Only a few hours after it was confirmed that Jeremy Clarkson had been sacked as the presenter of Top Gear, BBC’s creative director Alan Yentob refused to rule out that the presenter might one day return to the channel.
Yentob was being interview on BBC’s Newsnight, via Variety, about the decision to sack Clarkson following his physical altercation with a Top Gear producer. But Yentob stated that there was still a chance Clarkson might one day return to the network.
Yentob was pointedly asked whether he could rule out Clarkson working for the BBC again, to which he responded, “Of course I wouldn’t rule that out, but that’s not for now.”
He then went on to explain that the future of Top Gear would be worked out by the programme’s executive producer Andy Wilman, the head of BBC Two (the station that broadcasts Top Gear in the UK) Kim Shillinglaw, and the rest of the crew.
“The question of what happens next for Top Gear is a conversation which must go on between the controller of BBC Two Kim Shillinglaw, between Andy, and the team,” Yentob explained.
Clarkson’s departure from the BBC was confirmed on Wednesday by the BBC’s director general, Tony Hall.
Following a thorough investigation into the incident earlier this month, Hall confirmed that Clarkson’s contract wasn’t going to be renewed because of his “unprovoked physical attack” on Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon.
Hall told the BBC that the station hadn’t “taken this decision lightly” admitting that it would almost certainly “divide opinion.” However he then declared that Clarkson’s sacking was the only option because “a line [had] been crossed” and he couldn’t “condone what has happened on this occasion.”
Jeremy Clarkson has helped to turn Top Gear into one of the most popular British shows in the world. Alongside Richard Hammond and James May, Clarkson rebooted the programme in 2002. He had previously hosted the original version of Top Gear since 1988.
However, he rejuvenated Top Gear in 2002 turning it into an irreverent, quirky, and humorous show that was filled with adventurous challenges and treks across the world. After its rebranding Top Gear was believed to have around 350 million viewers per week from 170 different countries across the globe.
Because of this success, Clarkson is set to have plenty of options now that he has been sacked by the BBC. But a police investigation into his verbal and physical assault of Tymon means that one of his options might already have been ruled out. If he’s criminally convicted of the assault then it will become increasingly difficult for Clarkson to acquire a work visa in the USA.
[Image via Guim]