Ex BBC Boss Says Firing Jeremy Clarkson Was A Mistake


More than a year after Clarkson was fired from the BBC for punching a Top Gear producer, the network’s former boss concedes that the host was a talent they couldn’t really afford to lose.

This comes direct from Mark Thompson, the BBC’s former director general and current Chief Executive Officer of The New York Times Company. Thompson admitted as much in an interview in the Sunday Times Magazine.

“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. 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.”

Sure, the BBC has the market corned on people who love stodgy and authoritarian news programs, children’s programs mired in sex scandals, dramas about broken alcoholic police detectives and anyone who can still understand what’s happening on Doctor Who, but in losing Clarkson and the incarnation of Top Gear he helmed the network lost a tremendous audience.

Related: Chris Evans Announces Top Gear Departure

Jeremy Clarkson was fired from the show last year after it came out that he punched Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon during a fit of hunger on a shoot. Clarkson later apologized to Tymon, the network and his fans, but it still cost him his job.

Since then Top Gear has re-launched with some very talented and wonderful people and also Chris Evans, but it suffered from atrocious ratings and a largely negative public response. The show initially attracted 4.4 million overnight viewers, plummeting to 2.8 million for the second episode. The show never went back above that figure. Chris Evans stepped down and the show will go on with its more likable hosts.

Related: Clarkson, Hammond and May To Launch DriveTribe

Meanwhile, Clarkson may come out of this on top, especially if his new Amazon show with James May and Richard Hammond takes off.

Via The Guardian


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