Strop Gear, Bop Gear and Stop Gear. These were this morning’s headlines for the Daily Star, The Sun and Metro respectively. Jeremy Clarkson, for all his marmite-esque personality, has found himself in hot water AGAIN with the BBC. This time though, they put their money where their mouth is, and he’s been suspended. Top Gear’s episode this weekend will also not be broadcast. All this has been a result of an alleged ‘fracas’ with a BBC producer.
It’s been refreshing to see the BBC’s principled stance in all of this. But let’s not kid ourselves. He’ll be back presenting before you can say ‘star in a reasonably priced car’ whilst driving at 70mph on the M25. At the end of the day it’s all about money. The BBC need it* and he brings it. The global audience of Top Gear is astounding, with a viewership of 350 million and the programme bringing in £50 million. Keeping with this theme of big numbers over 600,000 people have signed a petition for him to be reinstated. As a public-service broadcaster aren’t they obligated to respond to this astonishing appeal? But then it also sets a poor example for other people who may misbehave – It’s only ok if you’re important enough.
I don’t see the BBC resisting for much longer though. It’s only a matter of time before Clarkson is let off the hook and told it’s his final warning…
*particularly as the licence-fee future is in the spotlight