Why Clarkson Should Go

The media and public are divided over the recent alleged fracas involving Jeremy Clarkson …

As most readers will undoubtedly be aware, Jeremy Clarkson is the lead presenter of the popular BBC television programme Top Gear. He has held this position since the programme was relaunched in 2003 after previous presenters defected to Channel 5 to launch Fifth Gear. Clarkson shares the presentation duties with Richard Hammond and James May. Since the latest fracas made news headlines, over one million people have signed a petition demanding that the BBC reinstate Clarkson and broadcast the remaining three shows of the current series that have been postponed pending their internal investigation.

However, there is a contra petition gaining considerable momentum that calls for Clarkson to be sacked by the BBC. In reality, he and his co-presenters only have a few weeks of their current contracts remaining so it would be easy for the BBC not to renew them. This latest debâcle by Clarkson is one of a long list of misdemeanours and insults over the years. In 2008 he made an ill-judged joke about prostitutes being murdered by lorry drivers. In 2009 he openly insulted the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Later that year, he suggested that TV bosses were obsessed with having black Muslim lesbians on shows in order to balance out the number of white heterosexual men. The following year, whilst discussing dangerous driving conditions on the show, Clarkson made a joke about a woman in a burka wearing a red g-string. Also in 2010, he made an ill-timed joke about disabled people and mocked homosexuality. He made headlines in late 2011 when he said that all striking public service workers should be lined up and shot in front of their families. In December of that year, he called people who threw themselves under trains as selfish, and that the train should carry on with its journey! In March 2014, he made a racist comment whilst filming in Thailand, and this was upheld by Ofcom as being deliberately offensive. Also in 2014, Clarkson was heard to use an offensive and derogatory word, and later that year, there was the Argentina incident which was almost certainly provocative.

Some might argue that everything Clarkson says is in jest. However he works for a public broadcasting corporation so is, in effect, a spokesman for the company. Furthermore, they have paid him handsomely helping him to accrue a £30m fortune. He would do well to remember that one should never bite off the hands of those who feed him! Most people found guilty of one or two of these offences would lose their job immediately but for some inexplicable reason, Clarkson manages to wriggle out of situations by making thinly-veiled apologies.

People who support him are effectively condoning his behaviour. I am astounded by the gullibility shown whereby the public think Jeremy Clarkson IS Top Gear. Let’s get one thing straight … no-one Is bigger than the programme they present. All three of the current presenter line-up see themselves as Prima Donnas and thereby lies much of the problem. They are viewed on a pedestal and senior management have been frightened to topple it. As for viewing figures, it is accepted that the programme has a reasonable weekly audience but this is far short of the number who watched the show in its heyday. The programme launched in 1977 and quickly became the definitive motoring show for new car road tests, safety, insurance, holiday touring and what to look out for when buying a used car. Other topics included corrosion, tachograph legislation, drink driving, the dangers of joyriding and the much missed British Motor Show. The programme spanned a variety of presenters, all of whom had some interest in motoring, and featured names such as Noel Edmonds, Angela Rippon, Tiff Needell and Tony Mason. Interestingly, Jeremy Clarkson was a presenter on the show throughout the 1990s when it still focused on everyday motoring. The current incarnation of Top Gear has little to do with the trials and tribulations of the type of motoring that most of us experience. Instead, it has become a vehicle for the presenters to carry out ludicrous stunts and constantly focuses on excessive speed. In other words, it has completely lost direction and needs to return to basics …

The programme has been revamped several times so I see no reason why this can’t happen again, bringing in a fresh presentation team and steering the show in a new direction. Notwithstanding all his alleged misdemeanours, Clarkson should go and take his two cohorts with him. The discerning viewer has had more than enough of their crazy antics which only portray the serious topic of motoring in a very poor light.

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One thought on “Why Clarkson Should Go

  1. Thank you, Nick – you put the case comprehensively.

    When you realise just how often Clarkson has transgressed, and how offensively, it is astounding that he is still employed with public money.

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