Belfast Telegraph

Top gear? Not quite as scruffy Clarkson, Hammond and May roll into Belfast ahead of Odyssey shows

By Joanne Sweeney and Sherna Noah

Watch out Belfast - Jeremy Clarkson is in town!

While the Prince of Wales was in the city yesterday as part of his four-day visit to Ireland, the prince of motoring television arrived with a little less pomp and ceremony.

The former Top Gear presenter is here for five live shows at the Odyssey that run from today through until Sunday.

The Belfast shows, which to fans' relief were not cancelled after his departure from the BBC in March, will kick off a six-month UK tour of the former Top Gear Live show - renamed Clarkson, Hammond and May.

Earlier, Clarkson told radio presenter Chris Evans that he was looking forward to "six months clowning around doing live shows" but called it "the most badly organised world tour in history".

"Somebody needs an Atlas, somebody has done it by alphabet... I'm going to spend most of the next six months with James, who's extremely smelly, and Richard on an aeroplane," he said. He added that the production was Top Gear in all but name. "It's broadly the same thing it's been for 10 years," he said. The 55-year-old arrived in Belfast with his fellow former Top Gear presenters James May and Richard Hammond.

After keeping Press photographers waiting for more than an hour due to their flight from London being delayed, the stars strode out from one of three silver Range Rovers before stopping briefly for photographs.

While Clarkson waved his hand in acknowledgment, he said nothing to the waiting photographers and onlookers and continued to speak into a mobile phone.

The reticence of the star, whose Top Gear contract was ended for his part in a fracas with producer Oisin Tymon, was in contrast to the open, upbeat interview he gave Evans.

The radio presenter was once tipped as a possible replacement for him on Top Gear. Clarkson refused to criticise the BBC, saying some very "talented people" worked there.

He told fellow petrolhead Evans he could work with the BBC again, because although his contract was not renewed, he was "not sacked, remember".

He said: "It's my own silly fault so I can hardly complain. I was at the BBC for 27 years, in the current incarnation for 12 and Top Gear was very much my baby. I absolutely adored it and paid attention to absolutely every little detail of it and then suddenly you are not asked to do that any more and you do feel there's a big hole that needs to be filled."

Further Reading

Clarkson, Hammond and May have arrived - last chance to win tickets to see them live in Belfast      

BBC 'considered axing Hammond'

Clarkson: No idea what future holds

Jeremy Clarkson: 'We can't wait, we've never toured in Belfast'...but Top Gear were here six years ago with Clarkson at wheel






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