Top Gear is a hugely popular show but has that popularity caused it to become too big for its boots and decide the rules just don’t apply to them?
It is very easy, if you’ve only seen him on Top Gear, to think of Jeremy Clarkson as a harmless buffoon, one of a trio of middle aged men, by their own admission, cocking about in front of the camera and driving around corners too fast. The show has attracted millions of views many of whom become nothing short of devoted fans with the profits both for the production team and the BBC who back it some of the best in television anywhere in the world.
Norwegian Fans On Hold
• Top Gear Live shows postponed
• Clarkson suspended for idiocy
• No stranger to controversy
Alongside James May, a man who seems to forever to hark backwards to some fictitious golden age of English glory in his manner, attitude and choice of cars, plus Richard Hammond, a country boy with all the worldly wisdom of a chipmunk on bad ecstasy, Jeremy Clarkson has been hugely successful at turning Top Gear into the world-wide phenomenon it is today, and we should never forget the dour bore-fest that he started out with.
The first incarnation of Top Gear was anything but exciting. A consumer based show that provided much useful information but little in the way of viewing pleasure, and indeed Jeremy himself claims to have left that original show having been forced to test drive a car so bland he couldn’t think of anything to say about it. The BBC canceled that show in 2001 but almost immediately Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman punted a new version of the show to the Beeb and got on the air.
The first series, if we’re honest, was a bit dire and perhaps that’s why James May was brought in to replace Jason Dawe for series two, after which things picked up, the dynamic between the trio of presenters almost instantly likeable, watchable and manifestly devoid of most motoring reality. A combination of high-octane hijinks and childish silliness creating a distinctly fun show that wasn’t gambling news of the latest Volvo tire pressure change would entertain.
BBC Sneer At Top Gear
This then is how most people think of Clarkson, a television presenter in an over-powered Mercedes lambasting his colleagues and reveling in the masculinity of motoring. Their overseas adventures, their road tests, races, and omnipresent tame-racing driver, the Stig, have kept us all watching whatever we might have thought of some of his more ridiculous views that more frequently turned up in his tabloid newspaper column than it did on the BBC’s airwaves.
Not that the Top Gear team haven’t managed to put on air enough controversy to fill a battleship, their antics were always going to be prone to offending someone, from the Morris Marina Owner’s Club to the entire nation of Mexico, they’ve not just irritated by being the very definition of “laddish” but by dint of taking it just that little bit too far, and for some moments that make you wonder if they lack judgment or the power to resist creating free publicity.
Their comments and behavior have led to them being criticized for promoting irresponsible driving, making comments that could be deemed homophobic, a constant ridiculing of environmental issues, and of course insulting the Germans, Mexicans, Poles, Indians, Argentinians and the Burmese. They were taken to court by Tesla for a misrepresentation of their electric cars, a libel case that was only dismissed when it was decided Top Gear was an entertainment not informative television program.
Not that everyone finds it entertaining. Comedian Steve Coogan described it as being full of lazy, adolescent humor and “casual racism”, a comment backed up by John Bishop when he used his own appearance on the show as the basis for a routine that began by saying Top Gear was a car program made by three men from the British National Party (an extremist right-wing party in the UK) and indeed their critics are almost as numerous as their fans.
Norway Live Show Postponed
If you’re Norway gambling laws of common sense and popularity would see Jeremy Clarkson present the “Top Gear Live” show in Norway regardless of his controversy beset existence in the UK, think again. The BBC has postponed those four shows, because as yet they have no idea what they’re going to do with Clarkson who hasn’t, this time, merely upset some people, but actually (allegedly) physically assaulted someone, and over dinner of all things.
Many of us could probably let Clarkson off for hitting someone who claimed American cars were any good, or that caravans were ideal homes on wheels, but the incident that got him suspended from the BBC was over the lack of the right sort of dinner awaiting him at a hotel after a hard day’s filming. A small confrontation with a producer led to Jeremy reeling off a expletive laden tirade (we would expect nothing less) and then thumping the producer.
When the BBC suspended him, and instantly stopped showing Top Gear, a million people signed a petition to have him reinstated, and the BBC launched a full investigation, which rather put the Top Gear Live World Tour under threat. However it says much that the shows have merely been postponed and not canceled, the majority of us expecting the BBC to slap his wrist yet again and let him off because he earns them so much money.
It has been suggested one would have to be suffering from gambling addiction in Singapore with a predilection for longshots to wager on his being sacked. The BBC don’t like Top Gear (it’s popular and base and the BBC are ridiculous snobs) but they’re not stupid and as long as Clarkson and Co are making more money than problems, it will survive, although that hasn’t stopped those who like to bet on sport in Norway using ComeOn! Sportsbook and the like to bet on which job Jeremy will have next. All I can say is that it’s unlikely to be UN ambassador.