The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec

BBC Fracas Top Gear

The Beeb waves bye bye to Clarkson with the BBC to forge ahead with Top Gear despite 'big challenge'


By John McCarthy, Opinion editor

March 25, 2015 | 4 min read

The BBC will not renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract following the conclusion of the ‘fracas’ investigation.

Top Gear programme, which brings an average of five million viewers and 350 million across the globe, will have to continue without Clarkson, whose contract will be allowed to expire this month.

The Telegraph reported that the Clarkson abused Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon for “20 minutes” before engaging in a “30 second physical assault”. Over two weeks after the ‘fracas’ occurred, BBC director general, Lord Hall confirmed the conclusion of Clarkson's departure.

The Guardian quoted a source close to the investigation saying: “There can’t be one rule for talent and one rule for ordinary human beings.”

It added that the corporation had “little alternative” but to end Clarkson’s time in charge of Top Gear after the punch up.

Although the BBC is keen to continue the show, Top Gear co-hosts James May and Jeremy Clarkson reportedly admitted they would be unwilling to continue shooting without Clarkson at the helm.

Reports of Chris Evans being lined up to take the helm also contradict a tweet he made last week stating: "Top Gear debate. I can categorically say I am not and will NEVER be running for office. Pls discount my candidacy".

Here is a full statement from BBC director general Tony Hall:

"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

"I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

"I want to make three points.

"First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

"Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

"Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

"The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series."

BBC Fracas Top Gear

Content created with:


The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London.

Find out more

More from BBC

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +