BBC drops Clarkson from Top Gear

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The bombshell has been delivered and so closes another chapter of Top Gear. The show existed before Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond but the big question might be, will it exist after?

The show experienced incredible success due in large part to the chemistry between the three hosts. Top Gear’s international offerings have had nice editing, content and frivolity but they haven’t equaled the success of the UK version and I’m inclined to believe that much of that is really down to the people.

Alec Baldwin has had more outrageous commentaries and activities and still US media seem to employ him with reckless abandon so the non-renewal of Clarkson’s contract (which I read was up in March) is a bit odd—that is unless there are much bigger issues between the BBC and the presenter that are proving untenable.

When the news broke that Clarkson had hurled insults and punched a producer, the media was quick to not only recount the event but also embed videos of Clarkson’s more dubious moments and comments. The stories I read were like a hit list or rap sheet of everything Clarkson has done that is or could be considered offensive.

If I held that list up to some of the things Ricky Gervais or David Mitchell or the UK’s beloved Stephen Fry have said—I’m not quite sure where the media are drawing the line. I suspect there are bigger issues at play as the BBC knows Clarkson is controversial, that’s why they hired him.

Assaulting someone is never a good idea and while the verbal insults and physical violence is something I’m assuming Clarkson wishes he would not have done, it seems like it would be something that could have been worked out between the three parties.

Having said that, violence at the workplace is never the answer and they do have consequences—in Clarkson’s case, a loss of a job. The show, as we have known it, will not be the same as social media is quick to point out but I also find the “shock” and “surprise” by Huffington Post and others a bit patronizing if I’m honest.

A quick onslaught of tweets and Facebook posts supporting Oisin Tymon, the BBC producer and recipient of Clarkson’s tangible anger, were led by headlines of us “weeping for Humanity” due to the vile things being said on Twitter about said producer (which they must have later changed the headline as that may, and I say “may” have been a little over the top?). Really?

When was anyone at the Huffington Post surprised by commentary on Twitter? Have we all not learned the first three lessons about social media?

1) It is a mobocracy
2) It is a digital version of high school
3) It is a real-time example of the bravery of being out of range

Many folks who feign disgust, shock and surprise about the idiotic things being said about Tymon on Twitter are as disingenuous as those saying them. Do us all a favor and stop being a dork and tweeting acidic things about Tymon and for the rest of you, stop the piety and mock-surprise of seeing these inane comments on Twitter. Let’s be adults here shall we?

The fact is, I think the BBC have had a difficult time of late in handling Clarkson’s presence on the network and equally, I think Clarkson has had a bum-full of the BBC’s warnings they’ve given him when he stepped over the line—contextually speaking of course because I’ve no way to know if Clarkson feels that anything he’s done is, indeed, over the line. I am sure he regrets his actions with Tymon but in the end, you can’t have people at the office clubbing each other and hurling racial slurs because they didn’t get a steak. Seems like there is a much bigger undertow here to me and who knows? Maybe Jezza is going through personal issues that are making things difficult to manage emotionally? It’s all conjecture.

Regarding the “shocking” Internet that has seen “death threats” for Tymon, William Shatner tried to weigh in with a tweet regarding Clarkson’s future suggesting that he’ll find another network in which to ply his trade. The former Star Trek actor was immediately pounced upon with all kinds of vile tweets. Wonder if HuffPo will run a story about how humanity should weep for these puerile comments? Surely social justice has no limits right?

In the end, Top Gear will most assuredly be different. The show has a very talented staff of writers and producers and with new talent, they’ll forge ahead. What is also clear is that IF Clarkson, May and Hammond go elsewhere, the BBC will have stiff competition.

The BBC will have to work very hard to gain my attention with a new top Gear. It’s not that I am not open-minded, hell I watched the American version for several episodes before realizing that I have work to do elsewhere like typing, sorting papers and such.

It’s simply that the chemistry between Hammond, Clarkson and May is the bottled lightning in the BBC Top Gear arsenal and I am sure every writer and producer feels they can overcome that and they very well may but it will be an uphill climb and one they will probably get energized by. Best of luck to them all. So what time is the new Clarkson, Hammond and May show going to be on again? Need to set the DVR to record the season.

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gsprings

kinda brings to mind Charlie sheen and three and a half men, how that went down, a little anyways

Andreas

It was bound to happen at some point or other – the whisper is that Clarkson had powerful enemies wishing to get rid of him, due to several incidents (the rap sheet you mentioned). Even so, punching a co-worker is usually a no-no in any organization (as in life in general, I should add). So BBC2 is looking to replace him for next season, and continue the show with or without Hammond and May, who I agree are as essential to the stew that was Top Gear mk2 as the tall oaf. I predict they three of them will turn… Read more »

xorpheous

If I physically assaulted a co-worker, I can’t imagine that I would have a job a nanosecond after news of the incident reached HR.

Kelly O

You college instructors are just soft….

Paul KieferJr

The United States Federal Government does not tolerate violence in the workplace. Period. End of story. Consequences:

1. Loss of job.
2. Criminal charges

If anyone wants to go against that, be my guest. Pardon me if I won’t have any sympathy for that sort of thing.

Kelly O

I’m wondering if the article I saw listing Chris Evans (not Captain America Chris Evans, some other British guy) is true, because I would have to see the other presenters to know how I’d feel about it. I also saw an article suggesting Clarkson might make for Netflix, which would be interesting to see play out. I don’t want to cast aspersions on whoever might come on to replace. I was hesitant about the US version until they got in their own groove, stopped trying to copy the UK version so much (so long “Big Star, Small Car” – no… Read more »

Daniel Johnson

I thought Neftlix before seeing any articles. It just makes too much sense. They dropped 100 mil before they even shot a pilot on house of cards, so they have the money to support it. They also have the international presence that would give it almost a better platform than BBC2.

Daniel Johnson

If I’m remembering correctly BBC is publicly funded, which is why they might be willing to part ways with someone who is difficult to work with. In the US we have many examples of actors or tv personalities who are impossible to work with but keep getting jobs.

He’s ripe to be snatched up by someone like Netflix who could actually bank roll a new Top gear spin off. The conspirisy theorist in me thinks it has to do with the Porche, Ferrari, McLaren faceoff that never happened and now won’t.

Derek

When Clarkson was suspended last month the British public and Prime Minister where very publicly on Clarkson’s side. This included an online petition with over a million signatures.

So if the public want him and are willing to pay for him, then this is more or a working relationship issue, and the BBC took the side of the producer.

I agree, he is ripe for a being offered a new job from an online based company or Sky. I hope he still shows up in Forza. I love how he narrates over sweeping camera angles of sexy cars.

–Niyoko

Jeff

Bringing the Fry or Sheen comparisons flame the fires as much as reactionary twitter-bait. Who cares what the “mobacracy” thinks? Generally, people, in whatever groups and whatever their individual makeups, are stupid. That’s why the Hummer H2 sold well for a time, or people protest *every* police incident regardless of context. We want to feel part of a group. Social media makes it more prominent and easier to talk about, but it’s no different than “Gay Cancer” or McCarthy’s Red scare. Individuals should assess what info’s available to them, meaning actually seek out their interests with an investigative and discerning… Read more »

Andreas

It is worth noting that the incident itself happened several months ago and was brought to the attention of the BBC (at least the upper management) by Jeremy himself. I obviously don’t know what discussions were held in the mean time and with who (which could explain why JC decided to inform the BBC himself), but I do find it interesting. So the BBC suspended him while the investigation was ongoing, and has now decided to continue with the suspension until his contract runs out later this spring. This has in no way stopped them from showing reruns of old… Read more »

Jeff

I didn’t know it was that long ago Andreas, thanks. Are you objecting to BBC’s silence as it continued monetizing Top Gear? I see the point, although as it already had paid salary and production fees, I think it had and has the write showing the content. It does surprise me now, however, that it came to a head suddenly; what prompted that? Expose or legal threat from Mr. Tymon, or inability hiding the reasoning behind Clarkson’s non-renewal? Either way, it will be missed. The recent stunts have illicit yawns, but their trek through the American Gulf States, Stig’s off… Read more »

Negative Camber

Who cares? HuffPo does…they were mortified and said, originally, that we should all “weep for humanity”. Me? not so much but I’m on the record as not being a fan of the mobocracy. In fact, I loathe it. It makes idiots of everyone.

Jeff

Exactly, the Huffington Post cares because it’s click bait fuel for the needy, which ups its readership and thus potential revenue. That a news aggregator of questionable contributor-vetting and John Q Public’s need to “be heard” are abusing a medium isn’t noteworthy or new. Save for speed, it’s no different than an abrasive dipsh*t’s call-in to the local shock jock or letter to a magazine. Alongside the feather rufflers published in HuffPo there’s occasionally a thoughtful writer with either objective recitations or a thoughtful opinion. For all the needs-be-heard morons on social media, there are those sharing and including in… Read more »

Negative Camber

Inflammatory? I think not. Sharing opinion with decorum & Civility is just that.

My Friendly Atheist disqus acc

The mob run at Tymon is disgusting and shouldn’t be condoned. But to put the whole incident into context .. right now there are hundreds of production crew on set fighting back the urge not to strangle that damn producer standing next to them.

Derek

Now’s your chance to snatch him Todd!! He can help Grace and you during the Vroooooom-less double wide Tilke designed summer break that we have this season.

–Niyoko

Negative Camber

Unfortunately I doubt Jezza even knows we exist. :) That’s ok, he’s a busy boy. ;)

dude

Can’t even remember the last time I watched this show, there is very little in this show having anything to do with cars.

Negative Camber

And if it wasn’t “shocked” enough for you at HuffPo and their “weeping for humanity”. Now Road & Track has borrowed the narrative and says the Tymon screeds on Twitter could make us lose our “faith in humanity”. Good grief. Who are these folks? Human nature has never changed. It didn’t have an expiration date that ended when Gen Y was born. Whom out there is surprised by this buffoonery? Feel like I’m having to learn 20-something lessons all over again reading media feeds. It’s exhausting.

Ben

I hope May and Hammond jump ship and the three of them start new show. Maybe Netflix or HBO would have the plumbs to pull it off.

Speedyg

As I have never missed an epsoide of top gear. My only gripe now is that I will not get to see LaFerrari vs Porsche 918 vs McLaren P1

GaryK

It seems to me that the British tabloids really ramped up coverage on him in the last couple of years and he has been happy to supply them with material. Finally, he just went a bit too far. He’ll be back. Or not. Hopefully not.

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