Belfast Telegraph

The show must go on for the thousands of fans who've forked out good money to see star trio

By Fionola Meredith

Whatever you think of Jeremy Clarkson, you've got to feel sorry for Top Gear fans.

First they had their favourite programme unceremoniously snatched off air after JC (no, not the Messiah, but certainly a very naughty boy) smacked his producer in the gub in a stupid row over hot food.

Then they learned that the remaining two episodes of the show wouldn't be shown either, while the BBC agonised over what to do with their most troublesome yet most lucrative star. Now that he's been sacked, local fans fear that the Top Gear Live world tour, due to come to Belfast in May, will be wiped off the agenda too. They could be forgiven for feeling hard done by.

It seems that everybody else's competing needs - Oisin Tymon (the assaulted producer) and his split lip, Clarkson and his future career, even the moral standing of the BBC itself - have been taken into account, but nobody's stopped to spare a thought for the fans themselves.

If Clarkson and the BBC have any respect for the audiences that helped make Top Gear such an extraordinary global success, they should keep their promise and ensure the live performances go ahead.

They have an obligation to the public that should be fulfilled. The advertisements are already appearing all over town, with Clarkson and his sidekicks, James May and Richard Hammond, staring out from the billboards, styled to look more like veteran rock stars than the trio of overgrown schoolboys they really are. But isn't that half the fun?

Many people have already paid big money, in good faith, to see the Top Gear stars in action at the Odyssey, and it's not fair to punish them for Clarkson's private crimes or misdemeanours. The show must go on.

Belfast Telegraph

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