Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has been canned by the BBC and will not be returning to the show. The move comes after Clarkson allegedly had a “physical altercation” with the show’s producer, Oisin Tymon, earlier this month, following his “prolonged” and “extreme” verbal abuse of the producer. Allegedly, the fight was over the lack of hot food available after a day shooting the show and Tymon ended up having to go to the hospital. Clarkson’s job has been in limbo ever since pending a BBC investigation, though a million supporters signed a web-based petition in favor of keeping him on the show.
The BBC says it’s now looking to “renew” Top Gear, and the show’s two other hosts—Richard Hammond and James May—are due to have their contracts renewed later this year. There is some speculation the two will either leave the show or be fired, with May changing his Twitter bio today to call himself a “former TV presenter,” and Hammond tweeting that he’s “gutted at such a sad end to an era.”
Top Gear is one of the BBC’s biggest hits, and has been since its national debut in 2002. It has an estimated 350 million viewers in 170 different countries, 3 million YouTube subscribers, and Top Gear magazine gets an estimated 1.7 million subscribers, a number that’s relatively insane considering the publishing industry’s dwindling reach.
Clarkson started working on Top Gear in 1988, when the show was still a regional-only show for auto enthusiasts. More than a million people signed a petition to keep Clarkson on the show.