Thousands of people in Sheffield have signed a petition calling for the BBC to bring back suspended Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson.
The city has been named as one of the places where the most signatures have come from for the online petition, which has been supported by more than 875,000 people so far.
According to online campaigning site Change.org, which is hosting the petition, Clarkson’s strongest support has come from Sheffield, as well as London, Birmingham, Bristol and Manchester.
Clarkson, who is originally from Doncaster, has been suspended from the motoring show following a ‘fracas’ with producer Oisin Tymon, which was sparked when Clarkson was told he could not have a £21.95 hot steak.
The Mirror reported the star labelled his colleague a ‘lazy, Irish c***’ and Mr Tymon was left with a bloodied lip which resulted in him needing hospital treatment.
But Clarkson will deny using xenophobic language when he faces a disciplinary inquiry, the paper claims.
It could be weeks until Clarkson’s fate is decided and it is understood not all the potential witnesses to the row have yet been contacted ahead of the hearing.
He is scheduled to appear alongside co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond at four live shows in Norway on March 27 and 28 and a decision on whether to go ahead is expected early next week.
All three men’s contracts expire three days after the Norway gigs, which could render any disciplinary hearings redundant.
The last three episodes of the series have currently been put on hold.
The corporation has apologised to viewers who complained about the postponed episodes.
In a statement it said: “We do hope you’ll understand that we value this reaction, but the investigation is still under way. Until more is known, we’re therefore unable to say anything further in response and will not yet be making further statements about the issue.
“We realise you’ll be disappointed that we can’t respond to you in any more detail but thank you for contacting us.”
Writing in The Sun newspaper today, Clarkson has hinted the time may have come for him to leave Top Gear, likening himself to a dinosaur that nature had made a mistake in inventing.
He said that the day must come when you ‘wave goodbye to the big monsters’.
He added: “I don’t intend to dwell here on what happened then or what will happen in the future. I’m sure you’re as fed up with the story as I am.”
A lawyer for Mr Tymon said his client ‘intends to await the outcome of the BBC investigation and will make no comment until that investigation is complete’.
A family who witnessed the row said Clarkson was staying at the Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes in North Yorkshire and went into the bar at around 9.30pm after a day of filming last Wednesday.
Bob Ward, 60, from Leeds, told Sky News the star refused to have a selfie taken with him, saying: “No, not with the day I have had.”
His wife Sue claimed Clarkson then said it was ‘ridiculous there was nothing to eat’ and she said he thought his colleague had not done his job properly. “Obviously there were lots of expletives in between all this,” she added.
She said Clarkson told his colleague ‘he would see to it that he would be losing his job’.
Clarkson himself has joked about his position, telling reporters he was ‘just off to the job centre’ and later changing his Twitter profile to read: “I am probably a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show Top Gear.”
The BBC owns the rights to the Top Gear brand, which is valued at £50 million, and includes the show, DVD rights and live shows, raising the prospect of Top Gear continuing on the BBC while Clarkson takes a similar show to one of its rivals.