Signs are increasingly pointing to Jeremy Clarkson’s exit from the BBC. After The Telegraph reported late Tuesday night that the controversial Top Gear host would be fired today, The Guardian now says it has confirmed that his contract will not be renewed — it comes due at the end of the month. The BBC isn’t officially commenting until a formal announcement is made which is expected to come from Director General Tony Hall later today. “When we have an outcome, we will announce it,” the BBC said. The corporation earlier this week pulled Top Gear Live events that Clarkson was due to attend this weekend. He was suspended from the hugely popular motoring show on March 10 following a so-called “fracas” with a BBC producer.
Interest in the outcome of an inquiry into the dust-up has been at fever pitch for over two weeks. The Telegraph and Guardian reports say that the investigation has found the host verbally abused the producer for 20 minutes, before physically assaulting him for 30 seconds.
Clarkson himself tweeted this morning that he hasn’t “heard a thing” (see below). On Friday, he had written, “Many many thanks to all of the people who have called for my reinstatement. I’m very touched. We shall all learn next week what will happen.”
More than 1M people supporters signed a petition to see the popular host reinstated. Among his fans is Rupert Murdoch — Clarkson pens weekly columns for his newspapers — whose Sky would be expected to chase the potentially freed-up TV host. He tweeted last night:
While confirmation on Clarkson is yet to come, there is rampant speculation on the future of Top Gear with reports indicating the show would go on. However, as with Clarkson’s contract, those of co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May are also up at the end of the month. Negotiations for their new deals were put on hold during the fracas investigation.