By on March 13, 2015

Jeremy Clarkson circa late 2014

In the fallout of “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson’s “fracas” with a producer, BBC has cancelled the remaining three episodes of the current series.

BBC News adds that while Clarkson has been suspended after said fight with the producer “pending an investigation,” fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond have not been suspended, per a statement by the BBC.

As for how Clarkson is handling the situation, he wrote in his column for The Sun:

I’m having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow over.

He has also taken to Twitter, discussing with Hammond and May what movies could be aired in place of this Sunday’s cancelled episode, and apologizing to Labour Party and opposition leader Ed Miliband about bumping Miliband’s “‘I’m a human’ piece” down from the top of the news headlines.

The suspension — of which over 250,000 fans are petitioning to have undone — comes after Clarkson was presented with a final warning last year by the BBC after footage of the presenter using a racist word in a nursery rhyme was found by The Daily Mirror.

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84 Comments on “BBC Cancels Remaining Top Gear Episodes Amid Clarkson ‘Fracas’...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Clarkson is rapidly becoming the Charlie Sheen of the auto-journalist world. What will happen next?… Winning!

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    I wasn’t surprised at all when I heard the news about this…

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I wonder what the details of the incident are, without knowing that it is difficult to form any opinion on whether the BBC is justified or overreacting.

    Clarkson’s only 54 years old? He looks to be pushing 70.

    That wasn’t a nice picture to post of him, Cameron.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      He looks old for his age, it happens

    • 0 avatar

      In Cameron’s defense, it’s probably hard to find a nice picture of him.

      • 0 avatar
        EvilEdHarris

        Well said MWebbRambler… also lots of smoking and drinking don’t slow the aging process.

        Overall, I am a fan of Top Gear but do find the antics of Clarkson to be over the top. I bet they could replace him and motor on with 75% of the ratings (which would still probably keep it the number one show… “In the world”).

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          “also lots of smoking and drinking don’t slow the aging process.”

          It doesn’t?… Oops, guess I got that one wrong

        • 0 avatar
          burgersandbeer

          It’s the chemistry the three presenters have together that make the show. I don’t think Clarkson brings much to the table by himself, but Capt Slow needs Clarkson to antagonize him. Hammond is probably more flexible with the personalities that he can work with.

          I’m not sure if Clarkson is really irreplaceable, or if the three have been together for so long that it just makes it hard to imagine anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      I’m only two years younger than Clarkson and folks estimate me to be in my 60’s! And I quit the smoking and (heavy) boozing years ago… Ugh.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    The guy is funny (at least I find him funny), but he really is an annoying prat. I enjoy Top Gear, but there has to be some accountability and if he did, indeed, strike that assistant producer, then he should probably be fired.

    To expand on the Charlie Sheen story, Two and a Half Men survived his departure. It wasn’t the same show, but it did well enough to remain a top-rated show. Some have suggested replacing Clarkson with Rowan Atkinson, a move that just might work. Atkinson is just as witty, just as dedicated to cars and is certainly English enough for the job. One has only to watch his “The Driven Man” video autobiography to see how entertaining he can be in an automotive role.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @bunkie: great suggestions. Atkinson is an avid car enthusiast, owning I believe the largest privately held collection of Astons and an accomplished weekend racer.

    • 0 avatar

      I would love to see Mr. Bean take over for Clarkson. Or Brian Johnson of AC/DC fame, he writes a column for Octane and is both funny and knowledgeable about cars.

      • 0 avatar
        boozysmurf

        I’m not as sure as others about Brian Johnson (although AC/DC covering TopGear, covering Allman Brothers? I’m in for that) but I still think Jay Kay could be interesting as a replacement.

        That said, I’d not considered Rowan Atkinson: he’s dry and acerbic enough to fill Clarkson’s role directly, and he’s got better comedic timing.

        • 0 avatar
          bunkie

          Perhaps the Beeb should commission Atkinson for a pseudo-reality-TV version of Blackadder with cars. I’d love to see him mix it up with Stephen Fry (who did that London Taxi across America series), Hugh Laurie and Miranda Richarson again. I could just see Fry as General Melchitt driving his beloved Bentley named “Speckled Jim” in a game of Car rugby.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Bureaucratic nonsense.

    How does not broadcasting an already filmed episode rectify the situation?

    May and Hammond and the Stig did nothing wrong. Why punish them and the audience?

    And how much money in lost revenues is this costing the ‘Beeb’ which is continually crying poor?

    If they decide to dismiss Clarkson then so be it. He will probably go elsewhere and continue to prosper. Unless the producer was a female or there are other undisclosed indiscretions in which case he can join Jian Ghomeshi in celebrity purgatory.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Show intros, transitions, and interviews are filmed separately from the segments, and usually are done the week of broadcast. Clarkson has always conducted the interview portion. And the other hosts have stated publicly in the past that if any one host is fired the others would quit.

      My guess is that Clarkson, not owning a stake in the Top Gear franchise anymore, may have been fishing for an out over the past few years, choosing to test the BBC’s mettle by seeing how far he can go before they push back.

      If Clarkson goes, he may well take May and Hammond with him. It’s one thing to replace one host in the 22nd series of a program, but I think to replace all three, unless done just so, would signal the death of Top Gear UK.

      • 0 avatar

        If I were the owner of Discovery or some other large cable network, I’d be putting out feelers to Clarkson, May and Hammond about a show in which they’d be equity owners. Let’s call it Next Gear.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bosozoku,
        I really don’t think those three get on. It’s TV don’t forget.

        I read an interesting article this week in which James May stated that it isn’t a great loss if Jeremy Clarkson is removed from Top Gear.

        I do think May and Hammond working as equals could carry the show and still maintain it’s ratings.

        Jeremy is a very entertaining person. Is the brains behind Top Gear?

        He’s the personality. I’d say May and Hammond do have significant contributions to the show, if and when they can overpower Clarkson’s persona.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If I were Hammond or May, I might be glad to see Clarkson and his a**hole antics go, just like the other actors on “Two and a Half Men” were glad to see Charlie Sheen go.

      The show would carry on with out Clarkson.

      • 0 avatar
        namesakeone

        Except that “Two and a Half Men” didn’t exactly prosper post-Sheen. After eight seasons before his meltdown, it lasted three more before being cancelled. I wouldn’t bet on “Top Gear” doing any better.

    • 0 avatar
      EvilEdHarris

      Arthur I agree… Top Gear should do what they do best here: something ridiculous like edit over all images of Clarkson with the Easter Bunny and dubb over his voice with squaking sounds from a duck.

      This way we still get to see what May, Hammond, and The Stig were up to!

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        It should be remembered that Clarkson himself referred this to the BBC. There was no complaint from the producer.

        Also as I start watching the 22nd series there are numerous interesting and informative segments on cars such as the BMW i8, the homage to the Land Rover Defender, the segment on Peugeot, the Corvette/Cayman segment, the MX5 review.

        • 0 avatar
          TrailerTrash

          Thanks…did not now this.
          However, this does prove again, if true, that all these posters above talking about his attitude, his looks, the show not needing him, the lack of driving skill, his being a bully (my very fav dumb post) etc, etc, etc.

          Look…this is ENTERTAINMENT! This is a REALITY auto TV show. And it is a sum of ALL its parts. Including the producer that has been around a long time. There probably is a whole lot of family fighting going on.
          The Beatles broke up after an even shorter time.
          Made up nonsense and lots of us like it.
          Relax and breath in…then let it out and repeat.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I disagree.

      I’ve worked IT jobs where I was high profile enough to be fired for acting like a d*ck whet representing my employer in the public, and that was part of the deal when I took the job.

      This in the main reasen why I use an assumed name when I spout off on the Internet.

      Celebrities get the same deal, except without all of that pesky technical work that I had to do. And a lot more money than the mid five-figure public sector salary I was drawing at the time.

      I don’t see why any celebrity should get a pass on behaving like a grownup at work, or on being able to behave in public.

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    the petition would be over a million by now

    here’s the thing: BBC, Top Gear and Clarkson have generated so much press due to this… can you imagine the viewership when it comes back on?

    does anyone really believe that the BBC will really ‘cancel’ the remaining episodes in the face of outstanding syndication contracts and the fact the public is screaming for this content?

    you cant buy better publicity… there’s no better example of public support in the face of what is workplace violence

    watch this space in two or three weeks when Clarkson comes back to a ‘hero’s welcome’ and the BBC adds to its pound sterling pile

    and i like the show and i’m gonna miss it this coming monday

  • avatar

    It’s the interplay between Clarkson, May and Hammond that does the trick. I can imagine that JC without the other two will hardly be as funny. Something to consider if for instance ITV wants to snatch JC away from the BBC.

  • avatar
    AmcEthan

    am i the only one who likes the american top gear more? i think its more relatable car wise and that makes it better to watch for me.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Yes, I believe you might be :D

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      You’re squarely on your own planet with that one, AmcEthan. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      American Top Gear is stuck in a place where it is not a good car review show (e.g. MotorWeek), but not entertaining either.

      I actually liked “The Car Show” and was sad to see it cancelled.

      • 0 avatar
        AmcEthan

        I love seeing the challenges they do, my favorite was the Americas toughest truck challenge. I don’t care for the reviews or lap times part of the show much. My favorite bbc episodes are when they tried to kill the hilux and when they bought cheap Porsche cars

    • 0 avatar
      Nichodemus

      Having never seen the BBC version, I have nothing to compare it to, but I like the American version, too. The guys are fairly funny, and the challenges take them to some crazy places. My main complaint is just that the stuff they do is so obviously set up/scripted to the point of being ridiculously over the top. I do feel like I’ve missed out not seeing the original version, though. I guess I got 22 years to catch up on.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      However…you make a point. This acting and team chemistry is what makes this show so damn popular.
      So all these postings about his being so easily replaced crack me up.
      I like Mr Bean and he has been around since the fifties, and he knows cars, but suggesting he will easily replace Mr C is a bit of a wish.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      They still make the American Top Gear?

  • avatar
    racer-esq.

    Is it that hard to say catch a tiger by the toe?

    It’s unfortunate because crap like that undermines the legitimate fight against the tolerance for intolerance that the EU speech police are trying to impose.

    In the EU zone people can go to jail for comparing Islam (a belief system, not a race, ask the white girls joining Isis) to Nazism. A comparison that is only flawed in that one murderous, land grabbing, book writing zealot failed to have the foresight to claim to be a prophet speaking for god.

    That fascist thought control needs to be fought, but not with stupid racist nursery rhymes.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      This incident is about one company employee mistreating another employee. I’d say that doesn’t really qualify as a free speech issue.

      Not sure what Islam has to do with any of this.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      You really think that Clarkson was attempting to fight “fascist thought control” in the “the EU zone” by singing a nursery rhyme with the lyrics universally used during his childhood?

      • 0 avatar
        racer-esq.

        I am just pointing out that Clarkson was not speaking out against an intolerant belief system in a way that EU speech police label “racist”. Something defensible. But intead being an actual racist.

        With a word that even in his childhood only the trashiest, most pathetic, least educated racists used. With the racists with indoor plumbing instead speaking of the “negro race”.

  • avatar
    shadow mozes

    So sad.

  • avatar
    Equinox

    I have always watched Top Gear for its entertainment value and not for car buying advice. I like that it is an entertaining and humorous show that also contains great cars. It is one of the few shows that is not always worried about being ‘politically correct’. They ridicule everyone including themselves and have a good laugh while they are at it. Using that perspective, no other version of Top Gear comes close to the original!

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    > “fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond have not been suspended”

    Well unless they were involved, I would hope not. Captain Slow and Hamster have other shows, so I’m sure they will be okay.

    Seriously, Clarkson has to pull in his ego. There is always a breaking point and he may have just reached it with the BBC. Like Sheen, I’m sure he would come back later in another show with a network more willing to put up with him.

    Coming soon to a reality show near you… Jeremy Clarkson. (I vote for the Celebrity Apprentice)

  • avatar
    harshciygar

    I would be pissed if after a long day’s work, the promised food wasn’t there.

    But I wouldn’t punch a guy.

    If that is indeed what happened, the BBC has to do more than simply censor Clarkson. Cancelling the remaining episodes is indeed a punishment for Clarkson moreso than May or Hammond, because its punishing the viewers. I’m willing to bet Clarkson has something of an ego, and how worse to hurt it than to keep his hard work from being seen?

    These episodes will eventually air, and I don’t think Top Gear as we know it is over. Perhaps I’m wrong. Frankly though, I haven’t been watching past couple of seasons of Top Gear much at all (a segment here, a segment there, but not one whole episode).

    Maybe I’m missing out, but it doesn’t feel like it. Episodes like the Toyota Hilux and “OLIVER!!” had a lot of emotional punch, but the segments stopped feeling as original, and the conclusions always seemed more forgone.

    Clarkson has been on Top Gear since 1988, and the “new” series relaunched in 2002. That’s nearly 30 years of television. I don’t think he’s going anywhere, but I also think his best days are behind him…and he knows it.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yeah I don’t understand the canceling of the shows either. Fine him, cut his pay, cut him out of the episode by removing any reviews/segments HE did. Canceling just hurts the fans, not Jezzer.

      Honestly at this point I think they can go on without him. May did that toy show that was pretty good and Richard did a kind of Dirty Jobs knock off where he learned to use some huge machine in a day. While their chemistry makes the show, JC’s “character” could easily be another person. At times I can predict what JC is going to say, so just find someone else to say it. They always rip on May for being old, but its Clarkson that seems like the old guy now… he even needs his glasses to read the news.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Another casualty in the war against white men.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Never really cared for Top Gear, some of the specials were cool but as a pedantic car guy and engineer the way they misrepresented and faked stuff just to get laughs really bothered me. Case in point, during the Vietnam Special, they made it seem as if May’s little step through 50cc Honda couldn’t climb some of the steep hills, even in 1st gear. Anyone who’s actually ridden one knows first gear is low enough to crawl straight up a wall (so to speak), slowly but surely. Endless examples of other predicaments where they just bang on stuff with hammers or sabotage each other rather than actually applying some car-guy know-how and fixing issues or thinking of clever workarounds. I get it, it gets laughs from 12 year olds and the car-illiterate that make up millions of viewers.

    For my money, it doesn’t get better than Ed China troubleshooting some electrical system or doing some very decent DIY body work on an old car on Wheeler Dealers.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Yeah, right now I’m more troubled that this past Wednesday was the last Wheeler Dealers for this season, than missing three upcoming Top Gear episodes. And, for the most part, these guys restore cars, not street rod them.

      Then again, the “Best of Wheeler Dealers” showed me that there’s about 5-10 early episodes that I’ve never seen. Gotta start digging them out.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I miss the early wheeler dealers with their super low budgets, and they fixed up an old BMW E30 wagon, a w123 sedan, old Mr2, Saab 900 turbo. And a lot of the work wasn’t just “oh buy the OEM part from the catalog,” they had to scrounge around junkyards and haggle for used doors, buy the chinese knock-off replacement fenders then fit and work them to make them line up. Redying upholstery and working with the local ‘cottage industry’ of small shops to repair and refurbish stuff to save some money, I love that stuff.

        Newer stuff is still really cool, like Ed’s body work on that Ferrari where he pulled some dents by tacking on lengths of MIG wire and showed the whole process, or installing an LSD and going through the details of setting backlash on the differential on that old Escort.

        MUCH more appealing to me as a DIY nuts-and-bolts guy such as myself.

        • 0 avatar

          The early builds were great. I liked some of the later ones too. I particularly enjoyed it when they retrofitted the first facelift (’06-’09) onto an early third-gen Range Rover, as I’d specifically been wondering whether or not that was possible…

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Ed China’s part of Wheeler Dealer is great, but Mike can come across as the stereotypical slimy used car salesman. Even if the cars look like a decent value for the work that Ed puts into them, something about the way Mike conducts business makes my skin crawl.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    What we need is someone to do a farcical Top Gear bit where they make fun of government tv, political correctness, and Brits like was done to Southerners and Argentines.

  • avatar
    xtoyota

    Wheeler Dealers is a great show… you actually learn something from their show.
    IMHO Top Gear can go away and I would not cry about it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    If this follows the pattern of US TV shows “we’re pulling the plug for the rest of the season,” this is likely the end.

  • avatar
    1998redwagon

    i could live without clarkston; would appreciate a new face on top gear. i think it would be difficult to replace all 3 *ehem* gentlemen.

    i could live without top gear altogether. i appreciate more wheeler-dealer as it seems to be informative while conveying a story, something top gear rarely accomplishes.

  • avatar
    KrohmDohm

    Much as I hate the thought of Top Gear without Clarkson I agree that Rowan Atkinson would be outstanding. Clarkson is funny but there are boundaries in any professional environment that can’t be crossed without severe consequences.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    “He has also taken to Twitter, discussing with Hammond and May what movies could be aired in place of this Sunday’s cancelled episode”

    I can’t believe these guys are still cordial. Clarkson makes enough money to not care, but other two seem to have only branched out and gotten into bigger things the last couple years. I’d be crapping melons if someone took away my biggest platform right when my career began really taking off.

  • avatar
    8rings

    Sign Chris Harris to replace him and get back to filming!

  • avatar
    Car-los

    I think the whole thing comes at a suspiciously convenient timing for Clarckson. We know he was on a final notice from the BBC, his current contract is about to expire and he was in negotiations with the BBC for a new one, that means that headhunters from other TV companies must have been busy making him offers and guess what?…right in the middle of all these inevitable negotiations he gets himself in “trouble” again generating a disproportionate amount of publicity that can only increase the price tag of any new contract making it look like a high profile Cold War Era defection in which any other TV network will love to score against the BBC.

    As a consequence he will be leaving the BBC with a bang and into a multi-million contract somewhere else.

    I think Clarkson is nothing but a self-serving clown well suited for The Sun newspaper where freedom of speech is the last of their concerns.

  • avatar
    brianyates

    From the photo it looks like he had more than “one cold pint”.

  • avatar

    To be honest, I like car programs like Wheeler Dealers, 5th Gear (the one with Vicki Butler Henderson and Tiff Needell) and Car SOS more than I do TopGear.

  • avatar
    Zykotec

    I do miss ‘old’ (not so obviously scripted and grey-haired) Top Gear.
    But on a very related side note a new episode of Roadkill (on the motor trend channel on Youtube) came out this week. If you’re not watching you’re not a car guy, or even remotely interested in actual real world car-related-no fake-no script-reality-TV, where anything can (and does) go wrong.
    (seriously, it’s like watching ‘Breaking bad, just replace meth with cars, and replace all the killing with cars, and Skyler with a car, and then add more cool cars)

  • avatar
    agroal

    I started watching TG a few years back and quickly lost interest mainly because of Clarkson. He claims to be a big supporter of the military. Yet he never served. He claims to be a big fan of automotive engineering. Yet he never studied it. One could present him with an American made car that is superior in every way to a European one. He would call it “rubbish”. Give me the great Edd China from “Wheeler Dealers” (minus the over caffeinated Mike Brewer) any day in the place of the alcoholic snob Clarkson. Drop Brewer from WD altogether and devote more time to watching the talented and humble Edd China work his magic. I usually fast forward past Brewer’s orgasms while he’s searching for and then finding classic cars. The best part of Wheeler Dealers is Edd showing the viewers how to wrench.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      Top Gear is NOT a car show. If it was it would be reduced to niche viewership status just like every other car show. Just like ‘original’ Top Gear.

      Top Gear has a worldwide audience of 350 million because they only use cars as props and an excuse for their antics, trips and diatribes.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    The one thing I like about Clarkson is that he got into trouble for belting a producer.(although on the news here we were informed that he made a racist comment) Anyone who has ever met any of these people will know what I mean…
    good on ya Jeremy!

    And the funniest thing ever on the shjow was when they had a segment featuring communist era cars,lada’s yugo’s etc and …an Allegro.

  • avatar

    He can always do porn.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The BBC is a government agency. They have the ability to tax the public in the form of licenses for anyone in the UK that wants to watch anything on TV. 75% of their revenue is guaranteed. As such, is it any wonder that they feel little responsibility to give the public what they want? They get paid either way, so what does it matter if they have the most popular show in the world, or if they kill it like a bunch of thimble-dicked bureaucrats treating taxpayer money like their own and their interests like they’re the public’s?

  • avatar
    srd275

    News as of 3/16/2015: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11475058/Top-Gear-ratings-disaster-4m-viewers-switch-off-after-Jeremy-Clarkson-replaced.html

    Top Gear ratings disaster: 4m viewers switch off after Jeremy Clarkson replaced

    Top Gear’s replacement in the schedules, a repeat of a Red Arrows documentary, drew just 1.3 million viewers – but BBC refuse to say how many complaints they have received

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    I smell a publicity stunt.

    Plus, the BBC is looking to begin offering their own video service (they had been claiming April but now say June) to compete with iTunes and this would make for some interesting exclusive content…

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