Clarkson hints at Top Gear exit
Jeremy Clarkson has hinted that the time may have come for him to leave Top Gear, likening himself to a dinosaur that nature had made a mistake in inventing.
Writing in his column for the Sun newspaper, he says that the day must come when you "wave goodbye to the big monsters".
He continues: "I don't intend to dwell here on what happened then or what will happen in the future. I'm sure you're as fed up with the story as I am."
Clarkson goes on to apparently make light of the BBC suspending him "following a fracas", saying that one news report had been "wildly inaccurate" in saying that he had been seen using a bus.
"I can assure you that things are bad. But they are not that bloody bad," he writes.
Clarkson's column expands on the comparisons with the animal kingdom saying that big imposing creatures on the brink of extinction, like the polar bears or tigers, had no place in a world which has moved on.
He adds: "We lose one animal and we get another. The world turns."
The presenter also thanks his fans, saying that one of the things that has cheered him up is the how many people have expressed their support.
More than 870,000 people have signed a petition demanding he keep his job after he was suspended following the fracas with producer Oisin Tymon, which was sparked when Clarkson was told he could not have a £21.95 hot steak.
The Mirror reported the star labelled his colleague a "lazy, Irish c***" and Mr Tymon was left with a bloodied lip which resulted in him needing hospital treatment. But Clarkson will deny using xenophobic language when he faces a disciplinary inquiry, the paper claims.
It could be weeks until Clarkson's fate is decided and it is understood not all the potential witnesses to the row have yet been contacted ahead of the hearing.
He is scheduled to appear alongside co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond at four live shows in Norway on March 27 and 28 and a decision on whether to go ahead is expected early next week.
All three men's contracts expire three days after the Norway gigs, which could render any disciplinary hearings redundant.
The last three episodes of the series have currently been put on hold.
The corporation has apologised to viewers who complained about the postponed episodes.
In a statement it said: "We do hope you'll understand that we value this reaction, but the investigation is still under way. Until more is known, we're therefore unable to say anything further in response and will not yet be making further statements about the issue.
"We realise you'll be disappointed that we can't respond to you in any more detail but thank you for contacting us."
Clarkson started the process when he told his bosses at the BBC about the row.
The BBC disciplinary panel will be led by Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, who carried out the investigation into Newsnight's false expose of Lord McAlpine.
A lawyer for Mr Tymon said his client "intends to await the outcome of the BBC investigation and will make no comment until that investigation is complete".
A family who witnessed the row said Clarkson was staying at the Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes in North Yorkshire and went into the bar at around 9.30pm after a day of filming last Wednesday.
Bob Ward, 60, from Leeds, told Sky News the star refused to have a selfie taken with him, saying: "No, not with the day I have had."
His wife Sue claimed Clarkson then said it was "ridiculous there was nothing to eat" and she said he thought his colleague had not done his job properly. "Obviously there were lots of expletives in between all this," she added.
She said Clarkson told his colleague "he would see to it that he would be losing his job".
Clarkson himself has joked about his position, telling reporters he was "just off to the job centre" and later changing his Twitter profile to read: "I am probably a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show Top Gear."
The BBC owns the rights to the Top Gear brand, which is valued at £50 million, and includes the show, DVD rights and live shows, raising the prospect of Top Gear continuing on the BBC while Clarkson takes a similar show to one of its rivals.
Perry McCarthy, Top Gear's original "Stig" test driver, said he was sad to hear Clarkson liken himself to a dinosaur in his newspaper column, suggesting that he is not on the "endangered species" list yet.
Mr McCarthy told ITV News: "It was a little bit sad. If you read between the lines, I feel that he might be feeling just a bit tired of everything at the moment...
"By the same token you wonder if it's actually a little bit of pressure to turn around to the BBC and say, 'look, I don't need too much of a push here and I'll go'.
"I deeply suspect that Jeremy has got more options than the BBC have, because Top Gear without Jeremy, as far as I am concerned, isn't really a very good show.
"Of course you have got Jeremy as the character, but Jeremy's central to the relationship of the three boys which comes out of the screen and is such fun, and so you are destroying it on two different levels."