Ex-BBC Chief Says It Was Wrong To Lose Jeremy Clarkson
When the Top Gear we loved ended in 2015 after the ‘fracas‘ between Jeremy Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon, fans of the show booed the state-owned channel as they took the beloved car show off the air.
Fans of Clarkson and his co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May believed it was the wrong choice to end the show, with their chemistry being unmatched by any other potential trio. Now, it looks as though the former chief of the network believes the same thing:
“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,” said Mark Thompson, the now-CEO of the New York Times.
“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.”
It’s safe to say that the presenters following the famous trio weren’t able to match the energy of the Top Gear we expect. Chris Evans took the top spot leading the show, but fans weren’t keen on what the BBC had come up with. This negativity eventually pushed the presenter to step down, prompting him to post on Twitter:
“Stepping down from ‘Top Gear.
“Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough. The team are beyond brilliant, I wish them all the best.”
Thompson added that his undoing was the fact he tried to copy Clarkson’s famous personality, which turned fans off straight away. He then described a moment that encapsulated Jeremy:
“Clarkson phoned up out of the blue when I was on a day off. His first words were: ‘I won’t apologise. I don’t care what you say: I won’t,’” he admitted.
“I said: ‘Er, why would I want you to apologise?’ He told me that he’d just called Gordon Brown, who was then prime minister, “a one-eyed Scottish idiot” and a ‘c—‘. We agreed that he would apologise for calling him ‘one-eyed.’”
Top Gear has finally found a rhythm with Chris Harris, Paddy McGuinness, and Freddie Flintoff, and viewing figures are slowly climbing again, plus a move to BBC’s halo channel, BBC1, has helped it take a podium place on the network while showing viewers it’s a priority.