In a bizarre turn of events, Jeremy Clarkson is set to return to the BBC next month, when he presents the satirical quiz show Have I Got News For You, despite not having his Top Gear contract renewed.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “Jeremy’s contract has not been renewed on Top Gear but he isn’t banned from appearing on the BBC.”
So Jeremy isn’t banned from the BBC then. But he has been suspended since March 10th, whatever that means. Perhaps his suspension for the “fracas” with Oisin Tymon only prevents him from continuing with Top Gear. Or is the BBC planning to occasionally insert Jeremy into other shows until the whole “fracas shitstorm” blows over, before renewing his contract for Top Gear in 2016?
Jimmy Mulville from production company Hat Trick, which makes Have I Got News For You, told the Broadcasting Press Guild last month that he thought Clarkson was “a fantastic broadcaster”.
He joked: “Maybe we will get the producer on so he can hit Jeremy Clarkson live on television.”
Jeremy received widespread public support – including from his friend David Cameron – and over 1 million people signed a petition calling for the BBC to reinstate him. But director-general Tony Hall said “a line has been crossed” and “there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another”.
Police are still investigating threats to kill Hall, reportedly linked to his decision to axe Clarkson.
**Edit: Since this article was published, rumours have surfaced that Jeremy Clarkson may have cancelled his appearance on Have I Got News For You, though no official announcement has been made.
Top Gear live events to continue.. sort of
News also broke this week that a series of Top Gear Live events previously scheduled for 2015 will still be going ahead – albeit in newly rebranded “Clarkson, Hammond and May Live” guise. The events will also be stripped of all references to Top Gear and the Stig will not be present.
The show dates have also been pushed back by a month or more in some cases – a move which has outraged some fans who had pre-purchased tickets, parking and even booked flights and hotel accommodation in order to attend the events. Some show formats have also changed too, with events that were previously outdoor “festivals” now changed to be indoor arena shows.
The move has further fuelled rumours that Jeremy, Richard and James intend to team up to continue their careers together, but sources close to the tour say it is just a matter of fulfilling commitments to the fans.
Top Gear’s Facebook page still getting spammed the fuck out
Meanwhile, Top Gear’s Facebook page is still struggling with the fallout from there Jeremy Clarkson fracas, with every single news post being hit with thousands of comments all containing “Bring Back Clarkson, May, And Hammond” copy and pasted multiple times.
This must be somewhat worrying for the BBC, as the comments seem to only be increasing with time – and the overall page like count can be seen dropping almost every time the page is reloaded.