Entertainment & Arts

Jeremy Clarkson sacking: Reaction

Jeremy Clarkson Image copyright Getty Images

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson will not have his contract renewed after an "unprovoked physical attack" on a producer, the BBC's director general has confirmed.

Here is a round-up of reaction to the BBC's decision, along with a statement from director general Tony Hall.

Tony Hall, BBC director general

"This has been a difficult time for the team and also obviously for the individuals concerned.

"What we know is that the producer Oisin Tymon was indeed attacked by Jeremy Clarkson and he was then subjected to sustained to verbal abuse of the sort that no one should have to endure.

"We all know that Jeremy is a huge talent and has made an extraordinary contribution to the BBC. I've always been a great fan of his work on Top Gear. I also believe that his voice and voices like his have a really important place in the BBC. But not at any price.

"Physical violence accompanied by prolonged verbal abuse has, in my view, crossed a line and that's why with regret I have decided we will not be renewing Jeremy's contract.

"People love Top Gear, I love Top Gear. Our priority now is to look to the future and how we can bring it back in great shape in 2016 and yes, of course, it will be different.

"I also want to make sure that Oisin is properly looked after.

"But I just want to end by saying to Jeremy a very big thank you for nearly 25 years of remarkable programming on Top Gear and to wish him the very, very best for the future."

James May, Top Gear presenter

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Media captionJames May: 'Dropping Jeremy Clarkson is a tragedy'

"I don't really have anything to say about it. It's a tragedy. I'm sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily has turned into something big.

"I'm sure Top Gear will continue in some way - it existed before us, it's been reformatted several times.

"I don't want to talk about [who will replace Clarkson] too much, but I think of the three of us as a package. It works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don't fully understand. So that will require a lot of careful thought

"As much as I think he's a knob, I quite like working with Jeremy."

Richard Hammond, Top Gear presenter

"Gutted at such a sad end to an era. We're all three of us idiots in our different ways but it's been an incredible ride together."

Image copyright PA
Image caption James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have hosted Top Gear together since 2003

Perry McCarthy, former Stig on Top Gear

"Tony Hall was backed into a corner and was unable to make any other decision.

"If this had been kept confidential and investigated there would have been far more options available. At the moment we've lost Top Gear, Jeremy is off the BBC and the corporation probably suffers by about £100m a year. It needed to be investigated, but there was a brighter way to go about it.

"There could have been damages [paid] to the producer, financial penalties to Jeremy, suspension or a cooling down period - all of it could have been decided away from the public spotlight.

"The BBC may continue to try and push the franchise forward, but like him or loathe him, people tune in to Top Gear for Jeremy and the relationship the three boys bring on screen. That chemistry won't exist anymore."

Steve Hewlett, media commentator

"It's hard to fault the inquiry, but some will ask whether the BBC had to deal with it in a formalised way.

"There are three issues at play. One: Talent management - broadcast depends on talent and it would appear there was a long-term failure on talent management in this regard.

"Two: How on Earth do you reinvent Top Gear? It's a special programme because of these three characters. Everyone can see it, but creating it is terribly difficult.

"Three: The BBC really doesn't want to appear anti-Jeremy Clarkson. They want to say it's a broad church. Jeremy Clarkson is a valuable part of the BBC's proposition. They won't be lost without him, but they won't be where they were without him, either."

Sir Christopher Bland, former chairman, BBC board of governors

"Tony Hall had no choice. He paid a fulsome and appropriate tribute to Jeremy Clarkson, but verbal abuse on the scale that seems to have taken place is bad enough - if you bash somebody you have no choice. You have to go.

"He's kind of a licensed jester and was able to make inappropriate remarks and get away with it - but this is of a different magnitude. It was a brave but absolutely correct decision.

"It will be very difficult to see him making a comeback to the BBC in any form for at least many years. Maybe he can serve his time, but it's difficult to see that happen.

"The great strength of the BBC is it can reinvent programmes like Top Gear and frequently has done so in the past when stars have moved on. I'm sure they'll do it successfully with Top Gear."

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