Jeremy Clarkson has slammed the BBC for their “appalling” lack of support during his time on Top Gear. Speaking to the BBC last night, the presenter explained the circumstances that led to him leaving the show.
“I was having a tricky year, and I was quite stressy,” he said. “It was really hard. It was getting harder and harder to do that show, because it was getting bigger and bigger all the time. The problems were getting bigger and bigger, the lack of support was appalling, home life was difficult, they were very stressy times.”
He also criticised the writing on the new series of Top Gear, telling BBC arts editor Will Gompertz that the replacement team – led by Chris Evans – had underestimated what it took to make the programme.
“You look at the TV show, you read all the credits, you’ll see the cameraman, the sound recordist, you’ll see their names… You find me one where it says ‘written by’. They just cobble it together,” he said. “Writing is everything.”
Clarkson’s new Amazon Prime TV show The Grand Tour sees him joined by his former Top Gear co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May. “There were nine minutes from me leaving the BBC, to Richard and James saying ‘Actually we’ll come with you’,” Clarkson said. “And they were the happiest nine minutes of my life.”
On Friday’s Jonathan Ross Show, Clarkson said his departure sparked a mass exit from Top Gear. “Honestly, there was never a question of them staying at the BBC,” he said. “Everybody left, producers, everybody just walked out the door and then we had to get going and that’s quite complicated.”
Clarkson also said working with Amazon was an improvement on the “terrible culture” at the BBC. “When you send Amazon a film, their television people in Los Angeles ring up and squeak with joy. What you never get at the BBC is that – ever,” he said last night.
“Because if somebody was to say, ‘that was a great thing that you’ve just done,’ particularly if they wrote it in an email, if it turned out to be controversial and the Daily Mail went berserk, they’d be on record as having liked it, and then what would happen?” he continued. “It’s a terrible culture, and all of Britain suffers from it.”