The BBC’s hit TV show Top Gear is one of the best car shows… in the world. It is so popular, that there are many adaptations broadcasted across the globe. Some say that modern YouTube channels and other car shows are essentially modeled after its popular format. The current format of Top Gear was introduced in 2002 with the three original hosts — Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and Jason Dawe with Andy Wilman as the producer. The second season saw Dawe being dropped in favor of James May, and the team then went on to create automotive television history.
The Top Gear production over the years came under scrutiny for various reasons that caused major controversies. Jeremy Clarkson’s tongue-in-cheek humor was an acquired taste. In 2015 however, Top Gear was updated with a new panel of hosts that caused quite a stir around the globe. We can now reveal the real reason for the BBC to revamp the show entirely and why Jeremy Clarkson left the show.
The Many Controversies Around Top Gear
Jeremy Clarkson has always been a person closely associated with multiple controversies over his career. In 2004, he had a physical altercation with a TV personality, where Clarkson punched Piers Morgan and was then escorted out by security during a BBC Press Award ceremony.
Clarkson and his Top Gear co-hosts were also a part of the major outrage following comments that were deemed to be insulting towards Mexicans during the show's 'News' segment discussing the Mastretta sports car.
In 2014, Clarkson was caught on air saying the N-word under his breath reciting the nursery rhyme “eeny, meeny, miny, mo” in his comparison test between the Toyota GT 86 and the Subaru BRZ. When this clip was published by the Daily Mirror, there was widespread outrage, and some demanded the BBC take swift action. However, at this point, the BBC decided to give Clarkson another chance following an apology.
While filming a special episode in Burma, in a scene where Clarkson commented that the bridge he was looking at had “a slope on it”. The word "Slope" is a racists slur for Asian people. This incident also caused outrage online.
In the trio's final season at the show, the Patagonia Special made headlines for the wrong reasons as well. However, it was reported that Clarkson was found to be at no fault for creating the issue that forced the entire production team to flee Argentina for their lives.
Clarkson’s offensive comments both on and off the air over the years made the BBC question whether Clarkson should continue to host the show. However, the 'Fracas' seemed to be the final straw for the BBC.
Jeremy Clarkson’s Infamous “Fracas”
In March 2015, Clarkson was on set, filming for series 22 of the show. While it seemed to be any other day to film a Top Gear episode, it turned out to be anything but. After a long day’s filming, the production team arrived at their overnight halt. However, as it was late, it is reported that the staff at the hotel had left for the evening. Meaning the food that was prepared had gone cold. Reportedly, only meat and cheese platters were left. An argument between Clarkson and production team member, Oisin Tymon got out of hand. In a fit of range, Clarkson punched Tymon in the face. The incident the global media infamously called the “Fracas” broke out, followed by another outrage.
It was later reported that Clarkson lost his temper at a time when he was dealing with the news given to him by his doctors. It is said that the British TV presenter had recently received the news that a lump on his tongue was cancerous. Thankfully, however, it was not the case.
Clarkson’s offensive comments both on and off the air made the BBC question whether Clarkson should continue to host the show. However, the 'Fracas' seemed to be the final straw. The BBC decided to not renew Clarkson’s contract any further meaning that he would no longer be a part of Top Gear. The fracas took place in the middle of the 22nd series of the show with a few episodes still left to film. On 28 June 2015, two final films that had already been filmed were aired as episode 8 of the series. While Clarkson was in the films, only James May and Richard Hammond hosted the show from the studio.
The Aftermath Of Jeremy Clarkson’s Fracas
Top Gear was Clarkson’s baby as he would like to call it. However, he recalls the result of the incident “was my own silly fault" in an interview on BBC Radio 2.
However, after Clarkson’s departure, his fellow hosts, Hammond and May subsequently followed him in solidarity. Members of the production team, including producer Andy Wilman, also left the BBC.
The same team started Amazon’s hit car show, The Grand Tour. Furthermore, the trio has also released other shows with Amazon such as James May, "Our Man In Japan", "Oh Cook", Clarkson’s Farm among others. Richard Hammond also started a show about his new classic car restoration garage on Discovery.
Sources: BBC, Amazon