Let me get the obvious out of the way: I’m a huge Top Gear fan – the show as well as the magazine. To the extent that I have paid subscriptions to both Top Gear India and Top Gear UK. I have several seasons of TG downloaded on my hard drive. And I have recorded several seasons on my set top box while they were being telecasted in India. I have watched them over and over again. I also have three action figures of ‘The Stig’ which I ordered via eBay from Thailand.
And while it did hurt me when I learnt that Clarkson was being fired from the show, I wasn’t surprised. But let’s not crucify Top Gear or BBC for this decision.
Let’s face it, Clarkson is an overgrown child. BBC and/or Top Gear has apologized and/or settled a lawsuit over a dozen times to various parties on behalf of Clarkson. The good guys at Jalopnik have listed down all those instances in an article here.
JC reminds me of the lead character Dr. House played by Hugh Laurie in the series House M.D. Both are masters of their domains but both have a very out-of-the-box approach to everything under th sun. Both are arrogant, stubborn and geniuses; but often brings trouble upon to themselves and their employer, simply by use of their rampant tongue. And if you have watched the show House M.D. you’d know that there once came a time when Dr. stepped over the line too far when you drove his car in Cuddy’s living room. On the other hand, Jeremy secured himself a relegation by means of physically assaulting one of the producers.
Let’s get some facts clear over here:
– It was JC who verbally abused and punched the assistant producer Olison Tymon.
– Tymon never provoked or retaliated. He even decided against filing an official police complaint.
– BBC didn’t fire JC in a knee-jerk reaction. They suspended it at first and after careful deliberation they decided not to renew his contract.
– The non-renewal of contract was only limited to Top Gear. BBC has given green slight to the satirical quiz show ‘Have I Got News For You’ with Clarkson despite the TG ruckus.
– BBC will also go ahead with three Top Gear live shows with Clarkson, Hammond and May as planned but they would rebrand it to a non-TG identity.
From the above points, it would be safe to say that neither Top Gear nor BBC have a personal spite against JC but due to him going one step too far, the BBC executives did what was needed. A physical attack on a colleague can’t and shouldn’t be tolerated and what BBC has done is quite commendable. They’ve put self-respect and righteousness (big words, I know) ahead of profitability.
Don’t get me wrong, I am no BBC puppet. I absolutely love the Jezza-Hamster-Captain Slow trio, and I surely would miss them. But unlike other fans, I am not going to rant against BBC or Top Gear. Else, what’s the different between me and those die-hard Salman fans who’re blaming the homeless people for sleeping on the streets and getting crushed under his car?
After Clarkson got fired, May and Hammond also declined to renew their contracts. The trio and the show’s ex-executive producer Andy Wilman are in talks with several broadcasters for a new show. ITV and Netflix are the two front runners whose names have been linked most positively with the four men. Like all other fans, I too hope that come 2016 (or even late 2015), we’ll see the power hungry duo and Mr. Slowly in a new avatar in a new show.
And hopefully, someday, the way Dr. House returned to Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, Jezza and BBC would also reconcile and the trio would return and reunite with the tame racing driver. After all, how hard can it be…?
Till that day arrives, I’m hoping to see Jeremy screaming “Powerrrrrr” on Netflix without bothering to be politically correct on the national television or being made to apologize by the studio bosses.
And on that bombshell…