Vauxhall, Mazda, Nissan, and Infiniti. Whilst I didn’t personally deliver a press car to either Hammond or Clarkson, some of my colleagues had.

    Hammond was always very pleasant to deal with- he was unfailingly courteous and would offer to drive you to the nearest station, etc, whereas if you had the misfortune to deliver to Clarkson out in the middle of Oxfordshire, you wouldn’t get to meet the ‘great man’, you handed the keys over to the gardener or other factotum. And made your own way to the station.

    Have a guess which of the two are the more highly regarded?

  38. If Clarkson has punched a BBC employee then he has to go. If he is kept on and the producer has left his job because of the assault then that would be unacceptable. Clarkson if you remember walked out of the old Top Gear causing the show to be suspended, then came back with new Top Gear under his own terms. He can do that again with another channel only not under the Top Gear branding which the BBC owns.

    Personally I think TG is on the slide, with most long-running shows it had a golden period, I would say 2005-2010 where it built up its global audience. But since the awful India Special TG is coasting down the highway of repetitive and painfully fake buffoonery instead of thoughtful motoring journalism. It may still be watched as entertainment but on a Sunday night there’s not much else. For my tuppence worth I think Chris Harris would be a pretty good replacement.

    Above all though if Top Gear continues it definitely needs refreshed.

    • Old Top Gear was not stopped by Clarkson leaving it.

      When Clarkson and Wilman both left old Top Gear (by agreement and working for the BBC instead on Documentaries such as Meet the Neighbours) the Clarkson role was eventually replaced by James May (it was James not Clarkson who reviewed the 75 on Top Gear and panned it).

      The program ran on for a couple of Seasons with Quinton, Tiff Vicky etc, with good viewing figures until the BBC decided to realign the program to be more in tune with the times (this was New Labour Britain times of course).

      Old crew went to make 5th Gear and the realigned Top Gear (with James May joining from Driven on Channel 4) with its focus road safety and the environment plunged in the viewing figures and the BBC looked for options, including selling the magazine and program rights.

      Clarkson and Wilman then offered the BBC a 50/50 package to relaunch the Program and Magazine, that resulted in it being what it is today.

      • But May joined Top Gear after the relaunch, in Series 2 I think. I remember it well. Clarkson and Hammond were already there.

  39. @ Bilbo, all of those makes of car would make Clarkson feel embarassed and I’d love to see his expression being seen in a Vauxhall Astra. No wonder he’d send out the gardener.
    OTOH I wonder what kind of reception you’d get if you delivered a limited edition £ 200,000 supercar with 200 mph performance. You’d probably see a different man

  40. For all the people who knock Top Gear, there is one thing you have to recognise is the global pull of this programme.

    I know of nothing from Britain that has this reach, in our Moscow office you will see young ladies who look like Vogue models proudly displaying Top Gear calendars on their desks.

    In the Singapore office copies of the Top Gear magazine in the coffee area for people to thumb through as a break from the daily grind.

    In our Bangalore office you will find every petrol heads desks (so that’s nearly every man’s desk) decorated with Top Gear merchandise.

    As for Sweden, the TV seems to have more Top Gear dedicated hours than Dave and almost every “Fika” break or chat with a Taxi driver contains some Top Gear references.

    We should as a nation recognise the Good Will this programme earns our nation and understand that an argument that came in a tight schedule of 16 plus hour days of nonstop filming (the media coverage overlooks that the next day Clarkson was back out filming the show) should not be allowed to destroy something this important.

  41. There is some rubbish posted above, but everyone fails to get it, the show is made that way because it is hugely successful, who does not like to have a laugh, and if you dont, then you shouldn’t be frequenting any site associated with Austin-Rover, if you want a more fact based tv show, go to Fifth Gear, they do a very good show there, and yet they still manage to have a laugh whilst doing it.

    350 million people can not be wrong, and a profit of £18 million on TG is nothing for the beeb to be sniffed at, it, along with Dr Who, are the two biggest income streams for them.

    I have had the very great pleasure of meeting JC a few times, and on every single occasion, he has been polite, chatty and nothing like you see on the TV, a perfect gentleman.

    I also feel that if anyone takes offence at anything he says, really does not get it, he does/says things just to get a debate, and thats a good thing, I also believe that too many people are so far up their own back passages, and just like to whine and go ahead as if he has personally affronted them, he is, one of the rare people these days that says what he thinks, and there is NOTHING wrong in that, this country has become so afraid of saying anything for the worry it may upset a worm in the garden, well tough, it is ok for other countries and other celebrities around the world to deride the UK, and its citizens, yet we never seem to want to give it back.

    So it is nice when you get someone thats not afraid of saying what the rest of us are generally thinking, it is all harmless fun, jest, joking and so on, if we all stopped doing anything that may offend, this country would not have any comedy shows, comedians and daft shows that poke fun.

    I could easily have taken offence at some of the things he has said, but as i understand that the show is meant to be that way, I take it as such, it is therefore a shame that others cant.

  42. one last thing, everyone is going on and on about Clarkson, but has anyone considered that the other person may well have incited it, and may well have said, or done something that was totally unacceptable, and therefore that is possibly why JC went off on one.

    He never hit anyone according to everyone that was there, so maybe those that are calling for his head, should just wait and see the outcome of the inquiry and you never know, it may not be as cut and dried as some here seems to think it is, but then again, it may well be.

  43. Agree generally with what JagBoy says above – but there is also the possibility that Clarkson has set-up the whole thing, (either with or without the knowing co-operation of the production team) to get himself ‘fired’, allowing him to escape a format that he must know is on the wane after so many years – all in a
    suitable blaze of publici

    Reports that him shopped himself to a boss who it’s claimed hates him, coupled with the latest ‘outcry’ today about what he’s written in the latest TG magazine would add weight to such a theory. Surely no-one doubts that he and his closest team would be hired elsewhere like a shot.

  44. I see someone has posted a petition on change.org for Alan partridge to take over has 18,000 signatures in just 2 days LOL. I guess we would get the virtues of the Rover 75 over the Rover 100 (sorry Mini Metro)

  45. @ Graham. I agree that, whatever the wrongs or rights, and we don’t know those yet, it will be a shot in the foot if we lose TG, both as a gravy train for the BBC and all the other industries involved and as an ambassador for the UK.

    As far as Mike Humble is concerned, and if we do lose TG, then judging from his extremely well written article, both in content and style, we could do well to put him into TG.

    tillsbury1

  46. Top Gear has been a huge success and sometimes gets 8 million viewers when the alternative is ITV light entertainment, which makes even the worst Top Gear look like high art, or some worthy and rather dull show on BBC One. I think should JC go, why not hire Suzi Perry when she’s not doing the Grand Prix?

  47. That Top Gear has long since become merely a ‘show’ seems widely agreed and that JC is it’s main man undisputed.
    So far, so good. But a problem with showbiz is that too many people confuse it with information, especially if the show used to be a, um, ‘proper’ programme.
    A Vauxhall garage owner once told me that Clarkson had lost Vauxhall millions in sales – WITHOUT THE RIGHT OF REPLY. An example of how dangerous opinion can be. One person’s opinion can lead to loss of earnings and, logically, jobs. Not, perhaps, JC’s fault but in a world of increasingly dumb viewers he, being such a clever man, should have known better and his bosses should given a right of reply to whoever he was slating at the time. Balance.
    The original Top Gear – Noel Edmonds? See, nobody bothers with facts anymore. And that fact lets JC and others like him provide endlessly puerile laughs to merely entertain and, most important of all, generate bucks.
    Shame. really.
    Daniel O’Callaghan (11 March) says the important stuff.

    • People like to blame Clarkson for poor sales, but as he has pointed out that people ignore his advice.

      For example he said the Mk4 Escort was rubbish and it became the best selling car in the UK.

      He has for years told people not to buy Montego’s instead of the cheaper BMW’s yet the market has still gone the other way.

      The reason why Vauxhall lost sales in the middle ground was more to do with a dull products and anti company car tax policies than anything Clarkson said.

      • Sorry bit of brain fade and jet lag,

        Meant to write 3rd paragraph

        “He has for years told people to buy Mondeos instead of the cheaper BMWs yet the market has gone the other way.”

    • You say all to generate bucks…

      Welcome to the wibbly wobbly world of television and media.

      Publicity good or bad generates curiosity which generates footfall… once the customer is in the showroom theres a 50/50 chance he/she will drive out in a new car.

      Anyway…. the Vectra was far from a flop in sales terms, its falling down factor was GM hailing the car as the second coming of Christ during launch advertising. The first generation of Vectra was crushingly average and no more.

      Everything else at the time was better in all area’s – Mondeo / Primera / 406 / New Passat

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