I’ve never understood the huge appeal of Top Gear, the Beeb’s flagship petrolheads’ programme. Three oddly dressed middle-aged men addicted to guzzling gas and wacky, totally pointless stunts like bumping over dusty dirt roads in rural India, gouging deep tyre tracks into beautiful Scottish hillsides, being winched in a jeep up the vertical surface of an eye-wateringly high concrete dam and, lest we forget, upsetting the entire population of Argentina. Be that as it May, Top Gear sells to around 200 countries across the world and rakes in more than £50million a year.
But the man firmly in the driving seat of this gargantuan petroleum lust-fest, opinionated British non-PC institution Jeremy (Jezza) Clarkson, has finally skidded off the track and crocked his motor. Arriving late at a hotel, tired and emotional Clarky was informed by staff that steak was off the menu and he would have to make do with a humble bar snack. Cue an extraordinary outburst that lasted 40 minutes, during which Clarkson hit the expletives turbocharger, called the show’s producer a “lazy Irish c***”, and for good measure punched him on the nose. Writing in the hotel guestbook at checkout time, a member of the production team noted that it had enjoyed a “wonderful, friendly and extremely accommodating stay”. There’s a stiff British upper lip for you, possibly a sore one.
Auntie had no option but to sack Jezza, even though the show’s producer has declined to press charges for assault. But before all you wimpy, lettuce and lentil chomping greenies start tree-hugging at the demise of the number one threat to our planet’s fossil fuel reserves, Clarkson has a huge following and it’s inevitable he’ll pop up on another TV channel doing the same thing (presenting Top Gear or equivalent that is). Just watch those rev counters max out. Vroom, vroom!