Born Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
11 April1960 (age 54)
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Residence Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England
Langness, Isle of Man
Education Hill HouseSchool, Doncaster
Occupation Journalist, presenter, columnist, writer
Years active Since 1988
Employer The Sun, The Sunday Times
Known for Presenting:[show]
Notable work See below
Home town Doncaster, England
Height 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Spouse(s) Alexandra James (m. 1989;div. 1990)
Frances Cain (m. 1993)
Parent(s) Shirley d.2014 and Eddie Clarkson d.1994
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster, journalist
and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for co-presenting the BBC TV
show Top Gear with Richard Hammond and James May from 2002 to 2015. He also writes
weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.
From a career as a local journalist in Northern England, Clarkson rose to public prominence as
a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, he has become a
recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own
shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced
programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000, he
also hosted his own chat show,Clarkson.
His opinionated but humorous tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often
provoked public reaction. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also
sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public. He
has also garnered a significant public following, being credited as a major factor in the
resurgence of Top Gear as one of the most popular shows on the BBC.
On 25 March 2015, the BBC announced it would not renew Clarkson's contract in the
aftermath of an incident in which he had verbally and physically attacked a Top Gear producer
over a dispute at a hotel while filming on location.
1 Personal life
o 2.1 Writing career
o 2.2 Television
3 Opinions and influence
o 3.1 Politics
o 3.2 Environment
o 3.3 Cultural mockery
o 3.4 Himself
o 3.5 Media
o 3.6 Recognition
4 Military interests
5 Engineering interests
o 6.1 Ownership
o 6.2 Likes
o 6.3 Dislikes
o 7.1 Activities on Top Gear
o 7.2 Activities outside Top Gear
o 7.3 Road safety
o 7.4 Piers Morgan feud
o 7.5 Dismissal from Top Gear
o 8.1 Presenter
o 8.2 Other roles
12 Further reading
13 External links
Clarkson was born in Doncaster, the son of Shirley Gabrielle (Ward), a teacher, and Edward
Grenville Clarkson, a travelling salesman.
His parents, who ran a business selling tea cosies,
put their son's name down in advance for private school with no idea how they were going to
pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington
Bear stuffed toys for each of their children.
These proved so popular that they started selling
them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to
attend Hill House School, Doncaster, and later Repton School.
By his own account, he was
expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of
Clarkson attended Repton alongside Formula One engineer Adrian Newey.
Clarkson played the role of a public schoolboy, Atkinson, in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial
adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels until his voice broke.
Clarkson married Alexandra James (now Hall) in 1989, but she left him for one of his friends
after six months.
In May 1993 he married his manager,
Frances Cain (daughter of VC recipient Robert Henry
Cain) in Fulham. The couple lived in Chipping Norton, in the Cotswolds, with their three
Clarkson is a member of the Chipping Norton set.
Known for buying him car-
related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's second wife bought him a Mercedes-Benz
She was reported to have filed divorce proceedings in April 2014.
In September 2010 Clarkson was granted a privacy injunction against his first wife to prevent
her from publishing claims that their sexual relationship continued after his second marriage
(see AMM v HXW). He voluntarily lifted the injunction in October 2011,
"Injunctions don’t work. You take out an injunction against somebody or some organisation
and immediately news of that injunction and the people involved and the story behind the
injunction is in a legal-free world on Twitter and the Internet. It’s pointless."
Clarkson's fondness for wearing jeans has been blamed by some for the decline in sales of
denim in the mid-1990s, particularly Levi's, because of their being associated with middle-
aged men, the so-called 'Jeremy Clarkson effect'.
After Trinny and Susannah labelled
Clarkson's dress sense as that of a market trader, he was persuaded to appear on their
fashion makeover show What Not to Wear to avoid being considered for their all-time worst
dressed winner award.
Their attempts at restyling Clarkson were rebuffed, and Clarkson
stated he would rather eat his own hair than appear on the show again.
For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in
November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of
his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar, a
container for preserved fruit.
Clarkson is a fan of the rock band Genesis and attended the band's reunion concert
at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. He also provided sleeve notes for the reissue of the
album Selling England by the Pound as part of the Genesis 1970–1975 boxset.
Clarkson was involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across
the grounds of his second home, a converted lighthouse, on the Isle of Man from 2005 to
2010, after reports that dogs had attacked and killed sheep on the property.
his wife had claimed that four sheep were deliberately killed after being chased into the sea by
a dog let off its lead.
He lost the dispute after the Isle of Man government held a public
inquiry, and was told to re-open the footpath.
The decision was affirmed by the Isle of Man
Clarkson's first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington
He later trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser, before also writing
for the Rochdale Observer,Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Life and the
Associated Kent Newspapers.
In 1984, Clarkson formed the Motoring Press Agency (MPA), in which, with fellow motoring
journalist Jonathan Gill, he conducted road tests for local newspapers and automotive
magazines. This developed into pieces for publications such as Performance Car.
regularly written for Top Gear magazine since its launch in 1993.
Clarkson writes regular columns in the tabloid newspaper The Sun, and for
the broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times. His columns in the Times are republished
in The Weekend Australian newspaper. He also writes for the "Wheels" section of the Toronto
Clarkson has written humorous books about cars and several other subjects. Many of his
books are collections of articles that he has written for The Sunday Times.
Clarkson with his fellow Top Gearpresenters, Richard Hammond andJames May
Clarkson's first major television role came as one of the presenters on the British motoring
programme Top Gear, from 27 October 1988 to 3 February 2000,
in the programme's earlier
format, and then again in a new format from 20 October 2002 to 8 March 2015.
co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond, he is credited with turning Top Gear into
the most-watched TV show on BBC Two,
rebroadcast to over 100 countries around the
Clarkson presented the first series UK version of Robot Wars.
His talk show, Clarkson,
comprised 27 half-hour episodes aired in the United Kingdom between November 1998 and
December 2000, and featured guest interviews with musicians, politicians and television
personalities. Clarkson went on to present documentaries focused on non-motoring themes
such as history and engineering, although the motoring shows and videos continued.
Alongside his stand-alone shows, many mirror the format of his newspaper columns and
books, combining his love of driving and motoring journalism, with the examination and
expression of his other views on the world, such as in Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, Jeremy
Clarkson's Car Years and Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours.
Clarkson's views are often showcased on television shows. In 1997, Clarkson appeared on the
light-hearted comedy show Room 101, in which a guest nominates things they hate in life to
be consigned to nothingness. Clarkson dispatched caravans, houseflies, the sitcom Last of the
Summer Wine, the mentality within golf clubs, and vegetarians. He has made several
appearances on the prime time talk shows Parkinson and Friday Night with Jonathan
Ross since 2002. By 2003, his persona was deemed to fit the mould for the series Grumpy
Old Men, in which middle-aged men talk about any aspects of modern life which irritate them.
Since the topical news panel show Have I Got News for You dismissed regular host Angus
Deayton in October 2002, Clarkson has become one of the most regularly used guest
hosts on the show. Clarkson has appeared as a panellist on the political current affairs
television show Question Time twice since 2000.
In 2007, Clarkson won the National Television Awards Special Recognition Award. Also in
2007, it was reported that Clarkson earned £1 million a year for his role as a Top
Gear presenter, and a further £1.7 million from books, DVDs and newspaper columns.
In 2007, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were the first people to reach the North
Magnetic Pole in a car, chronicled in Top Gear: Polar Special.
In 2008, Clarkson sustained
minor injuries to his legs, back and hand in an intentional collision with a brick wall while
making the 12th series of Top Gear.
In 2014 he received £4.8 million dividend and £8.4 million share buyout from BBC Worldwide,
bringing his estimated income for the year to more than £14 million.
Opinions and influence
Clarkson is in favour of personal freedom and against government regulation, stating that
government should "build park benches and that is it. They should leave us alone."
He has a
particular contempt for theHealth and Safety Executive. He often criticised
the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, especially what he calls the 'ban'
culture, frequently fixating on the bans on smoking and 2004 ban on fox hunting. In April 2013,
Clarkson was among 2,000 invited guests to the funeral of Conservative Prime
Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Clarkson's comments have both a large number of supporters and opponents. He often
comments on the media-perceived social issues of the day such as the fear of challenging
adolescent youths, known as 'hoodies'. In 2007 Clarkson was cleared of allegations of
assaulting a hoodie while visiting central Milton Keynes, after Thames Valley Police said that if
anything, he had been the victim.
In the five-part seriesJeremy Clarkson: Meets the
Neighbours he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-Type, examining (and in some cases
reinforcing) his stereotypes of other countries.
As a motoring journalist, he is frequently critical of government initiatives such as the London
congestion charge or proposals on road charging. He is also frequently scornful of
caravanners and cyclists. He has often singled out John Prescott the former Transport
Minister, and Stephen Joseph
the head of the public transport pressure group Transport
2000 for ridicule.
In September 2013 a tweet proposing that he might stand for election as an independent
candidate in Doncaster North, the constituency of the current Labour leader of the
opposition, Ed Miliband, excited much interest in the press.
Clarkson is unsympathetic to the green movement and has little respect for groups such
as Greenpeace—he believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade
unionists and CND lesbians" who had found a more relevant cause
—but "loves the
destination" of environmentalism and believes that people should quietly strive to be more
Regarding windfarms, he says that in the future, they will be described as "a
reminder of the time when mankind temporarily took leave of its senses and decided wind,
waves and lashings of tofu could somehow generate enough electricity for the whole
Clarkson has voiced some views regarding global warming: he believes that higher
temperatures are not necessarily negative and that anthropogenic carbon dioxide production
has a negligible effect on the global climate,
but is aware of the negative potential
consequences of global warming, saying "let's just stop and think for a moment what the
consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed
away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?"
In an attempt to prove the press and public furore over the 2007 UK child benefit data
scandal was a fuss about nothing, he published his own bank account number and sort code,
together with instructions on how to find out his address, in The Sun newspaper, expecting
nobody to be able to remove money from his account. He later discovered that someone had
set up a monthly direct debit for £500 to Diabetes UK.
See also: Top Gear controversies
Clarkson has been very critical of the Special Relationship between the United States and the
He referred to the USA as the United States of Total Paranoia,
commenting that one needs a permit to do everything except for purchasing weapons.
Whilst Clarkson states such views in his columns and in public appearances, his public
persona does not necessarily represent his personal views, as he acknowledged whilst
interviewing Alastair Campbell saying "I don't believe what I write, any more than you (Alastair
Campbell) believe what you say".
Clarkson has been described as a "skilful propagandist for the motoring lobby" by The
With a forthright and sometimes deadpan delivery, Clarkson is said to thrive on
the notoriety his public comments bring, and has risen to the level of the bête noire of the
various groups who disagree with his views. On the Channel 4 organised viewer poll, for
the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate programme, Clarkson polled in 66th place. By 2005,
Clarkson was perceived by the press to have upset so many people and groups, The
Independent put him on trial for various 'crimes', declaring him guilty on most counts.
Responses to Clarkson's comments are often directed personally, with derogatory comments
about residents of Norfolk leading to some residents organising a "We hate Jeremy Clarkson"
club. In The Guardian's2007 'Media 100' list, which lists the top 100 most "powerful people in
the [media] industry", based on cultural, economic and political influence in the UK, Clarkson
was listed as a new entrant at 74th. Some critics even attribute Clarkson's actions and views
as being influential enough to be responsible for the closure of Rover and
the Luton manufacturing plant of Vauxhall.
Clarkson's comments about Rover prompted
workers to hang an "Anti-Clarkson Campaign" banner outside the defunct Longbridge plant in
its last days.
The BBC often plays down his comments as ultimately not having the weight they are
ascribed. In 2007 they described Clarkson as "Not a man given to considered opinion",
in response to an official complaint another BBC spokeswoman once said: "Jeremy's colourful
comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC.
More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye."
On his chat show, Clarkson, he caused upset to the Welsh by placing a 3D plastic map of
Wales into a microwave oven and switching it on. He later defended this by saying, "I put
Wales in there because Scotland wouldn't fit."
In 2005, Clarkson received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Oxford
His views on the environment precipitated a small demonstration at the
award ceremony for his honorary degree, when Clarkson was pied by road protester Rebecca
Clarkson took this incident in good humour, responding 'good shot' and subsequently
referring to Lush as "Banana girl".
Clarkson has spoken in support of hydrogen cars.
In 2008, an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make
Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An
opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime
Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime
Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns.
In their official response to the
petition, Number 10 agreed with Clarkson's comments.
In response to the reactions he gets, Clarkson has stated "I enjoy this back and forth, it makes
the world go round but it is just opinion."
On the opinion that his views are influential enough
to topple car companies, he has argued that he has proof that he has had no influence. "When
I said that the Ford Orion was the worst car ever it went on to become a best-selling car."
Clarkson was ranked 49th on Motor Trend Magazine's Power List for 2011, its list of the fifty
most influential figures in the automotive industry.
Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces and several of his DVDs and
television shows have featured a military theme, whether it be flying in military jets or several
Clarkson focused Top Gear spots having a military theme such as Clarkson escaping
a Challenger 2 tank in a Range Rover, a Lotus Exige evading missile lock from
an Apache attack helicopter, a platoon of Irish Guardsmen shooting at a Porsche
Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK, or using a Ford Fiesta as a Royal Marine landing craft.
Clarkson visited British troops in Baghdad in October 2005.
Clarkson presented a programme looking at recipients of the Victoria Cross, in particular
focusing on his father-in-law, Robert Henry Cain, who received a VC for actions during
the Battle of Arnhem in World War II.
In 2007, Clarkson wrote and presented Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time, a
documentary about the World War II Operation Chariot, a 1942 Commando raid on the docks
of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France. At the end of 2007 Clarkson became a patron of Help for
a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded
British servicemen. His effort led to the 2007 Christmas appeal inThe Sunday
Times supporting Help for Heroes.
Clarkson is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work. In Inventions That
Changed the World Clarkson showcased the invention of the gun, computer, jet engine,
telephone and television. He has previously criticised the engineering feats of the 20th century
as merely improvements on the truly innovative inventions of the Industrial Revolution. He
cites the lack of any source of alternative power for cars, other than by "small explosions".
In Great Britons, as part of a public poll to find the greatest historical Briton, Clarkson was the
chief supporter for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a prominent engineer during the Industrial
Revolution credited with numerous innovations. Despite this, he also has a passion for many
modern examples of engineering. In Speed and Extreme Machines Clarkson rides and
showcases numerous vehicles and machinery. Clarkson was awarded an honorary degree
from Brunel University on 12 September 2003, partly because of his work in popularising
engineering, and partly because of his advocacy of Brunel.
In his book, I Know You Got Soul he describes many machines that he believes possess
a soul. He cited the Concorde crash as his inspiration, feeling a sadness for the demise of the
machine as well as the passengers. Clarkson was a passenger on the last BA Concorde flight
on 24 October 2003. Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong he described the retirement of the fleet as
"This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind".
He briefly acquired an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter XM172, which was installed in
the front garden of his country home. The Lightning was subsequently removed on the orders
of the local council, which "wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower", according to
Clarkson on a Tiscali Motoring webchat. In fact, the whole affair was set up for his
programme Speed, and the Lightning is now back serving as gate guardian at Wycombe Air
Park (formerly RAF Booker).
In a Top Gear episode, Clarkson drove the Bugatti Veyron in a race across Europe against
a Cessna private aeroplane. The Veyron was an £850,000 technology demonstrator project
built by Volkswagen to become the fastest production car, but a practical road car at the same
time. In building such an ambitious machine, Clarkson described the project as "a triumph for
lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over
absolutely every other car maker in the world."
After winning the race, Clarkson announced
that "It's quite a hollow victory really, because I've got to go for the rest of my life knowing that
I'll never own that car. I'll never experience that power again."
Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder once owned by Clarkson
Clarkson owns or has owned:
Range Rover TDV8 Vogue SE
Lotus Elise 111S
Mercedes-Benz 600 Grosser
Mercedes-Benz SLK55 AMG
Mercedes CLK63 AMG Black
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster
BMW M3 CSL
Aston Martin Virage
Volkswagen Scirocco 1
Volkswagen Scirocco 2
Ford Escort RS Cosworth
Clarkson wanted to purchase the Ford GT after admiring its inspiration, the Ford GT40 race
cars of the 1960s. Clarkson was able to secure a place on the shortlist for the few cars that
would be imported to Britain to official customers, only through knowing Ford's head
of PR through a previous job. After waiting years and facing an increased price, he found
many technical problems with the car. After "the most miserable month's motoring possible,"
he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for
advice over the Internet, he bought back his GT. He called it "the most unreliable car ever
made", because he was never able to complete a return journey with it.
In 2006 Clarkson
ordered a Gallardo Spyder and sold the Ford GT to make way for it. In August 2008 he sold
the Gallardo because "idiots in Peugeots kept trying to race [him] in it".
In October, he
announced that he had sold his Volvo XC90. In January 2009, in a review of the car printed
in The Times, he wrote: "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is
this: it takes six children to school in the morning."
The Lexus LFA, considered by Clarkson to be the best car he has ever driven
Clarkson has spoken very highly of the Czech-made Škoda Yeti, calling it possibly the best car
in the world; and used 20 minutes of a Top Gear episode putting the Yeti through a number of
challenges to support his point.
Clarkson called the Brera, Alfa's latest sports car, "Cameron
Diaz on wheels".
Clarkson has expressed fondness for late-model V8 Holdens, available in
the UK rebadged as Vauxhalls. Of the Monaro he said, "It's like they had a picture of me on
their desk and said [Australian accent] 'Let's build that bloke a car!'" and "I can't believe it...
I've fallen in love... with a Vauxhall!"
Clarkson suffered two slipped discs that he attributed to
driving the Monaro, which he described as being "back-breakingly marvellous".
considers the Lexus LFA as the best car he has ever driven.
Clarkson expressed disdain forRover, including its Rover 75 model
One of Clarkson's most infamous dislikes was of the British car brand Rover, the last major
British owned and built car manufacturer. This view stretched back to the company's time as
part of British Leyland. Describing the history of the company up to its last flagship model,
the Rover 75, he paraphrased Winston Churchill and stated "Never in the field of human
endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many," citing issues with the rack and
pinion steering system. In the latter years of the company Clarkson blamed the "uncool" brand
image as being more of a hindrance to sales than any faults with the cars. On its demise,
Clarkson stated "I cannot even get teary and emotional about the demise of the company itself
– though I do feel sorry for the workforce." Jeremy is also famous for his hatred for the Toyota
Clarkson is also well known for his criticism of Vauxhalls
and has described Vauxhall's
parent company, General Motors, as a "pensions and healthcare" company which sees the
"car making side of the business as an expensive loss-making nuisance".
expressed particular disdain for the Vauxhall Vectra, describing it as:
"One of my least favourite cars in the world. I've always hated it because I've always felt it was
designed in a coffee break by people who couldn't care less about cars" and "one of the worst
chassis I've ever come across."
After a Top Gear piece by Clarkson for its launch in 1995, described by The Independent as
"not doing [GM] any favours",
Vauxhall complained to the BBC and announced, "We can
take criticism but this piece was totally unbalanced."
Clarkson's comments and actions have sometimes resulted in complaints from viewers, car
companies, and national governments.
Activities on Top Gear
Main article: Top Gear controversies
In 2004, the BBC apologised unreservedly and paid £250 in compensation to
a Somerset parish council, after Clarkson damaged a 30-year-old horse-chestnut tree by
driving into it to test the strength of a Toyota Hilux.
In December 2006, the BBC complaints
department upheld the complaint of four Top Gear viewers that Clarkson had used the phrase
"ginger beer" (rhyming slang for "queer") in a derogatory manner, when Clarkson picked up on
and agreed with an audience member's description of the Daihatsu Copen as being a bit
The Top Gear: Polar Special was criticised by the BBC Trust for glamorising drink
driving in a scene showing Clarkson and James May in a vehicle, despite Clarkson saying to
the camera "And please do not write to us about drinking and driving, because I am not driving
I am sailing" (as they were on top of international, frozen waters).
They stated the scene
"was not editorially justified" despite occurring outside the jurisdiction of any drink-driving laws.
In a later incident during a Top Gear episode broadcast on 13 November 2005, Clarkson,
while talking about a Mini design that might be "quintessentially German", made a mock Nazi
salute, and made references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland by
setting the GPS system to Poland.
In November 2008, Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked
about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.
The BBC stated the comment was a comic
rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer's
expectation of Clarkson's Top Gear persona.
Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament
for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a "strongly worded" letter to
BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked.
dismissed Mole's comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing,
"There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant
middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show."
Andrew Tinkler, chief
executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that "They were just
having a laugh. It's the 21st century, let's get our sense of humour in line."
In July 2009, Clarkson was reported to have called Prime Minister Brown "a silly cunt" during a
warm-up while recording a Top Gear show. Although several newspapers reported that he had
subsequently argued with BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow,
who was present at the
recording, the BBC denied that he had been given a "dressing down".
Conservative chair of the Culture Select Committeeremarked: "Many people will find that
offensive, many people will find that word in particular very offensive [...] I am surprised he felt
it appropriate to use it."
On 6 July 2010, Clarkson reportedly angered gay rights campaigners after he made a remark
on Top Gear that did not get aired on the 4 July's episode. But guest Alastair Campbell wrote
about it on Twitter. Clarkson apparently said he "Demanded the right not to get bummed". The
BBC later said that they cut this remark out as they "edited down" the interview as it was too
long to fit into the show.
In an episode aired after the watershed on 1 August 2010,
Clarkson described a Ferrari F430 as "special needs". He said the car owned by co-presenter
James May looked "like a simpleton". Media regulator Ofcom investigated after receiving two
complaints, and found that the comments "were capable of causing offence" but did not
censure the BBC.
On 12 January 2012, the Indian High Commission lodged a formal complaint with the BBC
over the "tasteless" antics of Clarkson's Top Gear Christmas special where he mocked India's
culture and people. During the 90-minute special, which was aired twice over the Christmas
break, Clarkson made a string of jokes about Indian food, clothes, toilets, trains and
On an episode of Top Gear broadcast on 5 February 2012, Clarkson compared a
Japanese car/camper van to a person with a growth on their face. A major UK charity that
supports people with facial disfigurements, Changing Faces, complained to the BBC
and Ofcomafter Clarkson's remarks.
In an unused take for a Top Gear feature recorded in early 2013, Clarkson is alleged to have
mumbled the ethnic slur "nigger" when repeating the children's rhyme Eeny, meeny, miny,
moe. The clip later surfaced on the website of the Daily Mirror tabloid at the beginning of May
In the take, Clarkson attempts to mumble the sentence so as to obscure the word,
but admitted that upon a close listening, the word could still be heard. Clarkson apologised for
his efforts not being "quite good enough" to ensure the footage was not used.
reported on 3 May, that the BBC had given Clarkson a final warning, with the presenter
accepting that he will be sacked if he makes another offensive remark.
Near the end of the Top Gear: Burma Special, which aired March 2014, Clarkson
and Hammond were seen admiring a wooden bridge, which they had built during the episode.
Clarkson is quoted as saying "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it." as a native
crosses the bridge, 'slope' being a pejorative for Asians. Top Gear Executive Producer Andy
Wilman responded: "When we used the word slope in the recentTop Gear Burma Special it
was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local
Asian man who was crossing it. We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been
brought to our attention, that the word slope is considered by some to be offensive"
October 2014, Clarkson attracted controversy when filming the Top Gear: Patagonia
Special after driving a Porsche 928 in Argentina with the licence plate H982 FKL, allegedly
referring to the Falklands War.
Also, during the broadcast itself, Clarkson was seen
referring to the controversy that had risen after the Burma Special; when inspecting a bridge,
which he and his colleagues had built during the episode, he was quoted as saying "That is a
proud moment, Hammond, but… is it straight?"
Activities outside Top Gear
In October 1998, Hyundai complained to the BBC about what they described as "bigoted and
racist" comments he made at the Birmingham Motor Show, where he was reported as saying
that the people working on the Hyundai stand had "eaten a dog" and that the designer of
the Hyundai XG had probably eaten a spaniel for his lunch. Clarkson also allegedly referred to
those working on the BMW stand as "Nazis", although BMW said they would not be
In April 2007, he was criticised in the Malaysian parliament for having described one of their
cars, the Perodua Kelisa, as the worst in the world, "its name was like a disease and
suggested it was built in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes". A Malaysian
government minister countered, pointing out that no complaints had been received from UK
customers who had bought the car.
While in Australia, Clarkson made disparaging remarks aimed at the British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown, in February 2009, calling him a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and accused him of
lying. These comments were widely condemned by the Royal National Institute of Blind
People and also Scottish politicians who requested that he should be taken off air.
subsequently apologised for referencing Brown's monocular blindness, but insisted: "I haven't
apologised for calling him an idiot."
His 4 September 2011 column for The Sun newspaper drew angry remarks
in response to
Clarkson's call to abolish the Welsh language: "I think we are fast approaching the time when
the United Nations should start to think seriously about abolishing other languages. What's the
point of Welsh for example? All it does is provide a silly maypole around which a bunch of
hotheads can get all nationalistic."
Wikinews has related
news:'Have them all
shot': BBC gets 21,000+
complaints over Jeremy
On 30 November 2011 while being interviewed on the BBC's The One Show, Clarkson
commented on the UK's public sector strike that day, lauding the capital's empty roads. After
mentioning the BBC's need for balance, he said, "I would take them outside and execute them
in front of their families." The programme later apologised for his remarks, with further
apologies issued by Clarkson and the BBC.
These remarks had attracted 21,335
complaints to the BBC within 36 hours; the BBC also received 314 messages of support for
Clarkson was criticised by the mental health charity Mind for his 3 December 2011 column
for The Sun, in which he described those who jump in front of trains as "Johnny Suicide" and
argues that following a death, trains should carry on their journeys as soon as possible. He
adds: "The train cannot be removed nor the line re-opened until all of the victim's body has
been recovered. And sometimes the head can be half a mile away from the feet." ... "Change
the driver, pick up the big bits of what's left of the victim, get the train moving as quickly as
possible and let foxy woxy and the birds nibble away at the smaller, gooey parts that are far
away or hard to find."
Clarkson often discusses high speed driving on public roads, criticising road safety campaigns
involving cameras and speed bumps. In 2002, a Welsh Assembly Member Alun Pugh wrote to
BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about Clarkson's comments that he believed
encouraged people to use Welsh roads as a high speed test track. A BBC spokesman said
that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".
Clarkson has also
made similar comments about driving in Lincolnshire.
As of 2004 Clarkson was reported as
having a clean licence.
In a November 2005 Times article, Clarkson wrote on the Bugatti
Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I
ran out of road when the needle hit 240 mph," and "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the
size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you
simply wouldn't believe me."
In 2007, solicitor Nick Freeman represented Clarkson against
a charge of driving at 86 mph in a 50 mph zone on the A40 road in London, defeating it on the
basis that the driver of the car loaned to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo could not be
In 2008, Clarkson claimed in a talk at the Hay Festival to have been given a
speeding ticket for driving at 186 mph on the A1203 Limehouse Link road in London.
Piers Morgan feud
In March 2004 at the British Press Awards, he swore at Piers Morgan and punched him before
being restrained by security; Morgan says it has left him with a scar above his left
On 22 March 2015, Morgan declared the feud to be finally over, claiming that a
truce had been called with Clarkson in a chance encounter with him in a pub in Kensington.
Dismissal from Top Gear
In March 2015 Clarkson was suspended by the BBC from Top Gear following a "fracas" with
one of the show's producers.
It emerged that Clarkson had been involved in a dispute over
catering while filming on location in Hawes, North Yorkshire.
Clarkson had been offered
soup and a cold meat platter, instead of the steak he wanted, because the hotel chef had gone
The BBC announced that the next episode of the show would not be broadcast on 15
It was later announced through the BBC's website that the network would be likely to
drop the remaining two episodes of the series as well in the wake of the incident, which
involved Clarkson punching producer Oisin Tymon.
Clarkson's contract with the BBC
expires at the end of March, and a three-year renewal will not be signed.
A Change.org petition, aiming to reverse the BBC decision, was started on 10 March by
blogger Guido Fawkes.
The petition reached its target 1,000,000 signatures by the
afternoon of 20 March, and was delivered to the BBC in a FV433 Abbot SPG AFV by a man
dressed as Top Gear test driver The Stig, with Fawkes as spokesman.
The hosting website
described the petition as the fastest-growing campaign in its history.
On 19 March, at a charity auction at the Roundhouse in Camden, North London, Clarkson
launched into a verbal tirade against BBC studio bosses related to his suspension from the
programme, saying "The BBC have fucked themselves."
He later stated that this was
"meant in jest".
On 25 March 2015, the BBC released an official statement confirming that, as a result of the
actions which led to his suspension, they would not be renewing his contract with the
Following the statement,North Yorkshire Police requested to view the report and
stated that "action will be taken by North Yorkshire police where necessary".
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