25 Mar 2015

Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed by BBC

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed after a BBC investigation finds he launched an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on a producer.

Clarkson was suspended two weeks ago following what the BBC had described as “a fracas” with producer Oisin Tymon over a steak. Both Clarkson and Mr Tymon last week gave evidence to an internal BBC investigation into what happened.

Director-general Tony Hall said the decision had been taken with “great regret”. He said: “It is not a decision I have taken lightly.”

Read more: how Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear scandal unfolded

Mr Hall said he had met and spoken to both men and was publishing the findings of the BBC’s internal investigation, though he added that he took “no pleasure” in doing so.

‘Broad church’

He said: “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.”

North Yorkshire Police on Wednesday said it had asked to see the BBC report and said action would be taken “where necessary”.

‘Unique talent’

The BBC report said Mr Tymon, who “believed that he had lost his job” after the attack, drove himself to a “nearby A&E department for examination”. It added that Clarkson “made a number of attempts to apologise” to Mr Tymon “by way of text, email and in person”.

Speaking after the news, Mr Tymon, said: “He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.”

Mr Tymon said he was “grateful” for the “thorough and swift investigation into this very regrettable incident”.

He said: “I’ve worked on Top Gear for almost a decade, a programme I love. Over that time Jeremy and I had a positive and successful working relationship, making some landmark projects together. He is a unique talent and I am well aware that many will be sorry his involvement in the show should end in this way.”

Paul Daniels, from law firm Slater Gordon which represents Mr Tymon, said the last month had “been a nightmare” for him.

He said: “He now simply wishes to return to the job he loves at the BBC. He does not intend to make any further media comment and kindly asks that his privacy is respected.”

Online petition

The BBC’s decision comes in the face of a high-profile campaign to back Clarkson which included the support of David Cameron and an online petition which reached one million signatures.

Clarkson, alongside co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, was scheduled to take part in four live Top Gear shows in Norway this week, but it was announced on last week they had been postponed.

On Sunday, Clarkson described his week as “turbulent” and claimed he had been joking when he appeared to criticise BBC bosses during an expletive-laden rant at a charity event.

But he said in the Sunday Times that it had all been in good humour, writing: “It was all meant in jest and anyway it worked.”

Clarkson had told those gathered at the charity event: “To be in the audience of Top Gear there was an 18-year waiting list. You know the BBC has f***** themselves, and so who gives a f***?”