More than 300,000 people have called for Doncaster Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson to be reinstated after he was suspended by the BBC for allegedly punching a TV producer.
The remainder of the current series is expected to be scrapped after allegations were made that the controversial host had hit a show co-worker in a row over catering.
The BBC suspended the star, 54, yesterday after what it called a ‘fracas’ and announced that this Sunday’s episode would not be screened.
It is understood the two final episodes in the series will also be dropped.
An online petition calling for the BBC to “reinstate” Clarkson has now been signed by more than 300,000 people.
Clarkson has not issued a statement, but has been joking on Twitter about films that could replace Sunday’s show.
The Sun newspaper, in which Clarkson writes a regular column, quotes him as saying: “I’m having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow over.” It also quotes a “source close to the star” denying Clarkson punched anyone.
The BBC had announced Clarkson’s suspension in a statement which said: “Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.
“No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”
On Tuesday evening - in an apparent reference to an interview Ed Miliband’s wife Justine had given to the BBC - Clarkson tweeted: “Sorry Ed. It seems I knocked your ‘I’m a human’ piece down the news agenda.”
I’m having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow overJeremy Clarkson
Clarkson, who has presented the motoring programme since 2002, was given what he called his “final warning” last May after claims he used a racist word during filming.
The show has never been far from controversy, with a series regularly in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Last October, Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond and crew had to abandon filming in Argentina amid angry protests over a car number plate that appeared to refer to the Falklands War.
In July, Ofcom ruled a Burma special in which Jeremy Clarkson used a racial slur broke broadcasting rules. Clarkson had used the word “slope” as an Asian man crossed a newly built bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.
The programme also drew complaints in May when video footage leaked to the Daily Mirror appeared to show Clarkson using a racist term while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe. The presenter later apologised for the incident - which was never broadcast - in a video statement where he “begged forgiveness”.
Clarkson was born in Doncaster to travelling salesman Edward Grenville Clarkson and teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward.
When he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children and 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 and later Repton School.
Clarkson’s first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents’ business selling Paddington Bear toys and 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 before making the move into television.