Belfast Telegraph

Clarkson blasts Top Gear critics

Jeremy Clarkson has hit out at Top Gear's detractors and challenged them to make their own rival show in his final column for the programme's magazine.

The presenter, 54, wrote the piece before his physical and verbal attack on producer Oisin Tymon came to light and he was dropped by the BBC.

But in something of a coincidence, the star, who may be mulling over ideas for a new motoring show to take to another broadcaster following his axing, told unhappy viewers to "get off your arse and help yourself".

He told the programme's critics, who he called "hopeless worms", that instead of moaning that Top Gear should "go back to the days when it reviewed cars" they should try making their own show.

"Generally speaking, the new series of Top Gear seems to have been rather popular. However, on Top Gear's website, there's a smattering of people who aren't impressed at all," he wrote.

Clarkson added: "Don't get your knickers in a twist. Don't take to the internet and say our review of the new Lambo was a bit meh (whatever that means) because we didn't take the diffs apart to see how they worked. And that we've been rubbish since 2006.

"If you want the sort of show you like, why not make it yourself?"

In the magazine, on sale today, the broadcaster said there was plenty of room in the market for another car show.

"You have Top Gear and Fifth Gear and Chris Harris and, er, that's it. So, in order to shine, all you have to be is better than Captain Slow, a midget, a pensioner, an orangutan and a monkey. Which isn't hard," he said.

Clarkson told how he kick-started his own career by setting up an agency reviewing cars for local newspapers before he was screen tested for Top Gear, which was then telling "eight people who truly loved cars how many suitcases you could get into the back of a Vauxhall Vectra".

He said: "Soon, I realised what most people really wanted was noise, speed and sumptuous photography and a racing driver who doesn't speak - so we took it up from fourth, which was the top gear back then, into eighth, which is Top Gear now.

"This means the first few gears are yours for the taking. So, stop leaving stupid messages on the internet, get off your arse and help yourself."

He said about making a show just for "hardcore petrolheads": "We could do that easily. We could talk about fuel economy too. And hire purchase plans. But, if we did, we'd be left with almost no viewers in the UK, and no foreign sales.

"And this would mean less money coming into the BBC, which would mean fewer quality shows abo ut things that really matter on BBC4, and even less sport. And the test card from midnight till dawn."

He added: "We try to make sure that in the course of a series there's something for everyone, unless they live in north London, eat tofu, think Ed Miliband has a point and wish there was more health and safety in the world. We're not interested in that lot, any more than they are interested in us."

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