Belfast Telegraph

Clarkson thanks his supporters

Jeremy Clarkson has thanked his supporters after a million-strong petition calling for his reinstatement on Top Gear was delivered by tank to BBC headquarters.

Someone dressed as the motoring show's enigmatic professional driver was onboard the tank as it arrived outside New Broadcasting House near Oxford Street.

The tank's gun was pointed towards the media centre as one of the corporation's employees received the petition.

Clarkson expressed his gratitude to his campaigners on Twitter following the petition's delivery, but made it clear that his future remains undecided.

He said: "Many many thanks to all of the people who have called for my reinstatement. I'm very touched. We shall all learn next week what will happen."

Harry Cole, a journalist for the blog Guido Fawkes, which set up the petition, said: "We are not defending him. We are saying don't punish the viewers, don't punish the fans of Top Gear.

"Punish Jeremy Clarkson all you want but don't pull Top Gear off the air because it is not fair to the millions of people who love him."

He added: "We are representing the silent majority of Top Gear viewers."

Organisers almost had to call a halt to the stunt when the tank broke down just short of its destination.

"There was a slight technical difficulty, but The Stig got his jump leads out," Mr Cole joked.

It came as Clarkson launched an expletive-laden broadside against BBC executives during an appearance on stage last night.

The 54-year-old has been suspended since it emerged he was involved in what the BBC called ''a fracas'' with one of the show's producers.

He criticised BBC bosses and revealed he wanted to do "one last ever lap" of the Top Gear test track as he spoke on stage at a charity gala for young people at the Roundhouse in north London.

In video footage obtained by the Daily Mirror, Clarkson said: " I thought, 'okay, I'll go down to Surrey and I'll do one last lap of that track before the f****** b******* sack me', and then I thought, 'well, why don't we put somebody in the car with me?'."

He went on: "I'll drive somebody around in whatever I can get hold of when I'm sacked, so it will probably be an Austin Maestro , who knows?

"But anyway, we'll do one last ever lap of the Top Gear test track."

Clarkson admitted: "I'll be a bit tearful when I do it."

He added: "To be in the audience of Top Gear there was an 18-year waiting list. You know the BBC has f***** themselves, and so who gives a f***?

"It was a great show and they f***** it up."

Clarkson's future on the BBC is likely to be decided next week when the corporation's internal investigation into his behaviour is handed over to the director-general.

A BBC spokesman said: " Following last week's suspension of Jeremy Clarkson, Ken MacQuarrie is now considering the evidence and will report to the director-general on his findings next week.

"Once this has been considered, we will set out any further steps. The BBC will not be offering further commentary until then."

Clarkson was suspended after allegedly punching producer Oisin Tymon during a row - which took place after filming - over a hot meal at a hotel.

The last episodes of the series have been postponed, causing the BBC to lose millions of viewers and receive thousands of complaints.

Clarkson and Tymon have given their evidence to the corporation's inquiry.

Fellow hosts James May and Richard Hammond have tweeted about their time off in recent days.

May wrote: ''Seriously, if you really are unemployed, good luck to you. It's not funny in reality.''

Hammond tweeted a picture of his dog and said: ''Not trying to be cryptic, just enjoying a gorgeous morning. Off.''


From Belfast Telegraph