Clarkson's loss a huge blow, says ex-BBC head
The BBC should have tried to keep hold of Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson whose talent they could ill afford to lose, former director general Mark Thompson has said.
While Clarkson could be a "deeply objectionable character", he "spoke to people who didn't find much else at the BBC", Mr Thompson said in an interview with The Sunday Times Magazine.
Clarkson was fired from the motoring show in March last year following a "fracas" with a producer, while James May and Richard Hammond quit in solidarity. The trio will launch new Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour in the autumn.
"Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend," Mr Thompson told The Sunday Times.
"I don't think people should punch their colleagues. It's hard to keep them if they do."
He added: "But I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose. He spoke to people who didn't find much else in the BBC."