Top Gear… No More

In the last couple of weeks Jeremy Clarkson has left the BBC following a ‘fracas’ with a producer.

Apparently over the lack of hot food in a hotel one night, Clarkson lashed out.

We could never see the final episodes of the current series. Certainly not in the form originally intended, anyway.

It’s a shame it had to end in this way. I was quite a fan of Clarkson and of Top Gear. I like controversy, and don’t particularly like political correctness.

When the Guardian-reading liberalists get offended, I can’t see why: he’s really rather funny – and talks a lot of sense!

Without Jeremy Clarkson, I’m not sure whether the Top Gear format as we know it would be any good.

Whether certain people like it or not, and despite that often-quoted phrase of “no person is bigger than the brand”, Jeremy Clarkson was Top Gear – certainly in its current format, anyway.

The question is: In choosing not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract when it came to an end (that is not the same as sacking him), did the BBC make the right decision?

In my view, no. This whole incident – to me – is a case of mismanagement. Working in the media can be a very high pressure environment at the best of times, but when working with major stars, it can be even more difficult.

Being able to manage difficult personalities is a key part of this, and as far as I can see, the BBC did not do this well. It’s why we had all the fuss over Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand all those years ago.

It is for this reason that to drop Clarkson from the show was a complete overreaction. It doesn’t sort the real cause of the problem.

The way in which the BBC handled it was also, in my view, completely wrong.

This was effectively an HR issue: A disagreement between two members of staff. It is not something I would expect to read about in the papers every morning. It should have been dealt with internally, not so publically as it was in this case.

I also find it rather amusing that the BBC had to hold an enquiry to work out whether Clarkson punched anyone… when he himself reported it.

If you saw the Alan Yentob interview on Newsnight a couple of weeks ago, you’ll recall he did not rule out a return to the BBC by Clarkson at some point in the future.

I certainly hope that he can come back one day. Top Gear fans want more. The BBC has lost a great programme. And surely everyone involved in this incident can be sensible enough to move on from it and pick up where they left off? Plus, I want my Sunday evenings back.

With that, I’m off to work – but do let me know your views – comment below.

Bye for now.


Fred Hart

Stock Controller and Radio Presenter/Producer

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