Belfast Telegraph

Jeremy Clarkson dropped by BBC: Top Gear host's contract will not be renewed

By Claire Cromie

Jeremy Clarkson has been dropped by the BBC, the director general has confirmed - saying "a line has been crossed"

The Top Gear presenter had been left in limbo for two weeks since the corporation announced his suspension following what it described as "a fracas" with Irish-born producer Oisin Tymon.

In a statement, BBC director general Tony Hall said it was "with great regret" he had told Clarkson his contract was not being renewed and that it was not a decision he had taken lightly.

"We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price," said Lord Hall.

"Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect.

The BBC's inquiry established that Tymon was subjected to "an unprovoked physical and verbal attack".

Ken MacQuarrie, who carried out the inquiry into the incident, said: "During the physical attack Oisin Tymon was struck, resulting in 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 attack lasted around 30 seconds and only stopped when a witness intervened.

It added: "Verbal abuse was directed at Oisin Tymon on more than one occasion - both during the attack and subsequently inside the hotel - and contained the strongest expletives and threats to sack him. The abuse was at such volume as to be heard in the dining room, and the shouting was audible in a hotel bedroom."

Mr Hall said "no blame" was attached to Mr Tymon, who, he said, "behaved with huge integrity throughout".

He added that the BBC would look to "renew" the show for next year.

Clarkson and his co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond, were scheduled to take part in four live Top Gear shows in Norway this week, but it was announced on Sunday that they had been postponed.

All three men's contracts run out at the end of this month but the futures of Hammond and May are still unclear.

Lord Hall added: "For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations."

"This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear.

"Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come."

Lord Hall's statement concludes: "The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise."

More to follow...

Read more:

Motormouth with a gift for gaffes 

Top Gear shows still coming to Belfast's Odyssey Arena 

We have turned into a nation of complainers and moaners  

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