Jeremy Clarkson

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Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson.jpg
Clarkson, 2006
BornJeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
(1960-04-11) 11 April 1960 (age 54)[1]
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
ResidenceChipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England
Langness, Isle of Man
EducationHill House School, Doncaster
Repton School
OccupationJournalist, presenter, columnist, writer
Years activeSince 1988
EmployerBBC, The Sun, The Sunday Times
Known for
Notable work(s)See below
Home townDoncaster, England
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2]
Spouse(s)Alexandra James (m. 1989; div. 1990)
Frances Cain (m. 1993)
ParentsShirley and Eddie Clarkson d.1994
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Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson.jpg
Clarkson, 2006
BornJeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
(1960-04-11) 11 April 1960 (age 54)[1]
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
ResidenceChipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England
Langness, Isle of Man
EducationHill House School, Doncaster
Repton School
OccupationJournalist, presenter, columnist, writer
Years activeSince 1988
EmployerBBC, The Sun, The Sunday Times
Known for
Notable work(s)See below
Home townDoncaster, England
Height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[2]
Spouse(s)Alexandra James (m. 1989; div. 1990)
Frances Cain (m. 1993)
ParentsShirley and Eddie Clarkson d.1994

Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May. He also writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.

From a career as a local journalist in Northern England, Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, Clarkson has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000, he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson.

His opinionated but humorous tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often provoked public reaction. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public. He has also generated a significant following from the public, being credited as a major factor in the resurgence of Top Gear as one of the most popular shows on the BBC.

Personal life

Clarkson was born in Doncaster to travelling salesman Edward Grenville Clarkson and teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward.[3] His parents, who ran a business selling tea cosies, put their son's name down in advance for private school with no idea how they were going to pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children.[4] 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, Doncaster and later Repton School.[5][6] By his own account, he was expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself."[7] Clarkson attended Repton School alongside Formula One engineer Adrian Newey.[8]

Clarkson played the role of a public schoolboy, Atkinson, in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels until his voice broke.[9][10]

Clarkson married Alexandra James (now Hall) in 1989, but she left him for one of his friends after six months.[11]

In May 1993 he married his manager,[3] Frances Cain (daughter of VC recipient Robert Henry Cain) in Fulham. The couple currently live in Chipping Norton, in the Cotswolds, with their three children.[12] Clarkson is a member of the Chipping Norton set.[13] Known for buying him car-related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's second wife bought him a Mercedes-Benz 600.[14] She was reported to have filed divorce proceedings in April 2014. Clarkson is believed to be in a relationship with Phillipa Sage, who worked on Top Gear.[11]

In September 2010 Clarkson was granted a privacy injunction against his first wife to prevent her from publishing claims that their sexual relationship continued after his second marriage. (See AMM v HXW) He voluntarily lifted the injunction in October 2011,[15] commenting that: "Injunctions don’t work. You take out an injunction against somebody or some organisation and immediately news of that injunction and the people involved and the story behind the injunction is in a legal-free world on Twitter and the Internet. It’s pointless."[16]

Clarkson's fondness for wearing jeans has been blamed by some for the decline in sales of denim in the mid-1990s, particularly Levi's, because of their being associated with middle aged men, the so-called 'Jeremy Clarkson effect'.[17] After Trinny and Susannah labelled Clarkson's dress sense as that of a market trader, he was persuaded to appear on their fashion makeover show What Not to Wear to avoid being considered for their all-time worst dressed winner award.[18] Their attempts at restyling Clarkson were rebuffed, and Clarkson stated he would rather eat his own hair than appear on the show again.[19][20]

For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar: a container for preserved fruit.[12][21]

Clarkson is a fan of the rock band Genesis and attended the band's reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. He also provided sleeve notes for the reissue of the album Selling England by the Pound as part of the Genesis 1970–1975 box set.[22] He uses his love for Genesis to mock his fellow presenter of BBC Top Gear, Richard Hammond.

Clarkson was involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across the grounds of his second home on the Isle of Man from 2005 to 2010, after reports that dogs had attacked and killed sheep on the property.[23] Clarkson and his wife had claimed that four sheep were deliberately killed after being chased into the sea by a dog let off its lead.[24] He lost the dispute after the Isle of Man government held a public inquiry, and was told to re-open the footpath.[25] The decision was affirmed by the Isle of Man High Court.[26]


Writing career

Clarkson's first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington Bear toys.[27] 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.

In 1984, Clarkson formed the Motoring Press Agency (MPA), in which, with fellow motoring journalist Jonathan Gill, he conducted road tests for local newspapers and automotive magazines. This developed into pieces for publications such as Performance Car.[28] He has regularly written for Top Gear magazine since its launch in 1993.

Clarkson writes regular columns in the tabloid newspaper The Sun, and for the broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times. His columns in the Times are republished in The Weekend Australian newspaper. He also writes for the "Wheels" section of the Toronto Star.

Clarkson has written humorous books about cars and several other subjects. Many of his books are collections of articles that he has written for The Sunday Times.


Clarkson with his fellow Top Gear Presenters, Richard Hammond and James May.

Clarkson's first major television role came as one of the presenters on the British motoring programme Top Gear, from 27 October 1988 to 3 February 2000,[29] in the programme's earlier format, and then again from 20 October 2002, when it was relaunched in a new format after a brief period off the air. Along with co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond, he is credited with turning Top Gear into the most-watched TV show on BBC Two,[30] rebroadcast to over 100 countries around the world.[31]

Clarkson presented the first series UK version of Robot Wars.[32] His talk show, Clarkson, comprised 27 half-hour episodes aired in the United Kingdom between November 1998 and December 2000, and featured guest interviews with musicians, politicians and television personalities. Clarkson went on to present documentaries focused on non-motoring themes such as history and engineering, although the motoring shows and videos continued. Alongside his stand-alone shows, many mirror the format of his newspaper columns and books, combining his love of driving and motoring journalism, with the examination and expression of his other views on the world, such as in Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, Jeremy Clarkson's Car Years and Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours.

Clarkson's views are often showcased on television shows. In 1997, Clarkson appeared on the light-hearted comedy show Room 101, in which a guest nominates things they hate in life to be consigned to nothingness. Clarkson dispatched caravans, houseflies, the sitcom Last of the Summer Wine, the mentality within golf clubs, and vegetarians. He has made several appearances on the prime time talk shows Parkinson and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross since 2002. By 2003, his persona was deemed to fit the mould for the series Grumpy Old Men, in which middle-aged men talk about any aspects of modern life which irritate them. Since the topical news panel show Have I Got News for You dismissed regular host Angus Deayton in October 2002, Clarkson has become one of the most regularly used guest hosts on the show. Clarkson has appeared as a panellist on the political current affairs television show Question Time twice since 2000.

In 2007, Clarkson won the National Television Awards Special Recognition Award. Also in 2007, it was reported that Clarkson earned £1 million a year for his role as a Top Gear presenter, and a further £1.7 million from books, DVDs and newspaper columns.[33]

In 2007, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were the first people to reach the North Magnetic Pole in a car, chronicled in Top Gear: Polar Special.[34] In 2008, Clarkson sustained minor injuries to his legs, back and hand in an intentional collision with a brick wall while making the 12th series of Top Gear.[35]

Opinions and influence


Clarkson is in favour of personal freedom and against government regulation, stating that government should "build park benches and that is it. They should leave us alone."[36] He has a particular contempt for the Health and Safety Executive. He often criticised the Labour governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, especially what he calls the 'ban' culture, frequently fixating on the bans on smoking and 2004 ban on fox hunting.

Jeremy Clarkson's comments have both a large number of supporters and opposers. He often comments on the media-perceived social issues of the day such as the fear of challenging adolescent youths, known as 'hoodies'. In 2007 Clarkson was cleared of allegations of assaulting a hoodie while visiting central Milton Keynes, after Thames Valley Police said that if anything, he had been the victim.[37] In the five-part series Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the Neighbours he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-Type, examining (and in some cases reinforcing) his stereotypes of other countries.

As a motoring journalist, he is frequently critical of government initiatives such as the London congestion charge or proposals on road charging. He is also frequently scornful of caravanners and cyclists. He has often singled out John Prescott the former Transport Minister, and Stephen Joseph[38] the head of the public transport pressure group Transport 2000 for ridicule.

In September 2013 a tweet proposing that he might stand for election as an independent candidate in Doncaster North, the constituency of the current Labour leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, excited much interest in the press.[39]


Clarkson is unsympathetic to the green movement and has little respect for groups such as Greenpeace—he believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians" who had found a more relevant cause—[40] but "loves the destination" of environmentalism and believes that people should quietly strive to be more eco-friendly.[41] Regarding windfarms, he says that in the future, they will be described as "a reminder of the time when mankind temporarily took leave of its senses and decided wind, waves and lashings of tofu could somehow generate enough electricity for the whole planet"[42] Clarkson has voiced some views regarding global warming: he believes that higher temperatures are not necessarily negative and that anthropogenic carbon dioxide production has a negligible effect on the global climate,[41] but is aware of the negative potential consequences of global warming, saying "let's just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?"[43]

In an attempt to prove the press and public furore over the 2007 UK child benefit data scandal was a fuss about nothing, he published his own bank account number and sort code, together with instructions on how to find out his address, in The Sun newspaper, expecting nobody to be able to remove money from his account. He later discovered that someone had set up a monthly direct debit for £500 to Diabetes UK.[44]

Cultural mockery

Clarkson has been very critical of the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.[45] He referred to the USA as the United States of Total Paranoia, commenting that one needs a permit to do everything except for purchasing weapons.[46]


Whilst Clarkson states such views in his columns and in public appearances, his public persona does not necessarily represent his personal views, as he acknowledged whilst interviewing Alastair Campbell saying "I don't believe what I write, any more than you (Alastair Campbell) believe what you say".[47]

Clarkson has been described as a "skilful propagandist for the motoring lobby" by The Economist.[48] With a forthright and sometimes deadpan delivery, Clarkson is said to thrive on the notoriety his public comments bring, and has risen to the level of the bête noire of the various groups who disagree with his views. On the Channel 4 organised viewer poll, for the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate programme, Clarkson polled in 66th place. By 2005, Clarkson was perceived by the press to have upset so many people and groups, The Independent put him on trial for various 'crimes', declaring him guilty on most counts.[43]


Responses to Clarkson's comments are often directed personally, with derogatory comments about residents of Norfolk leading to some residents organising a "We hate Jeremy Clarkson" club. In The Guardian's 2007 'Media 100' list, which lists the top 100 most "powerful people in the [media] industry", based on cultural, economic and political influence in the UK, Clarkson was listed as a new entrant at 74th. Some critics even attribute Clarkson's actions and views as being influential enough to be responsible for the closure of Rover and the Luton manufacturing plant of Vauxhall.[49] Clarkson's comments about Rover prompted workers to hang an "Anti-Clarkson Campaign" banner outside the defunct Longbridge plant in its last days.

The BBC often plays down his comments as ultimately not having the weight they are ascribed. In 2007 they described Clarkson as "Not a man given to considered opinion",[21] and in response to an official complaint another BBC spokeswoman once said: "Jeremy's colourful comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC. More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye."[50]

On his chat show, Clarkson, he caused upset to the Welsh by placing a 3D plastic map of Wales into a microwave oven and switching it on. He later defended this by saying, "I put Wales in there because Scotland wouldn't fit."[51][52][53]


In 2005, Clarkson received an honorary Doctor of Engineering degree from the Oxford Brookes University.[54] His views on the environment precipitated a small demonstration at the award ceremony for his honorary degree, when Clarkson was pied by road protester Rebecca Lush.[55] Clarkson took this incident in good humour, responding 'good shot' and subsequently referring to Lush as "Banana girl".[56][57] Clarkson has spoken in support of hydrogen cars.[36]

In 2008, an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns.[36] In their official response to the petition, Number 10 agreed with Clarkson's comments.[58]

In response to the reactions he gets, Clarkson has stated "I enjoy this back and forth, it makes the world go round but it is just opinion."[36] On the opinion that his views are influential enough to topple car companies, he has argued that he has proof that he has had no influence. "When I said that the Ford Orion was the worst car ever it went on to become a best-selling car."[36]

Clarkson was ranked 49th on Motor Trend Magazine's Power List for 2011, its list of the fifty most influential figures in the automotive industry.[59]

Military interests

Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces and several of his DVDs and television shows have featured a military theme, whether it be flying in military jets or several Clarkson focused Top Gear spots having a military theme such as Clarkson escaping a Challenger 2 tank in a Range Rover, a Lotus Exige evading missile lock from an Apache attack helicopter, a platoon of Irish Guardsmen shooting at a Porsche Boxster and Mercedes-Benz SLK, or using a Ford Fiesta as a Royal Marine landing craft. Clarkson visited British troops in Baghdad in October 2005.[60]

Clarkson presented a programme looking at recipients of the Victoria Cross, in particular focusing on his father-in-law, Robert Henry Cain, who received a VC for actions during the Battle of Arnhem in World War II.[61]

In 2007, Clarkson wrote and presented Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time, a documentary about the World War II Operation Chariot, a 1942 Commando raid on the docks of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France. At the end of 2007 Clarkson became a patron of Help for Heroes,[62] a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded British servicemen. His effort led to the 2007 Christmas appeal in The Sunday Times supporting Help for Heroes.[63] Clarkson is currently in the process of making a documentary about the Arctic convoys of World War II.

Engineering interests

Clarkson is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work. In Inventions That Changed the World Clarkson showcased the invention of the gun, computer, jet engine, telephone and television. He has previously criticised the engineering feats of the 20th century as merely improvements on the truly innovative inventions of the Industrial Revolution. He cites the lack of any source of alternative power for cars, other than by "small explosions". In Great Britons, as part of a public poll to find the greatest historical Briton, Clarkson was the chief supporter for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a prominent engineer during the Industrial Revolution credited with numerous innovations. Despite this, he also has a passion for many modern examples of engineering. In Speed and Extreme Machines Clarkson rides and showcases numerous vehicles and machinery. Clarkson was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University on 12 September 2003, partly because of his work in popularising engineering, and partly because of his advocacy of Brunel.[64]

In his book, I Know You Got Soul he describes many machines that he believes possess a soul. He cited the Concorde crash as his inspiration, feeling a sadness for the demise of the machine as well as the passengers. Clarkson was a passenger on the last BA Concorde flight on 24 October 2003. Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong he described the retirement of the fleet as "This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind".[65]

He briefly acquired an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter XM172, which was installed in the front garden of his country home. The Lightning was subsequently removed on the orders of the local council, which "wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower", according to Clarkson on a Tiscali Motoring webchat. In fact, the whole affair was set up for his programme Speed, and the Lightning is now back serving as gate guardian at Wycombe Air Park (formerly RAF Booker).[66]

In a Top Gear episode, Clarkson drove the Bugatti Veyron in a race across Europe against a Cessna private aeroplane. The Veyron was an £850,000 technology demonstrator project built by Volkswagen to become the fastest production car, but a practical road car at the same time. In building such an ambitious machine, Clarkson described the project as "a triumph for lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world."[67] After winning the race, Clarkson announced that "It's quite a hollow victory really, because I've got to go for the rest of my life knowing that I'll never own that car. I'll never experience that power again."[68]



Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder once owned by Clarkson

Clarkson owns or has owned:

Clarkson wanted to purchase the Ford GT after admiring its inspiration, the Ford GT40 race cars of the 1960s. Clarkson was able to secure a place on the shortlist for the few cars that would be imported to Britain to official customers, only through knowing Ford's head of PR through a previous job. After waiting years and facing an increased price, he found many technical problems with the car. After "the most miserable month's motoring possible," he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for advice over the Internet, he bought back his GT. He called it "the most unreliable car ever made", because he was never able to complete a return journey with it.[75] In 2006 Clarkson ordered a Gallardo Spyder and sold the Ford GT to make way for it. In August 2008 he sold the Gallardo because "idiots in Peugeots kept trying to race [him] in it".[78] In October, he announced that he had sold his Volvo XC90. In January 2009, in a review of the car printed in The Times, he wrote: "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is this: it takes six children to school in the morning."[69]


Clarkson has spoken very highly of the Czech-made Škoda Yeti, calling it possibly the best car in the world; and used 20 minutes of a Top Gear episode putting the Yeti through a number of challenges to support his point.[79] Clarkson called the Brera, Alfa's latest sports car, "Cameron Diaz on wheels".[80] Clarkson has expressed fondness for late-model V8 Holdens, available in the UK rebadged as Vauxhalls. Of the Monaro he said, "It's like they had a picture of me on their desk and said [Australian accent] 'Let's build that bloke a car!'" and "I can't believe it... I've fallen in love... with a Vauxhall!"[81] Clarkson suffered two slipped discs that he attributed to driving the Monaro, which he described as being "back-breakingly marvellous".[82]


One of Clarkson's most infamous dislikes was of the British car brand Rover, the last major British owned and built car manufacturer. This view stretched back to the company's time as part of British Leyland. Describing the history of the company up to its last flagship model, the Rover 75, he paraphrased Winston Churchill and stated "Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many," citing issues with the rack and pinion steering system. In the latter years of the company Clarkson blamed the "uncool" brand image as being more of a hindrance to sales than any faults with the cars. On its demise, Clarkson stated "I cannot even get teary and emotional about the demise of the company itself – though I do feel sorry for the workforce." Jeremy is also famous for his hatred for the Toyota Prius.[83]

Clarkson is also well known for his criticism of Vauxhalls[84][85] and has described Vauxhall's parent company, General Motors, as a "pensions and healthcare" company which sees the "car making side of the business as an expensive loss-making nuisance".[85] Clarkson has expressed particular disdain for the Vauxhall Vectra, describing it as "One of my least favourite cars in the world. I've always hated it because I've always felt it was designed in a coffee break by people who couldn't care less about cars" and "one of the worst chassis I've ever come across".[86] After a Top Gear piece by Clarkson for its launch in 1995, described by The Independent as "not doing [GM] any favours",[87] Vauxhall complained to the BBC and announced, "We can take criticism but this piece was totally unbalanced."[88]


Clarkson's comments and actions have sometimes resulted in complaints from viewers, car companies, and national governments.

Activities on Top Gear

In 2004, the BBC apologised unreservedly and paid £250 in compensation to a Somerset parish council, after Clarkson damaged a 30-year-old horse-chestnut tree by driving into it to test the strength of a Toyota Hilux.[89] In December 2006, the BBC complaints department upheld the complaint of four Top Gear viewers that Clarkson had used the phrase "ginger beer" (rhyming slang for "queer") in a derogatory manner, when Clarkson picked up on and agreed with an audience member's description of the Daihatsu Copen as being a bit "gay".[90] The Top Gear: Polar Special was criticised by the BBC Trust for glamorising drink driving in a scene showing Clarkson and James May in a vehicle, despite Clarkson saying to the camera "And please do not write to us about drinking and driving, because I am not driving I am sailing." (as they were on top of international, frozen waters.)[91] They stated the scene "was not editorially justified" despite occurring outside the jurisdiction of any drink driving laws.

In a later incident during a Top Gear episode broadcast on 13 November 2005, Clarkson, while talking about a Mini design that might be "quintessentially German", made a mock Nazi salute, and made references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland by setting the GPS system to Poland.[92]

In November 2008, Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.[93][94] The BBC stated the comment was a comic rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer's expectation of Clarkson's Top Gear persona.[93] Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a "strongly worded" letter to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked.[94] Clarkson dismissed Mole's comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing, "There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show."[95] Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that "They were just having a laugh. It's the 21st century, let's get our sense of humour in line."[93]

In July 2009, Clarkson was reported to have called Prime Minister Brown "a silly cunt" during a warm-up while recording a Top Gear show. Although several newspapers reported that he had subsequently argued with BBC Two controller Janice Hadlow,[96] who was present at the recording, the BBC denied that he had been given a "dressing down".[97] John Whittingdale, Conservative chair of the Culture Select Committee remarked: "Many people will find that offensive, many people will find that word in particular very offensive [...] I am surprised he felt it appropriate to use it."[96]

On 6 July 2010, Clarkson reportedly angered gay rights campaigners after he made a remark on Top Gear that did not get aired on the 4 July's episode. But guest Alastair Campbell wrote about it on Twitter. Clarkson apparently said he "Demanded the right not to get bummed". The BBC later said that they cut this remark out as they "edited down" the interview as it was too long to fit into the show.[98] In an episode aired after the watershed on 1 August 2010, Clarkson described a Ferrari F430 as "speciale needs". He said the car owned by co-presenter James May looked "like a simpleton". Media regulator Ofcom investigated after receiving two complaints, and found that the comments "were capable of causing offence" but did not censure the BBC.[99]

On 12 January 2012, the Indian High Commission lodged a formal complaint with the BBC over the "tasteless" antics of Clarkson's Top Gear Christmas special where he mocked India's culture and people. During the 90-minute special, which was aired twice over the Christmas break, Clarkson made a string of jokes about Indian food, clothes, toilets, trains and history.[100] On an episode of Top Gear broadcast on 5 February 2012, Clarkson compared a Japanese car/camper van to a person with a growth on their face. A major UK charity that supports people with facial disfigurements, Changing Faces, complained to the BBC and Ofcom after Clarkson's remarks.[101]

In an unused take for a Top Gear feature recorded in early 2013, Clarkson is alleged to have mumbled the ethnic slur "nigger" in a children's rhyme. The clip later surfaced on the website of the Daily Mirror tabloid at the beginning of May 2014.[102] In the take, Clarkson attempts to mumble the sentence so as to obscure the word, but admitted that upon a close listening, the word could still be heard. Clarkson apologised for his efforts not being "quite good enough" to ensure the footage was not used.[103] It was reported on 3 May, that the BBC had given Clarkson a final warning, with the presenter accepting that he will be sacked if he makes another offensive remark.[104]

Near the end of the Top Gear: Burma Special, which aired March 2014, Clarkson and Hammond were seen admiring a wooden bridge, which they had built during the episode. Clarkson is quoted as saying "That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it." as a native crosses the bridge, 'slope' being a pejorative for Asians. Top Gear Executive Producer Andy Wilman responded: "When we used the word slope in the recent Top Gear Burma Special it was a light-hearted word play joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it. We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word slope is considered by some to be offensive"[105] In October 2014, Clarkson attracted controversy when filming the Top Gear: Patagonia Special after driving a Porsche 928 in Argentina with the licence plate H982 FKL, allegedly referring to the Falklands War.[106] Also, during the broadcast itself, Clarkson was seen referring to the controversy that had risen after the Burma Special; when inspecting a bridge, which he and his colleagues had built during the episode, he was quoted as saying "That is a proud moment, Hammond, but… is it straight?" [107]

Activities outside of Top Gear

In October 1998, Hyundai complained to the BBC about what they described as "bigoted and racist" comments he made at the Birmingham Motor Show, where he was reported as saying that the people working on the Hyundai stand had "eaten a dog" and that the designer of the Hyundai XG had probably eaten a spaniel for his lunch. Clarkson also allegedly referred to those working on the BMW stand as "Nazis", although BMW said they would not be complaining.[50]

In April 2007, he was criticised in the Malaysian parliament for having described one of their cars, the Perodua Kelisa, as the worst in the world, "its name was like a disease and suggested it was built in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes". A Malaysian government minister countered, pointing out that no complaints had been received from UK customers who had bought the car.[108][109]

While in Australia, Clarkson made disparaging remarks aimed at the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, in February 2009, calling him a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and accused him of lying. These comments were widely condemned by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and also Scottish politicians who requested that he should be taken off air.[110][111][112][113] He subsequently apologised for referencing Brown's monocular blindness, but insisted: "I haven't apologised for calling him an idiot."[114]

His 4 September 2011 column for The Sun newspaper drew angry remarks[115] in response to Clarkson's call to abolish the Welsh language: "I think we are fast approaching the time when the United Nations should start to think seriously about abolishing other languages. What's the point of Welsh for example? All it does is provide a silly maypole around which a bunch of hotheads can get all nationalistic."

On 30 November 2011 while being interviewed on the BBC's The One Show, Clarkson commented on the UK's public sector strike that day, lauding the capital's empty roads. After mentioning the BBC's need for balance, he said, "I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families." The programme later apologised for his remarks, with further apologies issued by Clarkson and the BBC.[116] These remarks had attracted 21,335 complaints to the BBC within 36 hours; the BBC also received 314 messages of support for Clarkson.[117]

Clarkson was criticised by the mental health charity Mind for his 3 December 2011 column for The Sun, in which he described those who jump in front of trains as "Johnny Suicide" and argues that following a death, trains should carry on their journeys as soon as possible. He adds: "The train cannot be removed nor the line re-opened until all of the victim's body has been recovered. And sometimes the head can be half a mile away from the feet." ... "Change the driver, pick up the big bits of what's left of the victim, get the train moving as quickly as possible and let foxy woxy and the birds nibble away at the smaller, gooey parts that are far away or hard to find."[118]

Road safety

Clarkson often discusses high speed driving on public roads, criticising road safety campaigns involving cameras and speed bumps. In 2002, a Welsh Assembly Member Alun Pugh wrote to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about Clarkson's comments that he believed encouraged people to use Welsh roads as a high speed test track. A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".[119] Clarkson has also made similar comments about driving in Lincolnshire.[120] As of 2004 Clarkson was reported as having a clean licence.[121] In a November 2005 Times article, Clarkson wrote on the Bugatti Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240 mph," and "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you simply wouldn't believe me."[122] In 2007, solicitor Nick Freeman represented Clarkson against a charge of driving at 86 mph in a 50 mph zone on the A40 road in London, defeating it on the basis that the driver of the car loaned to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo could not be ascertained.[123] In 2008, Clarkson claimed in a talk at the Hay Festival to have been given a speeding ticket for driving at 186 mph on the A1203 Limehouse Link road in London.[124]

Piers Morgan feud

In March 2004 at the British Press Awards, he swore at Piers Morgan and punched him before being restrained by security; Morgan says it has left him with a scar above his left eyebrow.[125]



YearTitleReleaseNo. of EpisodesNo. of Series
1988–2000Top GearBBC VHS, 1994–1998VariousVarious
1995–1996Jeremy Clarkson's MotorworldBBC VHS, 199613 Episodes2
1997Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme MachinesBBC VHS, 19976 Episodes1
1998Robot WarsN/A6 Episodes1
1998–2000ClarksonN/A27 Episodes3
2000Jeremy Clarkson's Car YearsN/A6 Episodes1
2001Jeremy Clarkson's SpeedBBC VHS, 20016 Episodes1
2001You Don't Want To Do ThatN/A1 EpisodeN/A
2002 –Top GearBBC DVD, 2010–VariousVarious
2002Jeremy Clarkson: Meets the NeighboursN/A5 Episodes1
2003The Victoria Cross: For ValourBBC DVD, 20111 EpisodeN/A
2004Inventions That Changed the WorldN/A5 Episodes1
2007Jeremy Clarkson: The Greatest Raid of All TimeBBC DVD, 20111 EpisodeN/A
2014PQ17: An Arctic Convoy DisasterN/A1 EpisodeN/A

Other roles

1993Mr Blobby's ChristmasGuest
1997Room 101Guest
1997The Mrs Merton ShowGuest
2002100 Greatest BritonsGuest
2002, 08, 09, 10, 12, 14Have I Got News for YouGuest Host
2002Friday Night with Jonathan RossGuest
2003Patrick Kielty Almost LiveGuest
2003Question TimeParticipant
2003Grumpy Old MenParticipant
2004Call My BluffParticipant
2004Who Do You Think You Are?Participant
2005Top of the PopsGuest Host
2006CarsHarv (Voice)
2006Never Mind the BuzzcocksGuest Host
2006The F WordParticipant
2008The One ShowGuest
2009The Chris Moyles ShowGuest
2009Love the BeastGuest
20098 Out of 10 CatsGuest
2011Forza Motorsport 4Voice Artist
2012The Chris Evans Breakfast ShowGuest
2013Forza Motorsport 5Voice Artist


  1. "Top Gear: Supercars" (With Tiff Needell) (1994, BBC Video, VHS).
  2. "Top Gear: Classic Cars" (With Quentin Willson) (1995, BBC Video, VHS).
  3. "Motorsport Mayhem" (1995, Arison International, VHS/DVD).
  4. "More Motorsport Mayhem" (With Steve Rider) (1996, Arison International, VHS).
  5. "Motorworld" (1996, BBC Video, VHS).
  6. "Unleashed on Cars" (1996, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  7. "Extreme Machines" (1997, BBC Video, VHS).
  8. "Apocalypse Clarkson" (1997, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  9. "Top Gear: The Fast & Furious" (With Tiff Needell) (1997, BBC Video, VHS).
  10. "The Most Outrageous Jeremy Clarkson Film In The World...Ever!" (1998, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  11. "Top Gear: The Fast & Furious II" (With Tiff Needell) (1998, BBC Video, VHS).
  12. "Head To Head" (1999, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  13. "At Full Throttle" (2000, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  14. "Speed" (2001, BBC Video, VHS).
  15. "Top 100 Cars" (2001, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  16. "No Limits" (2002, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  17. "Shoot Out" (2003, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  18. "Hot Metal" (2004, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  19. "Heaven & Hell" (2005, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  20. "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly" (2006, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  21. "Supercar Showdown" (2007, 2|Entertain, DVD). ( copies come with 'Behind The Scenes' DVD)
  22. "The Collection" (2008, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  23. "Thriller" (2008, 2|Entertain, DVD). ( copies come with 'Behind The Scenes' DVD)
  24. "Duel" (2009, 2|Entertain, DVD). (Top Gear Magazine offer includes 'Behind The Scenes' DVD)
  25. "The Italian Job" (2010, 2|Entertain, DVD). (2-Disc edition copies come with 'Behind The Scenes' DVD)
  26. "War Stories" (2011, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  27. "Powered Up" (2011, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  28. "Top Gear: Worst Car in the History of the World" (With James May) (2012, BBC DVD)
  29. "Top Gear: The Perfect Road Trip" (With Richard Hammond) (2013, BBC DVD)


Jeremy Clarkson's MotorworldBBC Books
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2004
Clarkson on CarsVirgin Books
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2004
Clarkson's Hot 100Virgin Books
Carlton Books
Reprinted 1998
Planet DagenhamAndre Deustch
Carlton Books
Reprinted 2006
Born to be RiledBBC Books
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2007
Jeremy Clarkson on FerrariLancaster Books
Salamander Books
Reprinted 2001
The World According To ClarksonIcon Books
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2005
I Know You Got SoulMichael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2006
And Another Thing...Michael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2007
Don't Stop Me Now!!Michael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2008
For Crying Out Loud!Michael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2009
Driven To DistractionMichael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2010
How Hard Can It Be?Michael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2011
Round The BendMichael Joseph
Penguin Books
Reprinted 2012

See also


  1. ^ "Researcha". Retrieved 30 August 2011. [dead link]
  2. ^ "Top Gear – Peel P50 feature". Series 10. Episode 3. 28 October 2007.
  3. ^ a b "Desert Island Discs – Jeremy Clarkson". BBC Radio4. 16 November 2003. Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  4. ^ Shirley Clarkson, 'Bearly Believable: My Part in the Paddington Bear Story', Harriman House Publishing, 23 June 2008 ISBN 978-1-905641-72-7
  5. ^ "Please Look after This Bear" (RealAudio). 18:31 minutes in. BBC Radio 4.
  6. ^ ""Jeremy Clarkson's mum lifts lid on famous son" by Alex Eckford. ''Autotrader'', date unclear, viewed 16 July 2012". 16 July 2010. Retrieved 20 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson's Fact File". Patrick Keilty, Almost Live – Guest profiles (BBC). Retrieved 27 April 2007. He claims to have been expelled from his public school for drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself. 
  8. ^ "Newey giving shape to Red Bull dreams". Ruhi Batra (The Times of India). Retrieved 16 October 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Radio Academy". William ('Uncle David') Davis. The Radio Academy (a registered charity dedicated to the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK broadcasting and audio production). Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2013. Among the schoolboy actors who passed through the Jennings plays before their voices broke, incidentally, was Jeremy Clarkson 
  10. ^ Jeremy Clarkson (2013). Jeremy Clarkson on LBC 97.3 (Online video). Retrieved 29 November 2014. 
  11. ^ a b
  12. ^ a b "Who Do You Think You Are? – Jeremy Clarkson" (Press release). BBC. 24 September 2004. Retrieved 2 August 2006. 
  13. ^ Caroline Dewar (5 March 2012). "Who's who in the Chipping Norton set". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 May 2012. 
  14. ^ J Clarkson (13 January 2008). "Mazda MX-5: It's far too cool for you, Mr Footballer". The Sunday Times (UK). Retrieved 13 January 2008. 
  15. ^ AMM v HXW [2010] EWHC 2457 (QB) (7 October 2010), High Court (England and Wales)
  16. ^ Halliday, Josh (27 October 2011). "Jeremy Clarkson lifts 'pointless' injunction against ex-wife". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  17. ^ Benady, Alex (24 January 2005). "Shakespeare's Bottom pinched by Levi admen". The Daily Telegraph (UK). Retrieved 22 July 2008. "For a period in the late '90s denim became unfashionable," said Louise Foster, of the fashion trade magazine Draper's Record. "501s – Levi's flagship brand – in particular suffered from the so-called Jeremy Clarkson effect', the association with men in middle youth. 
  18. ^ "Worst-Dressed Winners". Vogue. Condé Nast Publications. 27 August 2002. Retrieved 27 April 2007. FAMED fashion commentators Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall have come up with a definitive worst-dressed list to coincide with the launch of a new series of their What Not to Wear programme....While each candidate was invited onto the show for a full wardrobe makeover, only Birds of a Feather actress Leslie Joseph (who "looks like a pantomime dame"), and Jeremy Clarkson ("who looks like he should be selling vegetables in the market"), have accepted. Their reward for having their fashion sense publicly torn apart is that they will avoid winning the all-time Worst-Dressed title. 
  19. ^ "BBC ONE honours the best TV moments from 2002" (Press release). BBC Press Office. 1 February 2003. Retrieved 27 April 2007. Trinny and Susannah suggest alternatives to Jeremy Clarkson's wardrobe with very little success. Every suggested outfit is "shot down in flames" by Jeremy causing an exasperated Trinny to ask him why he agreed to appear on the programme. 
  20. ^ "Mammary mia!". The Sunday Herald. 8 September 2002. Retrieved 18 August 2007. "I'd rather eat my own hair than shop with these two again," said Jeremy Clarkson, who was lured onto their show after they picked him out as one of the "world's worst-dressed men". [dead link]
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  35. ^ "Top Gear smash pictures released". BBC Online. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
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  37. ^ BBC News Clarkson quizzed over gang ordeal, 6 December 2007
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  39. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson 'Considering Bid To Be MP'". BSkyB. 14 September 2013. 
  40. ^ This has been my perfect week Clarkson Times column 13 January 2008
  41. ^ a b "Okay, you’ve got me bang to rights – I’m a secret green" The Times, 17 May 2009
  42. ^, March 2012
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  47. ^ [Top Gear Series 15, Episode 2]
  48. ^ "Lessons from London's congestion charge" (Fee required). The Economist. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 4 March 2007. 
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  51. ^ Hargreaves, Ian (5 February 2001). "A nation mocked too much". The New Statesman. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
  52. ^ "Biker banned days after TV gaffe". BBC News Wales (BBC). 31 October 2002. Retrieved 22 July 2008. 
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  56. ^ Degree honour Clarkson hit by pie, BBC News, 12 September 2005.
  57. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (7 November 2007). "Clarkson's anti-dullness directive". Top Gear Magazine. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved 12 April 2007. Had the Banana Girl who filled my face with pie this month seen me being so reckless, she would have dropped a large boulder on my foot. Or maybe shot me in the heart with an organic gun. [dead link]
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  60. ^ Hamilton, Fiona; Coates, Sam; Savage, Michael (8 November 2005). "Clarkson and Gill in Baghdad your views". The Times (London). Retrieved 6 May 2010. 
  61. ^ [1] The Victoria Cross: For Valour at the Internet Movie Database
  62. ^ "Help for Heroes official site". Retrieved 25 August 2010. 
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  64. ^ "Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson – 2003". Brunel University. 15 October 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  65. ^ Flintoff, John-Paul (2010). Through the Eye of a Needle. Permanent Publications. p. 80. ISBN 9781856230452. 
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  67. ^ Time Online Bugatti Veyron – Utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly brilliant, 27 November 2005
  68. ^ "Top Gear". series 7, episode 5. 11 December 2005. BBC Two.
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  70. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (15 March 2009). "Range Rover TDV8 Vogue SE". The Sunday Times (London). Retrieved 4 March 2011. 
  71. ^ The world according to Clarkson, Sunday Times, 30 April 2006
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Further reading

External links