BBC Director General Lord Hall announced today that Clarkson won’t be returning to Top Gear following his suspension for assaulting a member of staff, reportedly over a steak dinner.
In a statement, Hall said: “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.
“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 investigation found that the producer, Oisin Tymon, visited A&E for attention to a bleeding, swollen lip following the fracas. Clarkson attempted on a number of occasions to apologise to Tymon, before reporting the incident to BBC management.
North Yorkshire Police have since asked the BBC for the full findings of their internal report, and said they will take action if necessary.
The programme is believed to rake in £50 million a year for the BBC, and is shown in 170 countries around the world.
Top Gear is expected to continue – however it’s not known who will present it. It’s believed that James May and Richard Hammond won’t want to continue the show without their controversial co-presenter, but Radio 2’s Chris Evans has said that rumours that he would replace Clarkson are ‘nonsense’.
Hall added: “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.”
Minutes after the news broke, Clarkson’s co-presenter James May told Sky News live on TV that it was a ‘tragedy’.
He said: “I’m sorry that what ought to be a small incident sorted out easily turned into something big. I don’t really want to say anything more than that at the moment. I’ve only known for the past few minutes, and if you excuse me I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.
When probed about the future of the programme, May added: “I’m sure Top Gear will continue in some way – it existed before us, it’s been reformatted several times.
“I think very much, the three of us as a package, works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand. That will require a lot of thought.
“Much as I think he’s a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy.”
Previous Stigs have already spoken out, disagreeing about whether Top Gear should be able to continue without Jeremy.
Last week, someone dressed as the Stig delivered a petition to the BBC calling for Clarkson’s job to be saved. It was signed by over a million people.
The news of Clarkson’s sacking comes in the same week the creator of Top Gear, Derek Smith, passed away. He was 87.