By on March 31, 2015

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In the aftermath of “Top Gear” host Jeremy Clarkson’s firing, the show’s producer bids farewell, while the BBC’s director receives death threats.

In an email leaked to Jalopnik, executive producer Andy Wilman confirmed his exit from Broadcasting House, proclaiming that he and his crew left everyone “wanting more.” Wilman went on to praise the show as a whole, from the work ethic of the staff and the awards won, to the following “Top Gear” brought and the production values put into the show.

While Wilman has left the building, he did say the BBC will make certain that the show continues for anyone still interested in following suit, adding that he and the hosts “were only part of the show’s history, not the whole of it.”

Meanwhile, BBC Director-General Lord Tony Hall received security at his home in Oxfordshire after an alleged death threat was emailed to him from outside the United Kingdom, according to Scotland Yard. The threat came after the announcement of Jeremy Clarkson’s firing, a decision made after the investigation into the “fracas” between Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon came to a close.

 

Edit: Looks like Wilman wasn’t actually leaving. Statement below.

Andy Wilman, Executive Producer, Top Gear, said:

 

“The email I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption. It was a private note of thanks to 113 people who have worked on the show over the years, but clearly one of those 113 is a bit of a tit, because they shared it with a website. I don’t get this modern obsession with sharing, linking, forwarding, re tweeting; whatever happened to a private moment? And if I were to resign, I wouldn’t do it publicly, I’d do it old school by handing in my, er, notice, to someone upstairs in HR. I work behind the camera and I wouldn’t presume for one moment  to think people are interested in what I do. Now, everyone back to work.”

 

A BBC spokesperson said:

 

“Andy’s email was intended as a heartfelt message to people who had worked with him and Jeremy, to recognise the fact that with Jeremy leaving it was the end of an era. It was not a farewell but a thank you to people who have been important to the show over the last 12 years. It was bringing down the curtain on the Clarkson era, not announcing his own departure.”

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42 Comments on “Top Gear Producer Bids Farewell, BBC Director Receives Death Threats...”


  • avatar

    I remember years ago

  • avatar

    I remember years ago when if someone said something offensive or got into a fight, they were fined and life just moved on. Why are they purposefully shooting themselves in the foot by removing one of the only reasons to watch BBC in the first place – beyond Star Trek TNG?

    Clarkson would be better off on his own Youtube. It works perfectly well for Jay Leno…

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “I remember years ago when if someone said something offensive or got into a fight, they were fined and life just moved on.”

      I can’t imagine that there are many employers, and especially many white-collar ones, where you could get drunk and punch your boss and expect to keep your job.

      • 0 avatar

        That may be true, but this isn’t about one man…it’s a show and that show has a legacy. FINE HIM and he’ll never do it again. Hitting people in the pockets hurts more than hitting them in the jaw.

        He can just as easily use his following to continue earning. Why not have him earning for you?

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          I suppose the point, from the BBC’s point of view, is that if they allow this, what’s the next line he may cross? And what does this say to other employees who might be abused by their superiors? That the BBC will allow a star to run roughshod over you as long as he/she is popular?

          After watching the Jian Ghomeshi situation unfold at CBC and themselves still smarting from Jimmy Savile, the BBC can’t afford that kind of situation with Clarkson or anyone else.

          You need to set clear boundaries and consistently enforce them—or don’t enforce at all. Selective, conditional enforcement gets you the worst possible behaviour, which is a truism in management, policing and in parenting.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          It’s a PR issue. How would the press in the UK present that story? Think about it.

          BBC CONTINUES TO EMPLOY CLARKSON AFTER HE BEATS PRODUCER OF POPULAR TOP GEAR SHOW

          BBC IGNORES SAFETY OF EMPLOYEES

          BBC, A HAVEN FOR CRIMINALS

          And so forth. In today’s climate of PC this and that, and the fact that the BBC is a -very- PC, state run organization, he had no chance at redemption and employment after this.

        • 0 avatar

          Wrong.

          He was fined and warned multiple times based on his racist comments and various problematic actions over the years. This was the last in a string of problems that Clarkson created for the BBC. Fining him and warning him did nothing, so I’m sorry…but you’re wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Amen. Next thing you know there would be two tiers of employees. Imagine what kind of ruination would that lead to!

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “Amen. Next thing you know there would be two tiers of employees. Imagine what kind of ruination would that lead to!”

            It’s incredibly naiive to think there aren’t already. You think if a random camera guy used a racial slur that JC used he wouldn’t be out on his arse?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Agreed. The assault and battery of a producer just happened to be the last straw. Top Gear shows are scripted and they like the image of being politically incorrect but there are boundaries. Clarkson crossed those boundaries repeatedly.

            Another point of note is the fact that the show was getting too predictable and scripting was getting all too obvious. The Clarkson incident gave them an excuse to shake up the show and move it forward.

      • 0 avatar
        jmo

        If you brought in $50 million a year? Sure you could.

        • 0 avatar
          Astigmatism

          @jmo: It’s specifically because Clarkson/Top Gear brought in $50 million a year that the Beeb deserves credit for firing him. It’s easy to fire a rando nobody’s heard of for acting like a jackass. Firing someone when you know it will cost you a lot of money means you actually have principles and are willing to live with their consequences.

          Let’s be clear: this wasn’t a one-time incident. Clarkson was already “on probation,” not based solely on Argentina but based on a long history of acting like an entitled jackass that the rules didn’t apply to. Would that more organizations had the balls to decide that they’re not willing to let entitled jackasses get away with their antics ad infinitum.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “@jmo: It’s specifically because Clarkson/Top Gear brought in $50 million a year that the Beeb deserves credit for firing him. It’s easy to fire a rando nobody’s heard of for acting like a jackass. Firing someone when you know it will cost you a lot of money means you actually have principles and are willing to live with their consequences.”

            But it also says that your principles are that you’re a giant wuss and the consequences are you make stupid decisions. He didn’t kill a man, christ.

          • 0 avatar

            “But it also says that your principles are that you’re a giant wuss and the consequences are you make stupid decisions. He didn’t kill a man, christ.”

            What I giant crock. No one died? He technically committed a crime of violence, under the laws of the country he lives in. Or, do you have classifications of violent crime that a profitable celebrity is entitled to before he can be fired? Maybe battery and assault is good, perhaps rape, but we’ll draw the line at homicide? Jeez.

            As for “being a wuss”…being a wuss would’ve been not firing Clarkson. But realistically the decision makers at the top didn’t have a choice to make based on their principles, in fact they didn’t have a choice at all. Basic HR principles says that assault is a fireable offence. That’s no different in any country in the Western world. The simply took the policy as it was and applied it to this situation.

          • 0 avatar
            darkwing

            And they lose every bit of that credit, and more, for the way they’re continuing to fail handling the Savile situation.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            England has always been a society of class. Clarkson is an upper class boor. If the BBC did not do anything they would be maintaining the status quo. Those of the upper class;those of money;those of fame can do as they please, they can mistreat the lower class.

            and why did the USA fight it’s war of independence?

    • 0 avatar
      VCplayer

      I really doubt he was fired for just the one incident. For all we know he’s been fined/suspended/reprimanded on several occasions already. I mean, would anyone be surprised by that?

      In any case, BBC is a state-run organization, so there is VERY little tolerance for this kind of thing.

      Maybe they can hire someone who knows something about cars this time.

      • 0 avatar
        ElSnuggles

        Clarkson was fired for a history of incidents. The Falkland Islands situation was overblown, but he’s gotten away with a great deal.

        As much as I loved Top Gear (Britain – the American and Aussie versions sucked), Clarkson deserved to get canned here. BBC had no choice. I do respect him for self reporting.

        • 0 avatar

          Just make him publicly apologize and have the apology accepted by the other guy and they shake hands – and the other guy comes on as a guest for an episode…

          FINE HIM…

          …continue to make MORE MONEY.

          Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”

            Read up on the Jian Ghomeshi incident at CBC. I do hope it’ll inform you why management, especially in the media, can’t allow a performer or someone similarly senior to just run roughshod over other people and just “shake it off” as no harm done.

            It sends an awful message to the rest of the institution and it’s employees: that people in power can and will abuse you, and you’ll have to take it because HR and management will just further enable that person because they make money for the organization.

            Clarkson assaulted someone while drunk. So we let him off with a wrist-slap and… then what? What happens when it’s followed up by him, or someone else, physically or sexually assaulting another employee? What then? Exactly where do we draw the line?

            I don’t think you really understand power relationships in the workplace; you can’t allow someone senior—someone who already holds all the cards—to just run rampant. Eventually, it sickens the entire workplace.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Jian Ghomeshi had a nice guy public persona that was destroyed by revelations about his private life. He has become toxic as a result, and the CBC had little choice but to create as much distance from him as possible.

            Nobody expects Jeremy Clarkson to be a nice guy. Canning him from the Beeb is no punishment — he’ll be able to monetize this incident.

          • 0 avatar
            VCplayer

            “Nobody expects Jeremy Clarkson to be a nice guy. Canning him from the Beeb is no punishment — he’ll be able to monetize this incident.”

            That’s probably true, but he’s not BBC’s problem now. If Charlie Sheen can be replaced, Clarkson can too.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Nobody expects Jeremy Clarkson to be a nice guy. Canning him from the Beeb is no punishment — he’ll be able to monetize this incident.”

            I don’t doubt it; the point was that, from an HR perspective, they really didn’t have any choice. The precedent it would have set would have been more harmful to the organization.

            You can’t, in this era of easy transparency, allow power imbalances in a workplace that result in outright harm. The CBC’s failure with Mr. Ghomeshi was that it failed to act when the allegations of abuse involved other, junior, CBC staff; what he did outside of the workplace with people unaffiliated with the CBC wouldn’t have been grounds for his termination. They could have (and should, and eventually did) ask him to resign, but you can still be an employed and prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing.

            The BBC, assuming they haven’t been sitting on this for some time, did a better job inasmuch as they got rid of Mr. Clarkson before the media exposure forced them to do so, or before he did something worse.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The show works because of the chemistry of the presenters. Clarkson won’t be easily replaced.

            From an HR perspective, it could conceivably be fixed with cash and an apology (presuming that Clarkson would provide them.)

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            “I don’t doubt it; the point was that, from an HR perspective, they really didn’t have any choice. The precedent it would have set would have been more harmful to the organization.

            You can’t, in this era of easy transparency, allow power imbalances in a workplace that result in outright harm.”

            People like to pretend this is like their office, and in their office if they punch someone they get walked out, because that’s the rules.

            What people don’t get is that this ISN’T like their office, and that rules, as much as we hate to admit it, DON’T apply equally. We’ve got a guy in our office, kind of Todd Packer-like (from The Office). Dude is a total blow-hard, breaks the rules all the time, comes in late, leaves early, drinks at lunch, whatever. But dude also did 20-30% of our ~$3B in sales last year, on his own. He could probably come in and take a dump in the CEO’s lunchbox, and the CEO would thank him for it.

            That’s the real world, kiddos. Yeah, in this case you can say it didn’t work out that way, because JC got fired, but if he decides to work again, guaranteed it’s for a raise. You and me punch someone, we get fired, have a hard time getting a new job, and no raise. On the surface it seems like this teaches people “the rules are the same for everyone” but in reality, in the long term, it’s going to teach us the more true lesson “the rules are different at the top.”

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “From an HR perspective, it could conceivably be fixed with cash and an apology (presuming that Clarkson would provide them.)”

            Yes and no.

            It would address the immediate hurt, possibly, but it also sends the message that the upper echelons can buy their way out of trouble because it’s still essentially condoning bad—if not outright criminal—behaviour.

            It would be a very bad policy: where do you draw the line? Assault would apparently be okay, so what about rape? Battery? Attempted murder? Can we make that go away with a cheque and a token apology?

            I’m sure this won’t do Clarkson much harm, and it will certainly hurt the BBC and may sink Top Gear as a whole. But it also sends the message to the staff of other BBC flagships that they aren’t going to be hung out to dry, which is a very good thing for the corporation as a whole.

          • 0 avatar

            @Pch101: As has been stated multiple times by multiple sources. Clarkson has already been officially warned and fined by the BBC for his previous (far less egregious) actions. Fining doesn’t fix assault & battery. I can’t believe the apologists around here.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “it also sends the message that the upper echelons can buy their way out of trouble because it’s still essentially condoning bad—if not outright criminal—behaviour.”

            That’s already the case. There’s nothing that the BBC can do to effectively punish Clarkson. The harder that they push, the more that he’ll get out of his next book deal.

            Unless the Crown prosecutor plans on jailing him, Clarkson is not only untouchable but he actually benefits from aggressive action by the BBC. If the goal is to hurt him, then getting him to pay money to keep his job is the best thing that anyone can realistically expect to get. This is not like the Ghomeshi situation because the BBC can only help Clarkson by attempting to punish him — this is one of the advantages of having the reputation of being an enfant terrible, as opposed to Ghomeshi torpedoing his brand of being Mr. Nice Guy.

            “I can’t believe the apologists around here.”

            I can’t believe how badly your reading skills suck. I certainly didn’t apologize for Clarkson.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      I’m guessing there had been prior incidents that were similar except for the lip-splitting part.

      But if Top Gear still had momentum – if it didn’t feel like a show that was getting tired – they probably would have found a way to keep Clarkson.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      I remember years ago when if someone said something offensive or got into a fight, they were fined and life just moved on.

      How many years ago was that BT?

      I’ve been on the same job for nearly a quarter century and we’ve always had a zero-tolerance violence policy. Granted its a fairly large company so that has something to do with it and by the same token one of my brothers has always worked for small companies and he has had to crack a few heads with no real worries about disciplinary action so I guess YMMV.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    How unique is it that a fat, heavily aging diva with a violent history got canned from a show business job?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    One fundamental fact of show business is that the show will go on without you, no matter how successful you think you are.

    Sure, JC got big ratings, and made a lot of money for himself, for Top Gear, and for the BBC. That doesn’t mean that he and the show can’t be replaced.

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      “Sure, JC got big ratings, and made a lot of money for himself, for Top Gear, and for the BBC. That doesn’t mean that he and the show can’t be replaced.”

      In a cultural sense, yes, some other show will take TG’s place as a hit, but for the BBC, it’s doubtable that they’ll hit that jackpot again.

  • avatar
    lightbulb

    Actually this is wrong. Andy Williams is not leaving the BBC.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-32128321

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    In keeping with Newton’s Third Law of Motion, every mildly controversial action generates a death threat.

    If firing Jeremy Clarkson is worth killing someone over, then it’s no wonder people fly airplanes into skyscrapers.

    • 0 avatar
      darkwing

      Or it’s irrational people responding rationally to incentives. If you want to cut down on death threats, don’t announce them — or, even better, publicly mock them. If you do post cops, do it quietly.

  • avatar
    discoholic

    You have got to question the sanity (and indeed the right to walk among fellow citizens freely) of those so-called “fans” that send death threats to the Beeb for pulling the plug on Clarkson. Anyone protesting should ask themselves how they would react if their boss fired a twenty-minute string of expletives at them and then punched them in the face in public. Incidentally, those guys must lead pretty sad little lives if their happiness depends on the continuation of a car show on the telly.

    I used to be a huge fan of JC, but you in recent months he’s come across a few times too often as an entitled s**t who thinks rules don’t apply in the exalted circles he moves in, and the various racist and homophobic slurs he’s liberally been throwing about are also a bit too frequent to be mere accidents.
    (Dear BBC: Stop f***ing insulting my intelligence by claiming the numberplate 982FKL on the Porsche you used for Top Gear in Argentina was just a coincidence. The odds of that were about 1:1,000,000,000.)

    And while we’re on the subject, I’m sick to death of the man-of-the-people shtick he’s used since the beginning of time – he’s filthy rich, part of the Chipping Norton set, gets waited on hand and foot whereever he goes, and dines with the PM and other assorted dignitaries.

    And of course the hissy fit he threw was caused by a lack of hot food after a half-day of slaving away behind the wheel of a Lamborghini. Wouldn’t we all start punching people after being mistreated in such an appalling manner?

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Let’s also not forget that after his half-day slaving away behind the wheel of an unobtanium super car, he and his mates spent two hours in a nearby pub getting properly pissed while keeping the helicopter and pilot assigned to fly them to their hotel waiting for two hours. Then, when JC and friends were good and ready, they climbed aboard and had their entitled asses whisked to the hotel where JC came upon a sandwich buffet that had been set out for the staff – a staff so exhausted many had already eaten and gone to bed. The producer JC attacked had remained downstairs to make sure the “stars” arrived okay, and made himself available should they need anything. For his efforts, the young producer was sworn at, racially harassed (he is Irish), and then physically attacked by JC — a witness at the scene pulled Jezza away. The producer, who was told by JC he was sacked and would never work at the BBC again, drove himself to hospital for a split lip and dizziness. Jeremy was then served a piping hot steak by the hotel manager himself.

      I used to love TGUK, but over the past three or four years, have grown tired of it — shark completely jumped. And mostly, that’s due to JC’s schtick. It’s tired, formulaic, and increasingly insincere. His behavior has gotten increasingly belligerent away from the show as well, and that’s not counting several reports of infidelity.

      May and Hammond have made clear they’re a package with Clarkson, and no doubt, they’ll create a new franchise once things settle down. Millions will watch it. But what I’m most interested in is the new era of TGUK — who will the BBC bring on? How will the format change? Can they breathe new life into the show? Can it be amusing without three rich entitled yobs cocking about? Here’s hoping so.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “You have got to question the sanity (and indeed the right to walk among fellow citizens freely) of those so-called “fans” that send death threats to the Beeb for pulling the plug on Clarkson. Anyone protesting should ask themselves how they would react if their boss fired a twenty-minute string of expletives at them and then punched them in the face in public. Incidentally, those guys must lead pretty sad little lives if their happiness depends on the continuation of a car show on the telly.”

      It’s the power of the demagogue over ignorant people. Clarkson isn’t the first, or the worst, do try to convince the punters that ignorance _itself_ is a virtue to be proud of.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    JC and the other 2 need to start their own show, podcast style and paid by advertisers, but free to subscribers. Many have been very successful at this after their TV or radio firing.

    I’m not saying I’d watch it, but if they lose the heavily scripted and overproduced format, it might be worth a glance. The cars should be the stars of the show anyways.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Only the uneducated would ever place celebrities above the law and above moral principles.

    BBC is probably being very careful with the threats, but you’ve got to be pretty deranged to actually attack a studio’s staff because they fired your prick idol.

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