When Jeremy was suspended from the BBC back in March, James May wrapped up an interview with reporters on his doorstep with the phrase “If you’ll excuse me, I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.”
I dismissed the phrase as a joke and eBay has remained James-May-Ferrari free in the time that has passed since, but I think I finally know the reason he may have said it.
Top Gear’s Series 22 Australian Special left me somewhat in awe. I certainly wasn’t in awe of the landscape. Being Australian, I know that particular parts of the Northern Territory are indeed extremely beautiful, but the parts Top Gear visited weren’t. Nor was I in awe of the scope of their journey. It was essentially a drive of a few hundred kilometres from Darwin to a cattle station in the middle of nowhere.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But I must admit, as hardcore car fan I was cringing for almost the entire show, as I watched three of my favourite super cars being treated with brutality.
Almost everyone, myself included, thought that Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman resigned from the BBC late last month, after his emotional email to Top Gear staff was made public. But this was not the case. Shortly after his email went viral, Andy issued a statement saying: “The email I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption”.
But this time it’s for real. Andy Wilman has officially quit, pulling the pin on his job and lobbing yet another grenade at the BBC and the Top Gear brand – who themselves are already critical after being hit hard by fans all around the world for suspending Jeremy Clarkson and then losing Richard Hammond and James May as a result. If the prospect of Top Gear returning to our screens was doubtful before, it’s now dangerously close to being canned for good.
In any event, Top Gear as we know it now, is dead.
Unseen footage filmed for Episodes 8, 9 and 10 of Top Gear’s 22nd series will be screened later this year, the BBC has confirmed. Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC Two, said the scenes will be aired as early as this summer.
We’d feared the remaining footage would never see the light of day, after Jeremy was suspended and then axed from the show last month. At the time, the three remaining Top Gear shows were scrapped by the channel, in light of the seriousness of the allegations.
Shillinglaw, who is a self-proclaimed fan of the show, has now confirmed the scenes will be broadcast, saying: “No way would we want the available material not to be seen by viewers.”
Writing in his column in the Sunday Times, Jeremy Clarkson has revealed he wants to star in another “car show” and admits there is no way back for him with Top Gear.
He said: “I have lost my baby but I shall create another. I don’t know who the other parent will be or what the baby will look like, but I cannot sit around any more organising my photograph album. Let’s stop being silly and pick up the pieces and start again … I just know I’m going to do another car show.”
Jeremy said he even considered turning his back on presenting altogether in the immediate fall-out from the incident.
In a bizarre turn of events, Jeremy Clarkson is set to return to the BBC next month, when he presents the satirical quiz show Have I Got News For You, despite not having his Top Gear contract renewed.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “Jeremy’s contract has not been renewed on Top Gear but he isn’t banned from appearing on the BBC.”
So Jeremy isn’t banned from the BBC then. But he has been suspended since March 10th, whatever that means. Perhaps his suspension for the “fracas” with Oisin Tymon only prevents him from continuing with Top Gear. Or is the BBC planning to occasionally insert Jeremy into other shows until the whole “fracas shitstorm” blows over, before renewing his contract for Top Gear in 2016?