Jeremy Clarkson sacked from BBC

File photo dated 11/03/15 of Jeremy Clarkson, as a verdict on Clarkson's future is expected this week as four live Top Gear shows in Norway were postponed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday March 23, 2015. Clarkson, alongside co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, were scheduled to take part in the popular events in Stavanger this week. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
File photo dated 11/03/15 of Jeremy Clarkson, as a verdict on Clarkson's future is expected this week as four live Top Gear shows in Norway were postponed. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday March 23, 2015. Clarkson, alongside co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, were scheduled to take part in the popular events in Stavanger this week. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s contract will not be renewed, the BBC has announced.

Director-general Tony Hall said the decision had been taken with ‘great regret’.

He said: “It is not a decision I have taken lightly.”

Clarkson, who is originally from Doncaster and started his media career as a trainee reporter with the Rotherham Advertiser, has been suspended from the hit motoring show since he was involved in what the BBC called a “fracas” with producer Oisin Tymon.

The BBC investigation found that Mr Tymon was “subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Jeremy Clarkson”.

North Yorkshire Police said this afternoon it had asked the BBC for its report on the incident which happened at a hotel in the county and said action will be taken “where necessary”.

File photo dated 29/11/11 of (left to right) Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. Clarkson's contract will not be renewed, the BBC has announced. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 25, 2015. Clarkson has been suspended from the hit motoring show since he was involved in what the BBC called a "fracas" with producer Oisin Tymon. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

File photo dated 29/11/11 of (left to right) Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond. Clarkson's contract will not be renewed, the BBC has announced. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 25, 2015. Clarkson has been suspended from the hit motoring show since he was involved in what the BBC called a "fracas" with producer Oisin Tymon. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The BBC investigation said the attack lasted around 30 seconds and only stopped when a witness intervened.

The report said “verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion - both during the attack and subsequently inside the hotel - and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him. The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom.”

Mr Hall said “no blame” was attached to Mr Tymon, who, he said, “behaved with huge integrity throughout”.

He added that the BBC would look to “renew” the show for next year.

Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. Pic. P/A

Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. Pic. P/A

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.

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.”

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only ''Undated handout file photo issued by the BBC of James May, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson during filming for BBC programme Top Gear.''PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 25, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: BBC/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

For use in UK, Ireland or Benelux countries only ''Undated handout file photo issued by the BBC of James May, Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson during filming for BBC programme Top Gear.''PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday March 25, 2015. See PA story SHOWBIZ Clarkson. Photo credit should read: BBC/PA Wire''NOTE TO EDITORS: Not for use more than 21 days after issue. You may use this picture without charge only for the purpose of publicising or reporting on current BBC programming, personnel or other BBC output or activity within 21 days of issue. Any use after that time MUST be cleared through BBC Picture Publicity. Please credit the image to the BBC and any named photographer or independent programme maker, as described in the caption.

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”.

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.”

Speaking outside his home in west London, James May said Clarkson’s departure is a “tragedy”.

He said: “Well apparently they have shot him. I’ve only found this out by prising the information out of various BBC sources, nobody has actually told me officially until a few moments ago when they emailed.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it. It’s a tragedy. I’m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily has turned into something big.

“I don’t really want to say anything more than that at the moment, I have only known for the past few minutes and if you excuse me I have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.”

Asked if he thought the decision was fair, May said: “It is probably within the law and their hands were tied.”

He added: “I’m sure Top Gear will continue in some way. It existed before us and it has been reformatted several times.”

Asked if he will stay at Top Gear, May said: “Well I don’t want to talk about that too much but I think we are very much the three of us as a package. It works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand. So that will require a lot of careful thought.”

Asked about a possible replacement for Clarkson and who he would like to work with, he said: “Much as I think he’s a knob I quite like working with Jeremy.”

Richard Hammond tweeted: “Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.”

More than one million people signed a petition calling for Clarkson to be reinstated, with Change.org saying people from Sheffield were among the biggest supporters of the campaign.

The presenter, 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 Sunday they had been postponed.

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

The beleaguered presenter appeared to suggest he may be sacked from the BBC Two show and criticised the corporation’s executives.

Clarkson said he was told off by his lawyer after his on-stage speech at the charity gala in north London was captured on video.

Clarkson told those gathered at the 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***?

“It was a great show and they f***** it up.”

Mr Hall’s full statement:

“It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

“I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4 March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

“I want to make three points.

First - 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.

“Second - This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

“Third - Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

“The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.”