Top Gear will indeed go on without Jeremy Clarkson at the helm, according to General Director Tony Hall, and the show’s producers are looking at what direction to take the show for 2016.
The decision to go on without Clarkson didn’t come lightly, especially with the rumors that co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond would probably quit if Clarkson weren’t reinstated.
Although TopGear.com states that the co-presenters will continue the show, Top Gear might just have to go on without May and Hammond anyway.
Rumors that the co-hosts refuse to host with anyone but Clarkson came after an alleged secret meeting was held between Clarkson, May, and one of the show bosses, Andy Wilman, according to the Daily Mail. During this secret meeting, the presenters’ futures were discussed.
Despite a petition with over one million signatures asking Hall not to fire Clarkson, a petition that the Stig delivered to the BBC himself, according to Sky News, the BBC will not renew Clarkson’s Top Gear contract, according the BBC.
More specifically, Director General Tony Hall of the BBC made the decision to fire Clarkson.
Hall let Clarkson go after an investigation into a physical and verbal altercation between Clarkson and senior Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, during which Clarkson split Tymon’s lip. The show now has to figure out how to fill Clarkson’s shoes, which Hall admitted are huge shoes to fill.
Clarkson said the BBC has made a mistake by not renewing his contract, according to the Daily Mail.
“He added: ‘There was an 18-year waiting list to be in the audience of ‘Top Gear,’ but the BBC had f***** themselves.'”
The 22-season-long Top Gear earned the record for “most watched factual program” status by Guinness World Records in 2013, and it pulls in more than 350 million viewers from more than 200 territories worldwide.
Hall said that the show must go on despite Clarkson’s absence – that the network “must now look to renew ‘Top Gear’ for 2016,” according to his BBC statement. He added that they are looking into how to move forward amicably.
Top Gear producers say James May and Richard Hammond have not been affected by Clarkson’s firing, other than having to host Top Gear without Clarkson. The show hinted they will continue as co-presenters in upcoming seasons.
However, May and Hammond may have other plans since both have hinted at their own exits and both tweeted what sounded like their goodbyes to the show and fans.
Hammond said, “It’s been an incredible ride together.”
While some people took this to mean he wasn’t staying on the show, others say it was his way of saying goodbye to Clarkson and the show. Either way, Hammond hasn’t been heard from on Twitter again.
May was much more outwardly upset at Clarkson’s firing, according to the Independent. May appended the hashtag #StillUnemployed to a number of his tweets, beginning with Clarkson’s suspension on March 10.
Another indication of May’s possible departure from future shows comes from the secret meeting reportedly held between Clarkson, May, and Andy Wilman, one of the Top Gear bosses.
According to the Daily Mail, the three met to discuss their respective futures because all three are reportedly going to quit Top Gear.
No one has heard from Clarkson since his last tweet from before he was fired.
TopGear.com posted a message directed at fans on Friday, indicating the show’s producers want some input on a new direction, saying, “So go for it. The comments are open and we’re listening.”
According to the Australian, both Hammond and May are due to renew their contracts with the BBC this coming week, though there’s no official word as to whether either will do so.
[Photo Credit: Screengrab of Top Gear Official Twitter Feed]