herald

Tuesday 22 August 2017

I'm off to the job centre, jokes Clarkson as 'fracas' controversy rumbles on

Screen grab taken from topgear.com of Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon
Screen grab taken from topgear.com of Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon
Television presenter Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson laughed off his latest controversy telling reporters he was "just off to the job centre" after the BBC suspended him following a row with a Top Gear producer.

The star was suspended following what the BBC said was "a fracas" with producer Oisin Tymon.

Speaking outside his London home, he joked: "I've been suspended haven't I? I'm just off to the job centre."

The Top Gear presenter left his flat in Kensington amongst a media scrum before jumping into a car and being driven away.

suspended

In reply to questions he said: "I've been suspended. At least I'm going to be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight."

Asked if his suspension was over a row about food, he said "no, no, no" but said "yes" when asked if he had any regrets about what had happened.

He did not answer when asked if he was going to be sacked or resign from Top Gear.

Earlier in the day, James May defended his Top Gear co-star over the "dust-up" and more than 350,000 people signed an online petition calling for the 54-year-old's reinstatement. May confirmed the row was sparked by catering arrangements for the show, but told BBC News he was not there when it happened.

"I think he's been involved in a bit of a dust-up and I don't think it's that serious," he said.

A lawyer for Mr Tymon said his client "intends to await the outcome of the BBC investigation and will make no comment until that investigation is complete".

Perry McCarthy, who was the show's anonymous driver Stig for several years, said there had been a "complete over-reaction" by people "looking to be offended".

The BBC is investigating the allegations against Clarkson, but he could walk away from the show when his contract runs out at the end of the month.

All three of the show's hosts were understood to be days away from signing new contracts to keep them at the wheel of the show for another three years when Clarkson was suspended.

The BBC owns the rights to the Top Gear brand, which is valued at over €70m, and includes the show, DVD rights and live shows, raising the prospect of Top Gear continuing on the BBC while Clarkson takes a similar show to one of its rivals.

postponed

Two episodes have been postponed and the future of the third and final episode is unclear after the bust-up.

This is the latest in a long line of controversies which has seen the presenter offend foreign diplomats, viewers, MPs and his own bosses at the BBC.

Clarkson was put on a 'final warning' last year following a racism row after claims he used the N-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe during filming.

hnews@herald.ie

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