‘Top Gear’ To Continue Without Clarkson? Richard Hammond And James May Reportedly Say No

Richard Hammond and James May might be looking for work, after all.

According to The Independent, both Hammond and May have expressed sadness over the loss of Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the popular trio that hosted BBC’s Top Gear show. Clarkson was fired after a BBC inquiry determined Clarkson punched show producer Oisin Tymon and blamed him for the lack of hot food during a shoot.

Hammond kept his answer most succinct, posting his response to Clarkson’s sacking by saying, “Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.”

James May was less reserved and a bit more emotional. “I don’t want to talk about that too much. I think we’re very much the three of us as a package, it works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand. So that will require a lot of careful thought.”

It was reported earlier, but never verified, that both Hammond and May would not do Top Gear unless Clarkson was returned to duty. It seems now that both men have thought better of their previous decision, as talks are still ongoing, but no resolution has been reached or announced.

The Wrap is reporting that during BBC Director General Tony Hall’s announcment of Clarkson’s firing, he did say that the BBC “must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016,” which he admitted “will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise.”

Top Gear has been on television since 1997, when it began as a small car show on BBC Midlands. With ratings falling down quickly, Clarkson and May were brought in during the 1999 season. Hammond completed the trio when Top Gear went to the BBC in 2002. The show’s popularity has been increasing ever since.

During the 2006 season of Top Gear, however, Hammond almost lost his life in a dragster crash being taped for the show. The dragster, Vampire, had been driven by Hammond six times, but a seventh was needed for more footage. At speeds of 288 miles an hour, the right front tire exploded, and one of the two stopping parachutes left the vehicle. The jet-powered car rolled, smashing Hammond’s helmet into the ground, causing cranial and left eye damage.

The investigation of the crash by the Health and Safety department revealed that Hammond correctly tried to slow the car and turn into the spin, but the force was too great. Hammond returned to Top Gear barely four months later, were he was greeted with a hero’s welcome. After that show, he asked that the crash never be brought up again.

[Image courtesy of Radio Times]