‘Top Gear’ Update: Firing Jeremy Clarkson Was A Big Mistake Admits Former BBC Boss

Gearheads around the world once again feel vindicated as the former director general of the BBC, Mark Thompson, recently told The Sunday Times that firing Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear was a big mistake that the BBC“could ill afford to lose.”

The extremely popular Clarkson was fired 18 months ago after punching producer Oisin Tymon. The incident occurred when the presenter became agitated at the producer for failing to provide the trio of hosts hot food after a long day of filming the popular car aficionado program.

Apparently acting without carefully thinking about the financial big picture, the powers that be at the BBC axed the capricious host. The Telegraph reported that Tymon was suing the BBC and Clarkson, and the producer settled out of court for a paltry six-figure amount. This is nothing in comparison to the millions lost by the mass exodus of fans angered by the firing of Clarkson. In addition, Clarkson publicly apologized to the producer for punching him and for the public abuse Tymon has received for his part in this incident.

“I would like to say sorry, once again, to Oisin Tymon for the incident and its regrettable aftermath. I want to reiterate that none of this was in any way his fault. I would also like to make it clear that the abuse he has suffered since the incident is unwarranted and I am sorry too that he has had to go through that.”

The BBC, the very channel that also brought viewers Downton Abbey, The Eastenders, and Doctor Who among other highbrow entertainment, had a goldmine in Top Gear, a show that had an estimated 350 million viewers worldwide. The success of this show was astonishing, and Thompson credited Clarkson as having a special talent in relating to viewers that the BBC failed to achieve with their other programming.

“Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend. I don’t think people should punch their colleagues. It’s hard to keep them if they do. But I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose. He spoke to people who didn’t find much else in the BBC.”

A good friend of the mercurial Clarkson, Thompson, who has been the chief executive of The New York Times since 2012, was not part of the decision-making team that ousted Clarkson, nor has he indicated if anyone asked for his advice on the situation. Perhaps they should have asked for his perspective before destroying the most popular show on the BBC?

When Clarkson was fired, his Top Gear co-stars Richard Hammond and James May left the show in solidarity. While fans mourned the loss of the show, the BBC appeared to have no remorse nor any comprehension that the three hosts of Top Gear were as important as the vehicles they drove, the Stig, and the wacky, weekly driving challenges.

When the revamped show with Chris Evans (no, not hunky Captain America Evans, but British broadcaster Evans) and Joey from Friends, Matt LeBlanc, was aired, it was instantly considered a failure, and Evans was fired after the first season ended. The Guardian reported that the first episode sans Jeremy Clarkson and company was watched by 4.4 million viewers, but afterward suffered a steep decline to 2.8 million for the next episode. Top Gear, formerly the most popular show in BBC history, could no longer attract viewers.

As if this was bad enough, there are currently no official Top Gear hosts as of now. As the Inquisitr recently reported, Matt LeBlanc has still not re-signed his BBC contract and is expressing doubts about returning. He is currently starring in the new CBS sitcom, Man With A Plan. Although there has been no formal replacement named for the departed Evans, it is hard to imagine that anyone who wants to continue their career after the second season of Top Gear will throw their hat in the ring. Most likely, the discerning Top Gear fans will not welcome anyone else, unless, of course, it is Clarkson, Hammond, and May.

And what about the departed Top Gear trio of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May? The trio will soon be starring in their highly anticipated Amazon Prime series, A Grand Tour. Due to launch sometime in the fall, the new show promises beautiful locations and spectacular cars driven by the popular hosts. When they starred in Top Gear, Clarkson, Hammond, and May had some memorable escapades, including driving to the North Pole, and their harrowing trip to the very southern tip of South America. No matter the location, there is no doubt that fans of the three hosts would be happy to see their familiar faces no matter where they drive, and no matter what the name of the show is.

Are you excited to see A Grand Tour? What did you think of the first season of Top Gear?

[Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]

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