Clarkson leaving ‘a tragedy’ – Top Gear co-host James May

Top Gear presenter James May says it’s a ‘tragedy’ that Jeremy Clarkson is leaving Top Gear and gives nothing away about his own future on the popular motoring show.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 25, 2015) (ITN) – One of the co-hosts of BBC motor show Top Gear, James May, spoke to reporters outside his home on Wednesday (March 25) and said the announcement Jeremy Clarkson would not be having his contract renewed was ‘a tragedy’.

“Well, apparently, they’ve chopped him. I’ve only found this out by prizing the information out of various BBC sources. Nobody’s actually told me officially until a few moments ago when they emailed. I don’t really have anything to say about it. It’s a tragedy. I’m sorry that ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily turned into something big. I don’t really want to say anything more than that at the moment. I’ve only known for the last few minutes. And if you’ll excuse me I very desperately have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari,” said May, shortly after the BBC announced Clarkson’s departure.

When pushed on his own future, May intimated he will spend time thinking about what to do next, “Well, I don’t want to talk about that too much but I think we’re very much, the three of us, as a package it works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand. That will require a lot of careful thought.”

Clarkson, 54, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain’s publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

No comment from Clarkson was immediately available.

Top Gear, which is aired in more than 200 countries, is one of the BBC’s most profitable shows but its lead host, a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, has offended, among others, environmental groups, mental health charities and cyclists with his forthright manner.

Last October the show sparked a diplomatic incident between Britain and Argentina, two countries which went to war in 1982 over the Falkland islands.

A Top Gear television crew was forced to flee Argentina after driving a Porsche 928 GT with the registration number H982 FKL – which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict.

Hall said he had not taken the decision lightly, and that he remained a great fan of Clarkson, whom he described as a “huge talent”.

“I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion,” he added.

More than a million people from around the world signed an online petition calling for the BBC to reinstate Clarkson after he was initially suspended.

In a report, the BBC said producer Oisin Tymon was subject to an unprovoked physical and verbal attack by Clarkson at a hotel in northern England earlier this month, which left him with swelling and bleeding to his lip.

“The verbal abuse was sustained over a longer period, both at the time of the physical attack and subsequently,” the report said, adding the abuse included strong expletives and threats to sack Tymon.

After the attack, the report said, Tymon was understood to have gone to hospital for a check-up.

Clarkson reported the incident himself and the report said it was not disputed by the presenter or any witness that Tymon was the victim of an unprovoked attack.