Former boss suggests the BBC were wrong to sack Jeremy Clarkson
The BBC were wrong to sack Jeremy Clarkson for punching a producer on Top Gear, according to former Director-General Mark Thompson.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, Thompson said: “Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend. I don’t think people should punch their colleagues. It’s hard to keep them if they do.
“But I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose. He spoke to people who didn’t find much else in the BBC.
“He spoke to people who didn’t find much else in the BBC. The fact no-one could ever quite believe the BBC allowed Top Gear to go out was a precious thing to hang on to. As a fan, I regret its passing.”
Clarkson was forced to leave his role as presenter on Top Gear last year after news emerged he had attacked a producer on set. Shortly after his departure was announced, Clarkson’s co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond voluntarily left the BBC motoring programme, which was forced to revamp to survive.
A new version of Top Gear broadcast earlier this year received ample criticism for its new host, Chris Evans, and scored some of the show’s worst ratings in more than a decade.
Evans has now left the franchise, but that didn’t stop Thompson offering his thoughts on his Top Gear performance. He said: “Chris Evans is a great broadcaster. I couldn’t work out why he didn’t impersonate Chris Evans, rather than Jeremy Clarkson.”
Jeremy Clarkson is currently working on new motoring series, The Grand Tour, for Amazon Prime Video. It is expected to premiere on the service in autumn.