I have a problem with Jeremy Clarkson. Despite his odious politics, his frequent outrageous comments and his dubious taste in friends (Cameron, Charlie Brooks, Charlie Brooks’ wife) – the sort of things that normally turn me off someone PDQ – he makes arguably one of the best programmes on television.
Because I don’t ever read the Sun or the Sunday Times, I am fortunate that his right wing polemic and rhetoric passes me by. The casual racism of his ‘Slopes’ comment in Thailand and worse still his ‘Eenie Meenie Miny Moe’ comment (well, the bit that followed it) were final warnings to a man whose confidence has turned into arrogance and utter disdain for anyone who says otherwise. In recent years, Clarkson has been seen as untouchable and I am sure that’s how he felt too. I wonder if he has finally overstepped the mark this time?
Top Gear itself is a terrific show. It has the combination of the best cars my money can’t buy, excellent chemistry between three very good presenters and it’s well written, well performed and funny. This latest series – the last? – has been one of the best ever. I sit there purring at the amazing cars the team drive, knowing that they’re being paid for it too. Life just isn’t fair! And their adventures, no matter how contrived, can be laugh out loud funny.
It looks like Clarkson may have chinned someone important or at the very least got in a brawl with them. If that’s true – what a twat. We none of us know what has happened, nor why, but it seems that Clarkson has not behaved in a way you would expect a 54 year old multimillionaire with a top rated show on public service broadcasting to do. The rest of the series has been cancelled so there must be questions about the future of the show, or at least those who currently present it.
Clarkson may well think he is bigger than the show but I would suggest he is a big star solely because of the show. Clarkson without Top Gear becomes a second rate newspaper columnist and nothing else. I have no idea whether the co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, easily the most talented and interesting of the trio, would wish to carry on without Clarkson but I have the feeling the show might just survive. How about with someone like Chris Evans to present it?
Perhaps Clarkson is inadvertently getting out at the top?
If he survives and Top Gear carries on as before, all well and good, but if he doesn’t, I see potential for a fast fading star, destined to remain angry on the opinion pages of Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers and increasing obscurity. He needs Top Gear more than Top Gear needs him. I wonder if he knows that now?