10 Mar 2015

Jeremy Clarkson: nine of his most infamous moments

Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension from Top Gear following a “fracas” with a producer is not his first brush with controversy. Here are nine of his most infamous moments.

Jeremy Clarkson (Getty Images)

Most infamous moments

February 2004 – Tree incident

The BBC apologises after Clarkson drives a Toyota pick-up truck into a tree in Somerset. It pays compensation of £250 after the tree loses a section of its bark.

December 2006 – Derogatory references

The BBC upholds complaints over Clarkson supplementing the word gay with a phrase that was rhyming slang for “queer” – ginger beer – in an exchange while filming an episode of Top Gear. The executive producer of Top Gear then “reminded the presenters and the production team of the importance of avoiding derogatory references to sexual orientation”.

November 2008 – Jokes about sex worker murders

A Labour MP demands that Clarkson be sacked after he makes a joke about lorry drivers killing prostitutes at a time when five sex workers in Ipswich had been murdered. 500 people complain to the BBC.

November 2011 – Execution

On the BBC’s One Show, Clarkson responds to a public sector strike by saying that the BBC needs to be editorially balanced and says: “I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.”

January 2012 – India jokes

India’s high commission in the UK sends a formal complaint to the BBC after “tasteless” antics by Clarkson, after he makes jokes about Indian trains, history, food, clothes and toilets. Eventually 188 complaints are made about the special episode which attracts 5 million viewers.

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson suspended after 'fracas' with colleague

March 2014 – Burma

In a special show in Burma, Clarkson remarks on a bridge built during the episode using a pejorative word for Asians, saying: “That is a proud moment, but there’s a slope on it.”

May 2014 – Final warning

Clarkson is called before BBC bosses after the Mirror newspaper report he was heard using N-word as he recites an old version of the rhyme “Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe” to choose between cars in filming an unused take for Top Gear.

He says at the time that BBC has threatened to sack him if he makes “one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time”.

October 2014 – Falklands

Clarkson drives a car in a Patagonia special in Argentina with the licence plate H982 FKL, allegedly a references to the Falklands war, generating substantial controversy, with Argentina’s embassy in London making a formal complaint to the BBC over the incident.

March 2015 – Suspension

Clarkson is suspended after “fracas” with a BBC producer, says the BBC.