Top Gear Off Air As Jeremy Clarkson Is Suspended Over Fight With Producer [Updated]

The BBC’s Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is no stranger to controversy but news is emerging this evening that the BBC has suspended Clarkson over what it describes as a “fracas” with the hit show’s producer. The Independent claims that as a result of Clarkson’s suspension the popular show will not be aired as planned this coming Sunday March 15 while the BBC investigates the incident involving Clarkson. According to the Radio Times Clarkson is accused of punching the producer.

Jeremy Clarkson is an outspoken and often controversial figure and it is believed that he is already subject of a final warning about his conduct from the BBC after a string of complaints about his use of racist language. The BBC made a statement announcing Mr Clarkson’s suspension earlier this afternoon.

“Following a fracas with a BBC producer Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”

The Telegraph points out that this is the latest in a long list of incidents involving Jeremy Clarkson. Mental health charities reacted with fury after Clarkson branded people who throw themselves under trains as selfish. Clarkson was also forced to apologize after an appearance on a live BBC show during which he stated that “striking workers should be shot.”

The Mail reports that Clarkson and the motoring show’s crew were forced to flee Argentina whilst filming a special show after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The decision to cancel this weeks Top Gear will not have been taken lightly by the BBC, as it is one of the corporations flagship programs and it is a very big earner for BBC Worldwide, the public service broadcasters commercial arm. The program, which Jeremy Clarkson co-hosts with James May and Richard Hammond, is sold to networks around the world.

Top Gear is one of the BBC’s biggest money-spinners, pulling in millions of pounds from an devoted and international audience.

Its latest series was given a global launch with a simultaneous broadcast in more than 50 countries.

The structure of the show would make it impossible for this weeks episode to be broadcast without Jeremy Clarkson appearing in it. Part of the show is pre-recorded and the rest filmed before a live studio audience. It would have been impossible to cut Clarkson out of the pre-recorded parts of the show.

The BBC has yet to make an announcement as to when, or if, the show will return and we shall have to wait to find out if Jeremy Clarkson will have any part to play in it when it does.

[Photo by David Coghe/Getty Images]