The former producer of Top Gear has claimed the BBC threatened to sue ex-presenter James May if he repeats his “cock” catchphrase on the team’s new Amazon Prime series.
The production and presenting team on Amazon Prime’s forthcoming series The Grand Tour is the same as the one Top Gear had until Jeremy Clarkson punched producer Oisin Tymon and called him “an Irish c**t”.
Ex-Top Gear boss Andy Wilman is now overseeing The Grand Tour, which starts on Amazon Prime in autumn. Speaking at The Edinburgh TV Festival, Wilman said the BBC were threatening legal action over repeating anything from Top Gear.
Wilman claimed this includes May saying “Cock”, even though this had been his catchphrase on the BBC2 motoring show.
Wilman said: “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what we can’t repeat from Top Gear. There’s no Stig, no race track, no Dunsfold where we used to have the race track. But it does get hilarious. You get meetings where it’s ‘Can James May still say “Cock” or is the BBC going to sue?’ James then says ‘I’ve always said cock!’”
The producer, who worked on Top Gear for 13 years until Clarkson’s dismissal, admitted the publicity from a court case surrounding May’s catchphrase would only benefit The Grand Tour. He said: “It’s win-win, as if we get sued for James saying ‘Cock’, that’d be brilliant. The lawyers go through everything.”
Replacing Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond, Top Gear launched on BBC2 in June with Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc. Evans resigned the day after the final episode was broadcast.