BBC’s former director general, Mark Thompson, has acknowledged that firing Jeremy Clarkson following his dispute with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon was a big mistake. While he doesn’t condone Jezza’s behavior in the ‘fracas’ incident, Thompson, who is now chief executive of the New York Times Company, told The Sunday Times that Clarkson’s switch to Amazon was a huge loss for the BBC.
He went on to describe the former Top Gear main host as being ‘a deeply objectionable individual’ and that punching colleagues made it hard for the BBC to keep him. On the other hand, Thomson mentioned Clarkson’s ‘pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose’, adding that he appealed to some of the audience that ‘didn’t find much else in the BBC.’
Clarkson’s departure from the BBC along with his two colleagues James May and Richard Hammond greatly affected the British broadcaster’s ratings, with the new team led by Chris Evans failing to deliver the same level of entertainment. Filming for the new Top Gear season will kick off next month, but without Evans. The rest of the cast (Matt LeBlanc, Rory Reid, Chris Harris, Sabine Schmitz, and Eddie Jordan) are expected to get back on the set in September.
Meanwhile, Clarkson and his buddies are getting ready for for their new show Grand Tour for Amazon Prime which will have its online premiere sometime this fall. The first studio segments have been recorded in a special tent set up in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the crew is now heading to southern California where the trio is programmed for a live studio recording on September 25. After that, Clarkson, May, and Hammond will be going to Europe to film in U.K. and Germany.
As a reminder, Amazon Prime has commissioned 36 episodes which will be split into three seasons each consisting of 12 episodes.