Executive producer exits Top Gear
The executive producer of Top Gear has quit the motoring show in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson's departure.
The BBC tonight confirmed Andy Wilman had left the long-running series, but would not say whether or not the decision was related to the outspoken presenter.
Clarkson was suspended by the BBC last month during an internal investigation after he attacked Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon, splitting his lip and verbally abusing him.
Clarkson's contract was not renewed, with director-general Tony Hall saying ''a line has been crossed'' and ''there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another''.
But the broadcasting veteran received widespread public support, including from friend David Cameron.
Mr Wilman's departure came after the agent of Clarkson's former co-presenter James May said he was still in talks with the broadcaster despite earlier reports that he had ruled out a return to the show without Clarkson.
Mr Wilman is an old school friend of Clarkson's and was generally regarded as central to Top Gear's success.
Last month he denied reports he had quit the hit show in the wake of Clarkson's sacking.
An email sent to Top Gear staff congratulating them on making ''one of the most iconic programmes in TV history'' was published and widely reported as a resignation statement.
In it, he said: ''Our stint as guardians of Top Gear was a good one, but we were only part of the show's history, not the whole of it. Those two words are bigger than us.''
But Mr Wilman said the email was ''not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption''.