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|Born||Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
11 April 1960 
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
|Residence||Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England
Langness, Isle of Man
Hill House School, Doncaster
journalist, talk show host
|Employer||BBC, The Sun, The Sunday Times|
|Notable work(s)||See below|
|Home town||Doncaster, England|
|Salary||£2 million (est.)|
|Height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)|
Alexandra James (m. 1989–1990) (divorced)
|Parents||Shirley and Eddie Clarkson|
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May. He also writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.
From a career as a local journalist in Northern England, Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, Clarkson has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000 he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson.
His opinionated but humorous tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often generated much public reaction to his viewpoints. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public.
Despite the criticism levelled against him, he has also generated a significant following from the public at large, being credited as a major factor in the resurgence of Top Gear as one of the most popular shows on the BBC.
Clarkson was born in Doncaster to travelling salesman Edward Grenville Clarkson and teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward. His parents, who ran a business selling tea cosies, put their son's name down in advance for a number of private schools with no idea how they were going to pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children. These proved so popular that they started selling them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to attend Hill House School, Doncaster and later Repton School. By his own account, he was expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself."
Clarkson is twice-married. His first wife was Alexandra James (now Hall). In May 1993 he married his manager, Frances Cain (daughter of VC recipient Robert Henry Cain) in Fulham. The couple currently live in the town of Chipping Norton, situated in the Cotswolds, with their three children. Clarkson is a member of the Chipping Norton set.  Known for buying him car-related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's second wife bought him a Mercedes-Benz 600. In September 2010 Clarkson was granted a privacy injunction against his first wife to prevent her from publishing claims that their sexual relationship continued after his second marriage. (See AMM v HXW) He voluntarily lifted the injunction in October 2011, commenting that: "Injunctions don’t work. You take out an injunction against somebody or some organisation and immediately news of that injunction and the people involved and the story behind the injunction is in a legal-free world on Twitter and the Internet. It’s pointless."
Clarkson's fondness for wearing jeans has been blamed by some for the decline in sales of denim in the mid 1990s, particularly Levi's, because of their being associated with middle aged men, the so-called 'Jeremy Clarkson effect'. After fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah labelled Clarkson's dress sense as that of a market trader, he was persuaded to appear on their fashion makeover show What Not to Wear in order to avoid being considered for their all-time worst dressed winner award. Their attempts at restyling Clarkson were however all rebuffed, and Clarkson stated he would rather eat his own hair than appear on the show again.
For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar: a container for preserved fruit.
Clarkson is reportedly a big fan of the rock band Genesis and attended the band‘s reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. He also provided sleeve notes for the reissue of the album Selling England by the Pound as part of the Genesis 1970–1975 box set. He uses his love for Genesis to mock his fellow presenter of BBC Top Gear, Richard Hammond.
Clarkson has been involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across the grounds of his second home on the Isle of Man since 2005, after reports that dogs had attacked and killed sheep on the property. Clarkson and his wife had claimed that four sheep were deliberately killed after being chased into the sea by a dog let off its lead. He eventually lost the dispute after the Isle of Man government started a public inquiry and was told to re-open the footpath in May 2010. The decision was affirmed by the Isle of Man High Court.
Clarkson also has 3 donkeys, mentioned in his book The World According To Clarkson, called Geoff, Eddie and Kristen Scott-Donkey
Clarkson's first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington Bear toys. He later trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser, before also writing for the Rochdale Observer, Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Life and the Associated Kent Newspapers.
In 1984, Clarkson formed the Motoring Press Agency (MPA), in which, with fellow motoring journalist Jonathan Gill, he would conduct road tests for local newspapers and automotive magazines. This developed into pieces for publications such as Performance Car. He has regularly written for Top Gear magazine since its launch in 1993.
Clarkson went on to writing articles for a diverse spectrum of readers through regular columns in both the mass-market tabloid newspaper The Sun, and for the more 'up market' broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times. The Times columns are republished in The Weekend Australian newspaper. He also writes for the "Wheels" section of the Toronto Star.
In addition to newsprint, Clarkson has written humorous books about cars and several other subjects. Many of his books are collections of articles that he has written for The Sunday Times.
Clarkson's first major television role came as one of the presenters on the British motoring programme Top Gear, from 27 October 1988 to 3 February 2000, in the programme's original format, and then again from 20 October 2002, when it was relaunched in a new format after a brief period off the air. He is credited with co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond as turning Top Gear into the most-watched TV show on BBC Two, rebroadcast to over 100 countries around the world. While closely associated with presenting motoring shows through the original Top Gear and Motorworld, by the late 1990s Clarkson had diversified into presenting programmes on other topics, beginning as presenter of the UK version of Robot Wars. At the same time his television presence also branched out into appearances on a number of other shows, both as guest and guest host. From 1998 for three years he had his own talk show, Clarkson, hosting 27 half-hour episodes aired in the United Kingdom between November 1998 and December 2000, and featured guest interviews with musicians, politicians and television personalities. In his television career, Clarkson went on to present a number of documentaries focused on non-motoring themes such as history and engineering, although the motoring shows and videos continued. Alongside his stand-alone shows, many often mirror the format of his newspaper columns and books, combining his love of driving and motoring journalism, with the examination and expression of his other views on the world, such as in Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, Jeremy Clarkson's Car Years and Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours.
Clarkson's views are often showcased on television shows. In 1997, Clarkson appeared on the light hearted comedy show Room 101, in which a guest nominates things they hate in life to be consigned to nothingness. Clarkson despatched caravans, houseflies, the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, the mentality within golf clubs, and vegetarians. His public persona has seen him make several appearances on the prime time talk shows Parkinson and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross since 2002. By 2003, his persona was deemed to fit the mould for the series Grumpy Old Men, in which middle-aged men talk about any aspects of modern life which irritate them. Since the topical news panel show Have I Got News for You dismissed regular host Angus Deayton in October 2002, Clarkson has become one of the most regularly used guest hosts on the show in a role which attracts a sideways look at current affairs. On a more serious platform, Clarkson has appeared as a panellist on the political current affairs television show Question Time twice since 2003.
In 2007 Clarkson won the National Television Awards' Special Recognition Award. Also in 2007, it was reported that Clarkson earned £1 million a year for his role as a Top Gear presenter, and a further £1.7 million from books, DVDs and newspaper columns.
In 2007, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were the first people to reach the magnetic North Pole in a car, chronicled in a Top Gear polar special. Clarkson more recently sustained minor injuries to his legs, back and hand in an intentional high-speed head-on collision with a brick wall while making the 12th series of Top Gear.
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Clarkson is in favour of personal freedom and very much against government regulation, stating that government should "build park benches and that is it. They should leave us alone." He has a particular contempt for the Health and Safety Executive. He has often criticised the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, especially the 'ban' culture, frequently fixating on the bans on smoking and 2004 ban on fox hunting.
Jeremy Clarkson's comments have both a large amount of supporters and opposers. He often comments on the media-perceived social issues of the day such as the fear of challenging adolescent youths, known as 'hoodies'. In 2007 Clarkson was cleared of allegations of assaulting a hoodie while visiting central Milton Keynes, after Thames Valley Police said that if anything, he had been the victim. In the five-part series Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the Neighbours he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-Type, examining (and in some cases reinforcing) his stereotypes of other countries.
As a motoring journalist, he is frequently critical of government initiatives such as the London congestion charge or proposals on road charging. He is also frequently scornful of caravanners and cyclists. He has often singled out John Prescott the former Transport Minister, and Stephen Joseph the head of the public transport pressure group Transport 2000 for ridicule.
Clarkson is unsympathetic to the green movement and has little respect for groups such as Greenpeace—he believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians" who had found a more relevant cause— but "loves the destination" of environmentalism and believes that people should quietly strive to be more eco-friendly. Regarding windfarms, he says that in the future, they will be described as "a reminder of the time when mankind temporarily took leave of its senses and decided wind, waves and lashings of tofu could somehow generate enough electricity for the whole planet" Clarkson has unorthodox views regarding global warming: although he believes that higher temperatures are not necessarily negative and that anthropogenic carbon dioxide production has a negligible effect on the global climate, but is aware of the negative potential consequences of global warming, saying "let's just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?"
In an attempt to prove the press and public furore over the 2007 UK child benefit data scandal was a fuss about nothing, he published his own bank account number and sort code, together with instructions on how to find out his address, in The Sun newspaper, expecting nobody to be able to remove money from his account. He later discovered that someone had been able to set up a monthly direct debit for £500 to Diabetes UK.
Clarkson has been highly critical of the United States and more recently President Barack Obama. In an article after Obama was sworn into office, Clarkson wrote (in reference to Americans) "they have got it into their heads that Barack Obama is actually a blend of Jesus, Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King." Clarkson has also been very critical of the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom. He referred to America as the United States of Total Paranoia, commenting that one needs a permit to do everything except for purchasing weapons.
Whilst Clarkson states such views in his columns and in public appearances, his public persona does not necessarily represent his personal views, as he acknowledged whilst interviewing Alastair Campbell saying "I don't believe what I write, any more than you (Alastair Campbell) believe what you say"
Clarkson has been described as a "skilful propagandist for the motoring lobby" by The Economist and a "dazzling hero of political incorrectness" by the Daily Mirror. With a forthright and sometimes deadpan delivery, Clarkson is said to thrive on the notoriety his public comments bring, and has risen to the level of the bête noire of the various groups who disagree with his views. On the Channel 4 organised viewer poll, for the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate programme, Clarkson polled in 66th place. By 2005, Clarkson was perceived by the press to have upset so many people and groups, The Independent put him on trial for various 'crimes', declaring him guilty on most counts.
Responses to Clarkson's comments are often directed personally, with derogatory comments about residents of Norfolk leading to some residents organising a "We hate Jeremy Clarkson" club. In The Guardian's 2007 'Media 100' list, which lists the top 100 most "powerful people in the [media] industry", based on cultural, economic and political influence in the UK, Clarkson was listed as a new entrant at 74th. Some critics even attribute Clarkson's actions and views as being influential enough to be responsible for the closure of Rover and the Luton manufacturing plant of Vauxhall. Clarkson's comments about Rover prompted workers to hang an "Anti-Clarkson Campaign" banner outside the defunct Longbridge plant in its last days.
The BBC often plays down his comments as ultimately not having the weight they are ascribed. In 2007 they described Clarkson as "Not a man given to considered opinion", and in response to an official complaint another BBC spokeswoman once said: "Jeremy's colourful comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC. More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye." Some of his opponents state they take the view he is a man that should be ignored. Kevin Clinton, head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has stated "We don't take what he says too seriously and hopefully other people don't either."
On his chat show, Clarkson, he caused upset to the Welsh by placing a 3D plastic map of Wales into a microwave oven and switching it on. He later defended this by saying, "I put Wales in there because Scotland wouldn't fit."
In 2005, Clarkson received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Oxford Brookes University. His views on the environment precipitated a small demonstration at the award ceremony for his honorary degree, when Clarkson was pied by road protester Rebecca Lush. Clarkson took this incident in good humour, responding 'good shot' and subsequently referring to Lush as "Banana girl". Clarkson has spoken in support of hydrogen cars.
In 2008, an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns. In their official response to the petition, Number 10 agreed with Clarkson's comments.
In a 2008 poll of 5,000 female members of an online dating website, Clarkson came third in a poll of MISAs—Men I Secretly Adore—behind Jonathan Ross and Phillip Schofield. Characteristically, Clarkson was upset not to have come top.
In response to the reactions he gets, Clarkson has stated "I enjoy this back and forth, it makes the world go round but it is just opinion" and "I don't have any influence over what people do, I really don't. It makes no difference what I say. Top Gear is just fluff. It's just entertainment – people don't listen to me." On the opinion that his views are influential enough to topple car companies, he has argued that he has proof that he has had no influence. "When I said that the Ford Orion was the worst car ever it went on to become a best-selling car."
Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces and several of his DVDs and television shows have featured a military theme, whether it be flying in military jets or several Clarkson focused Top Gear spots having a military theme such as Clarkson escaping a Challenger 2 tank in a Range Rover, a Lotus Exige evading missile lock from an AH-64D Apache helicopter, a platoon of Irish Guardsmen shooting at a Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK, or using a Ford Fiesta as a Royal Marine landing craft. Clarkson visited British troops in Baghdad in October 2005.
Clarkson presented a programme looking at recipients of the Victoria Cross, in particular focusing on his father-in-law, Robert Henry Cain, who received a VC for actions during the Battle of Arnhem in World War II.
In 2007, Clarkson wrote and presented Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time, a documentary about the World War II Operation Chariot, a 1942 Commando raid on the docks of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France. At the end of 2007 Clarkson became a patron of Help for Heroes, a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded British servicemen. His effort led to the 2007 Christmas appeal in The Sunday Times supporting Help for Heroes.
Clarkson is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work. In Inventions That Changed the World Clarkson showcased the invention of the gun, computer, jet engine, telephone and television. He has previously criticised the engineering feats of the 20th century as merely improvements on the truly innovative inventions of the Industrial Revolution. He cites the lack of any source of alternative power for cars, other than by "small explosions". In Great Britons, as part of a public poll to find the greatest historical Briton, Clarkson was the chief supporter for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a prominent engineer during the Industrial Revolution credited with numerous innovations. Despite this, he also has a passion for many modern examples of engineering. In Speed and Extreme Machines Clarkson rides and showcases numerous vehicles and machinery. Clarkson was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University on 12 September 2003, partly because of his work in popularising engineering, and partly because of his advocacy of Brunel.
In his book, I Know You Got Soul he describes many machines that he believes possess a soul. He cited the Concorde crash as his inspiration, feeling a sadness for the demise of the machine as well as the passengers. Clarkson was a passenger on the last BA Concorde flight on 24 October 2003. Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong he described the retirement of the fleet as "This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind", and that the challenge of building Concorde had been a greater human feat than landing a man on the Moon.
His known passion for single- or two-passenger high-velocity transport led to his brief acquisition of an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter XM172, which was installed in the front garden of his country home. The Lightning was subsequently removed on the orders of the local council, which "wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower", according to Clarkson on a Tiscali Motoring webchat. In fact, the whole affair was set up for his programme Speed, and the Lightning is now back serving as gate guardian at Wycombe Air Park (formerly RAF Booker).
In a Top Gear episode, Clarkson drove the Bugatti Veyron in a race across Europe against a Cessna private aeroplane. The Veyron was an £850,000 technology demonstrator project built by Volkswagen to become the fastest production car, but a practical road car at the same time. In building such an ambitious machine, Clarkson described the project as "a triumph for lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world." After winning the race, Clarkson announced that "It's quite a hollow victory really, because I've got to go for the rest of my life knowing that I'll never own that car. I'll never experience that power again."
Clarkson owns or has owned:
In addition to the many cars he has owned, as a motoring journalist, Clarkson regularly has car companies deliver a choice of cars to his driveway for testing.
Clarkson wanted to purchase the Ford GT after admiring its inspiration, the Ford GT40 race cars of the 1960s. Clarkson was able to secure a place on the shortlist for the few cars that would be imported to Britain to official customers, only through knowing Ford's head of PR through a previous job. After waiting years and facing an increased price, he found many technical problems with the car. After "the most miserable month's motoring possible," he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for advice over the Internet, he bought back his GT. He called it "the most unreliable car ever made", owing to never being able to complete a return journey with it. In 2006 Clarkson ordered a Gallardo Spyder and sold the Ford GT to make way for it. In August 2008 he sold the Gallardo because "idiots in Peugeots kept trying to race [him] in it" [Jeremy Clarkson – "The Italian Job" DVD]. In October, he also announced that he had sold his Volvo XC90. However, in January 2009, in a review of the car printed in The Times, he wrote: "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is this: it takes six children to school in the morning."
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Clarkson often enthuses about whether a car gives you the proper "driving experience". He talks about needing to feel the front wheels connected to your fingers through the steering wheel. His preferred cars need to stir a passion and exhibit a 'soul', and look good, such as his preferred sportscar marque, Ferrari. Clarkson is often seen to be more than willing to accept several other flaws in a car such as practicality, build quality, reliability, if the basic criteria of performance and styling are deemed to have been met. Clarkson seems to be an admirer of any car that delivers performance and features for less money than traditionally known 'superior' marques, such as the Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, and Holden Monaro (marketed in the UK under the Vauxhall brand). He is also known for liking the Noble M12. However, sometimes his liking of cars is more in respect because they do not possess this 'soul' although it is portrayed in the TV show as a legitimate love. It was like that with the Nissan GT-R. He said that it's great but 'sometimes I'd like it to go down the front of my trousers and have a little rummage' implying the GT-R's lack of 'soul'.
Despite not liking Rover or Vauxhall, Clarkson does have an affection for the British makes Jaguar and Aston Martin, but has previously described this success as being down to the combination of British ingenuity with foreign funding, management, and marketing. In terms of SUVs, Clarkson has spoken very highly of the Czech-made Škoda Yeti, calling it possibly the best car in the world; and used 20 minutes of a Top Gear episode putting the Yeti through a number of challenges to support his point. Clarkson often applies national stereotypes to cars, i.e. German cars are well built but too serious, Italian cars are stylish but temperamental, American cars are powerful but cheaply made, Japanese cars are hi-tech but soulless, and the present intermixing of nationalities in the global car industry becomes a source of comment.
Clarkson has a particular fondness for Alfa Romeos, and has owned several. He contends that "you cannot be a true petrolhead until you've owned one... it's like having really great sex that leaves you with an embarrassing itch." In his book I Know You Got Soul the Alfa Romeo 166 was one of only three cars classified as having that "special something". Clarkson quotably called the Brera, Alfa's latest sports car, "Cameron Diaz on wheels". Despite his love for Alfa Romeos, he was very critical of the company's supercar, the 8C Competizione. In both Top Gear and his 2009 video special Thriller, Clarkson had no doubts about the car's beauty, but panned the poorly-designed suspension, comparing it to a Ford Mustang.
Clarkson has had mixed views on the Porsche 911 sports cars, feeling them to have uninspiring styling. He is also not a fan of the rear-engined flat six layout, feeling it a fundamentally flawed design. He has, however, often complimented the technical aspects and practicalities of many Porsches, over say the equivalent Ferrari of the time. In reviewing a 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 though, Clarkson conceded that Porsche had finally overcome the natural tendency of a Porsche mechanical layout to lose the grip in the rear tyres in a bend, and stated it was the first Porsche he had ever seriously considered buying. Clarkson also praised Porsche's supercar, the Carrera GT, in an October 2004 episode of Top Gear, and even commented that it's one of the most beautiful cars he has ever driven. Clarkson has also expressed fondness for late-model V8 Holdens, available in the UK rebadged as Vauxhalls. Of the Monaro he said, "It's like they had a picture of me on their desk and said [Australian accent] 'Let's build that bloke a car!'" and "I can't believe it... I've fallen in love... with a Vauxhall!" Clarkson suffered two slipped discs that he attributed to driving the Monaro, which he described as being "back-breakingly marvellous".
Clarkson often derides any car that in his view might be bought by a Premier League footballer such as Wayne Rooney. Clarkson will often pick faults in the trim or build quality in any car he dislikes. He will also use his substantial frame to criticise any model with inadequate front or rear leg room or head room, and to criticise the throttle or brake pedal positions. Clarkson also dislikes gadgetry if it detracts from or seeks to control the experience of driving, commenting that the only saving grace of the increasingly hi-tech BMW M5 was that in M mode all gadgetry was switched off, and it subsequently retained the performance characteristics of historical M5s. He has frequently criticised the Mercedes-Benz practice of releasing a model and option list to suit every conceivable customer demand.
One of Clarkson's most infamous dislikes was of the British car brand Rover, the last major British owned and built car manufacturer. This view stretched back to the company's time as part of British Leyland. Describing the history of the company up to its last flagship model, the Rover 75, he stated "Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many." In the latter years of the company Clarkson blamed the "uncool" brand image as being more of a hindrance to sales than any faults with the cars. On its demise, Clarkson stated "I cannot even get teary and emotional about the demise of the company itself – though I do feel sorry for the workforce."
Clarkson is also well known for his criticism of Vauxhalls and has described Vauxhall's parent company, General Motors, as a "pensions and healthcare" company which sees the "car making side of the business as an expensive loss-making nuisance". In spite of this, he has expressed approval of several recent Vauxhall models including the VXR models, the Monaro, VXR8 and Maloo, (both originally Australian Holdens) and the Zafira people carrier. Clarkson has expressed particular disdain for the Vauxhall Vectra, describing it as "One of my least favourite cars in the world. I've always hated it because I've always felt it was designed in a coffee break by people who couldn't care less about cars" and "one of the worst chassis I've ever come across". After a Top Gear piece by Clarkson for its launch in 1995, described by The Independent as "not doing [GM] any favours", Vauxhall complained to the BBC and announced, "We can take criticism but this piece was totally unbalanced."
Clarkson is known for destroying his most hated cars in various ways, including crushing a Yugo with a tank, catapulting a Nissan Sunny with a trebuchet, dropping a Porsche 911 onto a caravan (after plunging a piano onto the bonnet and dousing it in hydrochloric acid, amongst other things), getting a Land Rover and a box labelled "CND" to destroy a Citroën 2CV, allowing his American friend "Billy Bob" to destroy a Toyota Prius by shooting it with an arsenal of weaponry, shooting a Chevrolet Corvette with a helicopter gunship, dismantling a Buick Park Avenue with a bulldozer, or tearing a Lada Riva in half. In an episode of Top Gear, Clarkson bought a Maserati Biturbo just to drop a skip on it to show how much the model had ruined Maserati's reputation. In Jeremy Clarkson: Heaven and Hell (2005), he bought a brand-new Perodua Kelisa, proceeded to attack it with a sledgehammer, tore it apart with a heavy weight while being suspended in mid-air and finally blew it up.
Most notably, the car which sees the most hatred from Clarkson is the G-Wiz or REVAi as it is known outside the UK. In a segment of Top Gear's news, a clip was shown of David Cameron driving a G-Wiz on the Top Gear test track. When Kristin Scott Thomas appeared on the show it was revealed that she drove a G-Wiz around London while performing in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. On Jeremy Clarkson's solo DVD Supercar Showdown the G-Wiz was bashed continuously by Clarkson in a number of staged segments, being raced first by a Renault Alpine A610 and losing, and then losing to a heavy wooden table carried by four men. The table was then placed on its side and the G-Wiz rammed it at 40 mph, bouncing off and destroying the front of the vehicle. In the final episode of series 10 of Top Gear the G-Wiz was turned into a radio-controlled car and its electrical systems modified so that it could beat a Ford Mustang Shelby GT (incorrectly identified as a 500 hp Shelby Mustang GT500) in a race, it was then raced against a scale model R/C car, which carried a bomb to destroy both vehicles before they could finish the race. Nevertheless, the G-Wiz was named as Top Gear's "Worst Car of the Year". Presenter James May called it the "most stupid, useless, and dangerous car to stalk the earth".
Clarkson's comments and actions have sometimes resulted in complaints from viewers, car companies, and national governments.
In October 1998, Hyundai complained to the BBC about what they described as "bigoted and racist" comments he made at the Birmingham Motor Show, where he was reported as saying that the people working on the Hyundai stand had "eaten a dog" and that the designer of the Hyundai XG had probably eaten a spaniel for his lunch. Clarkson also allegedly referred to those working on the BMW stand as "Nazis", although BMW said they would not be complaining. In a later incident during a Top Gear episode broadcast on 13 November 2005, Clarkson, while talking about a Mini design that might be "quintessentially German", made a mock Nazi salute, and made references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland by setting the GPS system to Poland.
In April 2007, he was criticised in the Malaysian parliament for having described one of their cars, the Perodua Kelisa, as the worst in the world, "its name was like a disease and suggested it was built in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes". A Malaysian government minister countered, pointing out that no complaints had been received from UK customers who had bought the car.
While in Australia, Clarkson made disparaging remarks aimed at the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in February 2009, calling him a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and accused him of lying. These comments were widely condemned by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and also Scottish politicians who requested that he should be taken off air. Furthermore, the comments were condemned as racist. He subsequently provided a qualified apology for remarks regarding Brown's "personal appearance".
In July 2009 though, Clarkson was reported to have called the Prime Minister Brown "a silly cunt" during a warm-up while recording a Top Gear show. Although several newspapers reported that he had subsequently argued with BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow, who was present at the recording, the BBC denied that he had been given a "dressing down". John Whittingdale, Conservative chair of the Culture Select Committee remarked: "Many people will find that offensive, many people will find that word in particular very offensive [...] I am surprised he felt it appropriate to use it."
On 6 July 2010, Clarkson reportedly angered gay rights campaigners after he made a remark on Top Gear that did not get aired on the 4 July's episode. But guest Alastair Campbell wrote about it on Twitter. Clarkson apparently said he "Demanded the right not to get bummed". The BBC later said that they cut this remark out as they "edited down" the interview as it was too long to fit into the show.
His 4 September 2011 column for The Sun newspaper drew angry remarks in response to Clarkson's call to abolish the Welsh language: "I think we are fast approaching the time when the United Nations should start to think seriously about abolishing other languages. What’s the point of Welsh for example? All it does is provide a silly maypole around which a bunch of hotheads can get all nationalistic."
|Wikinews has related news: 'Have them all shot': BBC gets 21,000+ complaints over Jeremy Clarkson's public sector striker comments|
On 30 November 2011 while being interviewed on the BBC's The One Show, Clarkson commented on the UK's public sector strike that day, lauding the capital's empty roads. After mentioning the BBC's need for balance, he said, "I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families." The programme later apologised for his remarks, with further apologies issued by Clarkson and the BBC. These remarks had attracted 21,335 complaints to the BBC within 36 hours; the BBC also received 314 messages of support for Clarkson.
In his 3 December 2011 column for The Sun Clarkson epitomised those who choose to jump in front of trains as "Johnny Suicide" and argues that following a death, trains should carry on their journeys as soon as possible. He adds: "The train cannot be removed nor the line re-opened until all of the victim's body has been recovered. And sometimes the head can be half a mile away from the feet." ... "Change the driver, pick up the big bits of what's left of the victim, get the train moving as quickly as possible and let foxy woxy and the birds nibble away at the smaller, gooey parts that are far away or hard to find."
On 12 January, the Indian High commission lodged a formal complaint with the BBC over the "tasteless" antics of Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear Christmas special where he mocked India's culture and people. During the 90-minute special, which was aired twice over the Christmas break, Clarkson made a string of jokes about Indian food, clothes, toilets, trains and history.
On an episode of Top Gear broadcast on 5 February 2012, Clarkson compared a Japanese Car/Camper van to a person with a growth on their face. A major UK charity that supports people with facial disfigurements, Changing Faces, complained to the BBC and Ofcom after Clarkson's remarks.
Clarkson readily discusses high speed driving on public roads, and criticises road safety campaigns involving cameras and speed bumps. In 2002 a Welsh Assembly Member Alun Pugh wrote to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about Clarkson's comments that he believed encouraged people to use Welsh roads as a high speed test track. A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense". Clarkson has also made similar comments about driving in Lincolnshire. As of 2004 Clarkson was reported as having a clean licence. In a November 2005 Times article, Clarkson wrote on the Bugatti Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240 mph", and "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you simply wouldn’t believe me." In 2007 the celebrity lawyer Nick 'Mr. Loophole' Freeman got a charge against Clarkson of driving at 86 mph in a 50 mph zone on the A40 road in London dropped, on the basis that the driver of the car loaned to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo could not be ascertained. In 2008 the BBC faced calls to sack Clarkson after he claimed in a talk at the Hay Festival to have been given a speeding ticket for driving at 186 mph on the A1203 Limehouse Link road in London. At the same talk he stated he had "never been pulled over for speed while working on Top Gear. I don't drive very fast." The reported version of events by the Daily Mail were disputed by a BBC spokesman.
On the final Concorde flight, Clarkson threw a glass of water over Morgan during an argument. In March 2004 at the British Press Awards, he swore at Morgan and punched him before being restrained by security; Morgan says it has left him with a scar above his left eyebrow. In 2006 Morgan revealed that the feud was over, saying "There should always be a moment when you finally down cudgels, kiss and make up." Clarkson also mentioned that despite not getting on with Morgan, he can at least be in the same room as him.
In 2004, the BBC apologised unreservedly and paid £250 in compensation to a Somerset parish council, after Clarkson damaged a 30-year-old horse-chestnut tree by driving into it to test the strength of a Toyota Hilux. In December 2006 the BBC complaints department upheld the complaint of four Top Gear viewers that Clarkson had used the phrase "ginger beer" (rhyming slang for "queer") in a derogatory manner, when Clarkson picked up on and agreed with an audience member's description of the Daihatsu Copen as being a bit "gay". The Top Gear: Polar Special was criticised by the BBC Trust for glamorising drink driving in a scene showing Clarkson and James May in a vehicle, despite Clarkson saying to the camera "Don't write in to complain about us drinking and driving, because we're sailing!" (As they were on top of frozen water.) They stated the scene "was not editorially justified" despite occurring outside the jurisdiction of any drink driving laws.
In November 2008, Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes. The BBC stated the comment was a comic rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer's expectation of Clarkson's Top Gear persona. Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a "strongly worded" letter to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked. Clarkson dismissed Mole's comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing, "There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show." On the next Top Gear programme, Clarkson appeared sincerely apologetic and stated "It has been all over the news and the internet and after many complaints I feel I must apologise." However, instead of apologising for his comments, he went on to say "I'm sorry I didn't put the [Porsche] 911's time on the board last week" (after he set it on fire in the previous week's show), much to the studio audience's amusement. Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that "They were just having a laugh. It’s the 21st century, let’s get our sense of humour in line."
In 2009, in an episode filmed in Romania, when reaching the countryside areas, Clarkson said the crew was in Borat's country. This remark caused an official reaction from Romanian embassy in London.
In an episode aired after the watershed on 1 August 2010, Clarkson described a Ferrari F430 Speciale as "speciale needs". He said the car owned by co-presenter James May looked "like a simpleton". Media regulator Ofcom investigated after receiving two complaints, and found that the comments "were capable of causing offence" but did not censure the BBC.
The 2011 Top Gear Christmas Special featured Clarkson visiting India and driving around in a Jaguar with an external toilet added to the back of the car. He commented, "This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots." A day after the broadcast, the BBC had received 23 complaints; the special was watched at the time of broadcast by approximately five million people.
|1988–2000||Top Gear (Original Format)||BBC VHS, 1994–1998|
|1995–1996||Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld||BBC VHS, 1996|
|1997||Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines||BBC VHS, 1997|
|2000||Jeremy Clarkson's Car Years||N/A|
|2001||Jeremy Clarkson's Speed||BBC VHS, 2001|
|2001||You Don't Want To Do That||N/A|
|2002 –||Top Gear (Current Format)||BBC DVD, 2010–|
|2002||Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the Neighbours||N/A|
|2003||The Victoria Cross: For Valour||BBC DVD, 2011|
|2004||Inventions That Changed the World||N/A|
|2007||Jeremy Clarkson: The Greatest Raid of All Time||BBC DVD, 2011|
|1993||Mr Blobby's Christmas||Guest|
|1997||The Mrs Merton Show||Guest|
|2002||100 Greatest Britons||Guest|
|2002||Have I Got News for You||Guest Host|
|2002||Friday Night with Jonathan Ross||Guest|
|2003||Patrick Kielty Almost Live||Guest|
|2003||Grumpy Old Men||Participant|
|2004||Call My Bluff||Participant|
|2004||Who Do You Think You Are?||Participant|
|2005||Top of the Pops||Guest Host|
|2006||Never Mind the Buzzcocks||Guest Host|
|2006||The F Word||Participant|
|2008||The One Show||Guest|
|2008||Have I Got News for You||Guest Host|
|2009||The Chris Moyles Show||Guest|
|2009||Love the Beast||Guest|
|2009||8 out of 10 Cats||Guest|
|2009||Have I Got News for You||Guest|
|2010||Have I Got News for You||Guest Host|
|2011||Forza Motorsport 4||Voice Artist|
|2012||The Chris Evans Breakfast Show||Guest|
|2012||Have I Got News For You||Guest Host|
|Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld||BBC Books
|Clarkson on Cars||Virgin Books
|Clarkson's Hot 100||Virgin Books
|Planet Dagenham||Andre Deustch
|Born To Be Riled||BBC Books
|Jeremy Clarkson On Ferrari||Lancaster Books
|The World According To Clarkson||Icon Books
|I Know You Got Soul||Michael Joseph
|And Another Thing...||Michael Joseph
|Don't Stop Me Now!!||Michael Joseph
|For Crying Out Loud!||Michael Joseph
|Driven To Distraction||Michael Joseph
|How Hard Can It Be?||Michael Joseph
|Round The Bend||Michael Joseph
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Jeremy Clarkson|