The BBC has announced that it will not be renewing Jeremy Clarkson’s contract following his infamous “fracas” with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon.
The corporation’s internal investigation into the incident, headed by Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland, found that Tymon was “subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack” by Clarkson.
Macquarrie’s report on the incident determined: “During the physical attack Oisin Tymon was struck, resulting in swelling and bleeding to his lip. The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently.” The producer was left “shocked and distressed by the incident” and thought for a time that he had lost his job.
In a statement released to the press earlier this afternoon (March 25), the BBC’s Director-General Tony Hall said: “It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.”
Hall added: “I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.”
Hall went on to brand Clarkson a “huge talent” who has made “an extraordinary contribution” to the BBC. “I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come,” Hall added.
Clarkson has presented Top Gear since the motoring show launched in 1988 and has hosted several other programmes for the BBC including Robot Wars and his own short-lived chat show Clarkson. He is believed to have earned a little under £1 million a year for his presenting job on Top Gear, but pocketed over £14 million from the show last year thanks to its astonishing global success through BBC Worldwide, the corporation’s commercial arm.
The BBC had announced on Tuesday, March 10 that the Top Gear presenter had been suspended “pending an investigation” following a “fracas” with a producer. The internal investigation began the following Monday (March 16).