It was warned in a late breaking report yesterday, and today it has come to past. Jeremy Clarkson has been let go by the BBC and is no longer a part of Top Gear. Actually, according to the statement it was simply stated that Clarkson was informed that his expired contract would not be renewed but that’s about as close as it gets to saying “you’re fired.” Furthermore by cutting Clarkson loose, the BBC has effectively fired James May and Richard Hammond as well since both men said they would not do Top Gear without their long time friend. Despite this, there are reports that the BBC is still actively looking for a replacement for Jeremy Clarkson. Perhaps they should also be looking for two more replacements as well?
Thus far there hasn’t been any official statement from Jeremy, but he did change his twitter bio to read “I used to be a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, Top Gear.”
Richard Hammond responded to the news in a tweet which you can read below.
Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.
— Richard Hammond (@RichardHammond) March 25, 2015
A few reporters did manage to corner James May as he was trying to enter his home for a reaction to the news, and being the gentleman that he his May responded. You can watch his reaction below but if you want to save a bit of time, May essentially states that he finds the news “tragic”, needs to do a lot of “thinking”, and once again eluded to the point that he will likely not host Top Gear without Clarkson.
If you want to read the entire statement from the BBC, scroll below. Also, expect an op-ed piece about this news from me. It may be a video or just a really long post, not sure yet but its coming!
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.