What the BBC Should Do With Top Gear’s Jeremy Clarkson

The centre of Jeremy Clarkson’s ‘fracas’ is that the allegation that he threw a punch at a producer over a row about dinner plans.  Out of the public eye and behind closed doors.

For this, the BBC has not only suspended Clarkson, one its biggest stars, but also cancelled the remainder of the Top Gear season (3 shows).

We at SpeediMango, given our British roots, are huge fans of Top Gear and would hate to see either Clarkson and/ or the show go.  We understand that Mr. Clarkson is not far from the centre of controversy, but at the same time it’s his outspoken controversial and creative nature which has made Top Gear the worldwide phenomenon that it is.

In the meantime, as of time of writing this, reporters are gathered outside Clarkson’s Holland Park, London home, hoping to get a comment from the presenter.  Thus far, Clarkson has remained silent on the matter, preferring via Twitter to muse over what the BBC should show on Sunday in place of the cancelled Top Gear show.  He seems to think a BBC “Test Card” would be a good idea.  So clearly staying light-hearted.

Jeremy Clarkson is also enjoying a considerable amount of support.  A Twitter petition demanding his reinstatement has already gathered 350,000 supporters, with around a thousand being added every minute according to the BBC.

This of course, puts BBC bosses in a tough spot trying to figure out the right thing to do.

Former BBC chairman, Lord Grade in a BBC interview opined that the fracas is an internal matter for the BBC, suggesting that Clarkson is just a difficult artist and that there’s always a way to manage said artists.

On the subject of Top Gear’s future without Jeremy Clarkson, original Stig character, Perry McCarthy suggested that the show couldn’t survive without him.

So the question looms what should the BBC do?

We don’t think the answer is particularly complex.  Clarkson’s major infractions to date include a racist comment during the filming of a show, where the segment was never aired and a fisticuff behind closed doors.

Since Top Gear is a quintessentially British show, we look at how another leading British entertainment institution, the English Premier League (EPL) (soccer) has handled stars misbehaving.

In September of 2012, the EPL’s governing body, The Football Association (FA) found England and Chelsea Captain, John Terry of racially abusing an opposing player during a match.  Terry was banned for four games and fined around $360,000, about a week of wages for the infraction.  Another well-known player, Luis Suarez of Liverpool was banned for eight games by the FA following a similar incident and investigation.

Considering that these incidents were in the public eye and damaging not just for player reputations but for football (soccer) itself, it would not be far-fetched to propose that Clarkson be penalized in a similar manner.  His racist comment was similarly damaging to himself and the BBC.

As far as allegedly punching a producer behind closed doors, we would tend to agree with Clarkson’s colleague, James May, that this perhaps isn’t such a big deal.  Rows happen all the time in highly charged environments that involve star personalities.  Again, taking a leaf out of EPL’s book, we note that leading club Manchester United, according to former player, Paul McGrath, had weekly dressing-room rows following installation of new manager David Moyes, who took over from Sir Alex Ferguson.  However, the club largely kept things internal.

So all things considered, the current fracas is an internal matter for the BBC, as stated by Lord Grade. It would make no sense to us if Clarkson were sacked.  There would be no shortage of options for Clarkson to lead a show at a different network and the BBC would have lost one of their leading stars and TV shows.

Given this, we believe the BBC should discipline Clarkson with a hefty fine and possibly short suspension and let the show go on.  After all, neither John Terry nor Luis Suarez were sacked outright.

Thereafter, we say #CarryOnClarkson.

Posted by: Farra Majid on Wednesday, March 11th, 2015 at 12:37 pm in NEWS