Jeremy Clarkson

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Jeremy Clarkson

Born Jeremy Clarkson
11 April 1960 (1960-04-11) (age 48)
Doncaster, West Riding of Yorkshire, UK
Residence Chipping Norton, England; Langness, Isle of Man
Nationality British
Education Hill House School, Doncaster and Repton School
Occupation Author,
Television presenter,
Talk show host
Employer BBC,
The Sun,
The Sunday Times
Home town Doncaster, England
Height 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m)
Known for Top Gear
Spouse(s) Frances Cain (m. 1993–present) «start: (1993)»"Marriage: Frances Cain to Jeremy Clarkson" Location: (linkback:

Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster and journalist who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May. He also writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.

From a career as a local journalist in the north of England, he rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s Clarkson has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000 he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson.

His opinionated but humorous tongue in cheek writing and presenting style has often generated much public reaction to his viewpoints. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public.

As well as the criticism levelled against him, Clarkson also generated a significant following in the public at large, being credited as a factor in the resurgence of Top Gear to the most popular show on BBC Two, and calls for him to be made Prime Minister. Clarkson himself was keen to downplay his perceived influence on the British public, stating he regularly contradicts himself, and would make a "rubbish" Prime Minister.


Personal life

Born in Doncaster, Yorkshire to teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward and travelling salesman Edward Grenville "Eddie" Clarkson,[1] his parents ran a business selling tea cosies. They put the young Jeremy Clarkson's name down in advance for a number of public schools with no idea how they were going to pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children. These proved so popular that they started selling them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to attend Hill House School, Doncaster and later Repton School.[2]

By his own account, he was expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself."[3]

Clarkson played the role of a public schoolboy, Atkinson, in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels until his voice broke.[4]

For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar: a container for preserved fruit.[5][6]

Clarkson married his manager,[1] Frances Cain, in May 1993 in Fulham. The couple currently live in the town of Chipping Norton, situated in the Cotswolds, with their three children (Emily, born August 1994, Finlo, March 1996, and Katya, November 1998).[7] Known for buying him car-related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's wife bought him a Mercedes-Benz 600.[8]

In 2007, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were the first people to reach the magnetic North Pole in a car,[9] chronicled in a Top Gear polar special.[10]

Clarkson often compares his personality to that of a six-year old boy, which is the over-riding influence when it comes to reviewing cars or feats of engineering. Clarkson is 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m), a fact that is often referred to in his car reviews.

Clarkson's fondness for wearing jeans has been blamed by some for the decline in sales of denim in the mid 1990s, particularly Levi's, due to being associated with middle aged men, the so-called 'Jeremy Clarkson effect'.[11] After fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah labelled Clarkson's dress sense as that of a market trader, he was persuaded to appear on their fashion makeover show What Not to Wear in order to avoid being considered for their all time worst dressed winner award.[12] Their attempts at restyling Clarkson were however all rebuffed, and Clarkson stated he would rather eat his own hair than appear on the show again.[13][14]

As a self-confessed admirer of actress Kristin Scott Thomas Clarkson previously frequently mentioned her on Top Gear, with cars on the 'Cool Wall' being measured by whether they would impress Kristin if you arrived to pick her up in one. After a mock fall out on the show in 2007, Clarkson appointed Fiona Bruce as the 'new' muse of the Cool Wall.

According to a Sunday Mirror article from 12 October 2008, Clarkson sustained minor injuries to his legs, back and hand in a high-speed head-on collision with a brick wall during the filming of the 12th series of Top Gear.[15]

Outspoken views

Clarkson is in favour of personal freedom and very much against government regulation, stating that Government should "build park benches and that is it. They should leave us alone."[16] He has a particular contempt for the Health and Safety Executive. He has often criticised the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, especially the 'ban' culture, frequently fixating on the bans on smoking and 2004 ban on fox hunting. Clarkson is opposed to the opening up of the countryside to ramblers, under the right to roam, and became involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across the grounds of his second home on the Isle of Man since 2005.

Clarkson was often critical of political correctness. He often comments on the media-perceived social issues of the day such as the fear of challenging adolescent youths, known as 'hoodies'. In 2007 Clarkson was cleared of allegations of assaulting a hoodie near his home, after the police said that if anything, he had been the victim.[17] Clarkson is a prominent Eurosceptic. In the six-part series Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-type, examining (and in some cases reinforcing) his stereotypes of other countries.

As a motoring journalist, he is frequently critical of government initiatives such as the London congestion charge or proposals on road charging. He is also frequently scornful of caravaners and cyclists. He has often singled out John Prescott the former Transport Minister, and Stephen Joseph[18] the head of the public transport pressure group Transport 2000.

Clarkson had long been noted for his pro-smoking viewpoint, with him even publicly smoking as much as possible on National No Smoking Day. However, he announced on 14 April 2006 that he had given up smoking. He cited that he had found a cure for the urge — the Koenigsegg CCX. He also said: "(the cure) is called smoking", in reference to "smoking the tyres". However he later revealed that he had started smoking again.[19]

On the environment, Clarkson is not sympathetic to the green agenda. He once said: "I do have a disregard for the environment. I think the world can look after itself and we should enjoy it as best as we can". He has little respect for groups such as Greenpeace, and believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians" that hadn't gone away but merely found a new cause.[20] Clarkson is not however a climate change denier, commenting on the effects of global warming - "let's just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?"[21]

In an attempt to prove the press and public furore over the 2007 UK child benefit data scandal was a fuss about nothing, he published his own bank account number and sort code, together with instructions on how to find out his address, in The Sun newspaper, expecting nobody to be able to remove money from his account. He later discovered that someone had been able to set up a monthly direct debit for £500 to Diabetes UK, and this person's identity was protected from the bank under the Data Protection Act 1998.[22][23]

Public reactions

Clarkson has been described as a "skilful propagandist for the motoring lobby" by The Economist[24] and a "dazzling hero of political incorrectness" by Daily Mirror.[25] With a forthright and sometimes deadpan delivery, Clarkson is said by some to thrive on the notoriety his public comments bring, and has risen to the level of the bête noire of the various groups who disagree with his views. On the Channel 4 organised viewer poll, for the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate programme, Clarkson polled in 66th place just behind the writer and comic Ben Elton. By 2005, Clarkson was perceived by the press to have upset so many people and groups, The Independent put him on trial for various 'crimes', declaring him guilty on most counts.[21] Criticism is often directed personally, with derogatory comments about residents of Norfolk leading to some residents organising a "We hate Jeremy Clarkson" club. In The Guardian's 2007 'Media 100' list, which lists the top 100 most "powerful people in the [media] industry", based on cultural, economic and political influence in the UK, Clarkson was listed as a new entrant at 74th. Some critics even attribute Clarkson's actions and views as being influential enough to be responsible for the closure of Rover and the Luton manufacturing plant of Vauxhall.[26] Clarkson's comments about Rover prompted workers to hang an "Anti-Clarkson Campaign" banner outside the defunct Longbridge plant in its last days.

However, the BBC often plays down his comments as ultimately not having the weight they are ascribed. In 2007 they described Clarkson as "Not a man given to considered opinion",[27] and in response to an official complaint another BBC spokeswoman once said: "Jeremy's colourful comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC. More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye." [28] Some of his opponents state they take the view he is a man that should be ignored. Kevin Clinton, head of Road Safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) has stated "We don't take what he says too seriously and hopefully other people don't either."[29]

On his chat show, Clarkson, he caused upset to the Welsh by placing a 3D plastic map of Wales into a microwave oven and switching it on. He later defended this by saying, "I put Wales in there because Scotland wouldn't fit."[30][31][32]

His views on the environment once precipitated a small demonstration at the 2005 award ceremony for his honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University, when Clarkson was pied by road protestor Rebecca Lush.[33] Clarkson took this incident in good humour, while Rebecca became known as "Banana girl" from the stunt.[34][35][36] Clarkson has spoken in support of hydrogen cars as a solution.[16]

In 2008 an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns.[16] In their official response to the petition, it appears Number 10 agrees.[37]

While his fashion sense and chauvinistic comments are often cited as making him unpopular with women, in a 2008 poll of 5,000 female members of an online dating website, Clarkson came third in a poll of MISAs – Men I Secretly Adore, behind Jonathan Ross and Phillip Schofield. Characteristically, Clarkson was upset not to have come top.[38] Clarkson has often recognised and celebrated the fact that car fanatics can be found in both sexes.

In response to the reactions he gets, Clarkson has generally and consistently dismissed his importance, stating "I enjoy this back and forth, it makes the world go round but it is just opinion."[16] and "I don't have any influence over what people do, I really don't. It makes no difference what I say. Top Gear is just fluff. It's just entertainment - people don't listen to me."[39] On the opinion that his views are influential enough to topple car companies, he has argued that he has proof that he has had no influence. "When I said that the Ford Orion was the worst car ever it went on to become a best-selling car."[16] His concerted attacks have similarly done no harm to the likes of the Toyota Corolla.


Writing career

Clarkson's first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington Bear toys.[40] He later trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser, before also writing for the Rochdale Observer, Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Life and the Associated Kent Newspapers.

In 1984 Clarkson formed the Motoring Press Agency (MPA), which, with a partner, he would conduct road tests for local newspapers and automotive magazines. This developed into pieces for publications such as Performance Car.[41] He has regularly written for Top Gear Magazine since its launch in 1994.

Clarkson went on to writing articles for a diverse spectrum of readers through regular columns in both the mass-market tabloid newspaper The Sun, and for the more 'up market' broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times. Both are owned by News International.

In addition to newsprint, Clarkson has written books about cars and several other humorous titles. Many of his books are aggregated collections of articles that he has written for the The Sunday Times.


Clarkson's first major television role came as one of the presenters on the British motoring programme Top Gear, from 27 October 1988 to 3 February 2000,[42] in the programme's original format, and then again from 20 October 2002, when it was relaunched in a new format after a brief period off the air. He is credited with co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond as turning Top Gear into the most-watched TV show on BBC Two,[43] rebroadcast to over 100 countries around the world.[44] While closely associated with presenting motoring shows through the original Top Gear and Motorworld, by the late 1990s Clarkson had diversified into presenting programs on other topics, beginning as presenter of the UK version of Robot Wars. At the same time his television presence also branched out into appearances on a number of other shows, both as guest and guest host. From 1998 for three years he had his own chat show, Clarkson, hosting 27 half-hour episodes aired in the United Kingdom between November 1998 and December 2000, and featured guest interviews with musicians, politicians and television personalities. In his television career, Clarkson went on to present a number of documentaries focused on non-motoring themes such as history and engineering, although the motoring shows and videos continued. Alongside his stand-alone shows, many often mirror the format of his newspaper columns and books, combining his love of driving and motoring journalism, with the examination and expression of his other views on the world, such as in Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, Jeremy Clarkson's Car Years and Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours.

Clarkson's views are often showcased on television shows. In 1995 Clarkson appeared on the light hearted comedy show Room 101, in which a guest nominates things they hate in life to be consigned to nothingness. Clarkson despatched caravans, flies, Last Of The Summer Wine, the mentality within golf clubs, and vegetarians. His public persona has seen him make several appearances on the prime time talk shows Parkinson and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross since 2002. By 2003 his persona was deemed to fit the mould for the series Grumpy Old Men, in which middle-aged men talk about any issues of modern life which irritate them. Since the topical news panel show Have I Got News for You dismissed regular host Angus Deayton in October 2002, Clarkson has become one of the most regularly used guest hosts on the show in a role which attracts a sideways look at current affairs. On episode 9 of series 36 of Have I Got News For You, Clarkson threw a pen at team captain Ian Hislop, drawing blood. On a more serious platform, Clarkson has appeared as a panellist on the political current affairs television show Question Time twice since 2003.

In 2007 Clarkson won the National Television Awards' Special Recognition Award. Also in 2007, it was reported that Clarkson earned £1m a year for his role as a Top Gear presenter, and a further £1.7m from books, DVDs and newspaper columns.[45]

Military interests

Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces, with several Clarkson focused Top Gear spots having a military theme, be it Clarkson escaping a tank in a Range Rover, an Apache helicopter in a Lotus, a platoon of Irish Guardsmen in a Porsche and Mercedes or using a Ford Fiesta as a Royal Marine landing craft. Several of his DVDs and television shows have featured military hardware, and he has flown in military jets previously.

Clarkson presented a programme looking at recipients of the Victoria Cross, in particular focusing on his father-in-law, Robert Henry Cain, who received a VC for actions during Operation Market Garden at Arnhem in World War II.[46]

In 2007 Clarkson wrote and presented Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time, a documentary about the World War II Operation Chariot, a 1942 Commando raid on the docks of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France.

At the end of 2007 Clarkson became a patron of Help for Heroes,[47] a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded British servicemen. His effort led to the 2007 Christmas appeal in The Sunday Times supporting Help for Heroes.[48]

Engineering interests

Clarkson is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work. In Inventions That Changed the World Clarkson showcased the invention of the gun, computer, jet engine, telephone and television. He has previously criticised the engineering feats of the 20th century, as merely improvements on the truly innovative inventions of the Industrial Revolution. He cites the lack of any source of alternative power for cars, other than by "small explosions". In Great Britons, as part of a public poll to find the greatest historical Briton, Clarkson was the chief supporter for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a prominent engineer during the Industrial Revolution credited with numerous innovations. Despite this, he also has a passion for many modern examples of engineering. In Speed and Extreme Machines Clarkson rides and showcases numerous vehicles and machinery. Clarkson was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University on 12 September 2003, partly because of his work in popularising engineering, and partly because of his advocacy of Brunel.[49]

In his book, I Know You Got Soul he describes many machines that he believes possess a soul. He cited the Concorde crash as his inspiration, feeling a sadness for the demise of the machine as well as the passengers. Clarkson was a passenger on the last BA Concorde flight on 24 October 2003. Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong he described the retirement of the fleet as "This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind", and that the challenge of building Concorde had been a greater human feat than landing a man on the Moon.[50]

His known passion for single- or two-passenger high-velocity transport led to his brief acquisition of an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter XM172, which was installed in the front garden of his country home. The Lightning was subsequently removed on the orders of the local council, which "wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower", according to Clarkson on a Tiscali Motoring webchat. In fact, the whole affair was set up for his programme Speed, and the Lightning is now back serving as gate guardian at Wycombe Air Park (formerly RAF Booker).[51]

In a Top Gear episode, Clarkson drove the Bugatti Veyron in a race across Europe against a Cessna private aeroplane. The Veyron was an £850,000 technology demonstrator project built by Volkswagen to become the fastest production car, but a practical road car at the same time. In building such an ambitious machine, Clarkson described the project as "a triumph for lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world."[52] After winning the race, Clarkson announced that "It's quite a hollow victory really, because I've got to go for the rest of my life knowing that I'll never own that car. I'll never experience that power again."[53]



Clarkson and his family own or have owned:

In addition to the many cars he has owned, as a motoring journalist, Clarkson regularly has a choice of cars delivered to his driveway by car companies, in order that he can test them.

Clarkson wanted to purchase the exclusive sports car the Ford GT after admiring its inspiration, the Ford GT40 race cars of the 1960s. Clarkson was only able to secure a place on the shortlist for the few cars that would be imported to Britain to official customers, through knowing Ford's head of PR through a previous job. His subsequent experience with his Ford GT have been well documented by him. After a long wait and an increased expected price, the car had many technical problems. After "the most miserable month's motoring possible", he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for advice over the Internet, he bought back his GT. He has called it "the most unreliable car ever made", due to his never being able to complete a return journey using it.[57] In 2006 Clarkson ordered a Gallardo Spyder and sold the Ford GT to make way for it. In August 2008 it was reported that he had sold the Gallardo. He also announced in October that he had sold his Volvo XC90, but in January 2009, in a review of the car printed in The Times, he reported that "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is this: it takes six children to school in the morning." [55]


Clarkson often enthuses about whether a car gives you the proper "driving experience". Clarkson enthuses about needing to feel the front wheels connected to your fingers through the steering wheel. His preferred cars need to stir a passion and exhibit a 'soul', and look good, such as his preferred sportscar marque, Ferrari. Clarkson is often seen to be more than willing to accept several other flaws in a car such as practicality, build quality, reliability, if the basic criteria of performance and styling are deemed to have been met, although even this wears thin for such stylish but unreliable marques like TVR, and his Ford GT. Clarkson is also an admirer of any car that delivers a performance and features for less money than 'superiors' marques, such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Holden Monaro and Audi RS6.

Despite not liking Rover or Vauxhall, Clarkson does have an affection for the 'British' marques of Jaguar and Aston Martin, but has previously described this success as being down to the combination of British ingenuity with foreign funding, management and marketing. Clarkson often applies national stereotypes to cars, i.e. German cars are well built, Italian cars are stylish but temperamental, Japanese cars are hi-tech but soulless, and the present intermixing of nationalities in the global car industry becomes a source of comment.

Clarkson has a particular fondness for Alfa Romeos, and has owned several. He contends that "you cannot be a true petrolhead until you've owned one... it's like having really great sex that leaves you with an embarrassing itch." In his book I Know You Got Soul the Alfa 166 was one of only three cars classified as having that "special something". Clarkson quotably called the Brera, Alfa's latest sports car, "Cameron Diaz on wheels".[58]

Clarkson has had mixed views on the Porsche 911 sports cars, feeling them to have uninspiring styling. He is also not a fan of the rear-engined flat six layout, feeling it a fundamentally flawed design. He has however often complimented the technical aspects and practicalities of many Porsches, over say the equivalent Ferrari of the time. In reviewing a 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 though, Clarkson conceded that Porsche had finally overcome the natural tendency of a Porsche mechanical layout to lose the grip in the rear tyres in a bend, and stated it was the first Porsche he had ever seriously considered buying. Clarkson also praised the other Porsche brand, the Carrera GT, in its October 2004 episode, and even commented that it's one of the most beautiful cars he has ever driven.

Clarkson also enjoys late-model V8 Holdens, available in the UK rebadged as Vauxhalls, which does cause some problems given his views of other Opel/Vauxhall cars (see below). Of the Monaro VXR he said, "It's like they had a picture of me on their desk and said [Australian accent] 'I'm gonna make that bloke a car'" and "I can't believe it... I've fallen in love... with a Vauxhall!" [59]Clarkson suffered two slipped discs that he attributed to driving this car he described as being "back-breakingly marvellous".[60]


Clarkson often derides any car that in his view might be bought by a Premiership footballer, such as Wayne Rooney. Clarkson will often pick faults in the trim or build quality in any car he dislikes. He will also use his substantial frame to criticise any model with inadequate front or rear leg room or head room, and to critique the throttle or brake pedal positions. Clarkson is also not a great fan of technological gadgetry where it detracts from or seeks to control the experience of driving, commenting that the only saving grace of the increasingly hi-tech BMW M5 was that in Motorsport mode all gadgetry was switched off, and it subsequently still retained the performance characteristics of historical M5s. He has frequently criticised the Mercedes-Benz practice of releasing a model and option list to suit every conceivable customer demand.

One of Clarkson's most infamous dislikes was of the British car brand Rover, the last major British owned and built car manufacturer. This view stretched back to the company's origins in British Leyland. Describing the history of the company up to its last flagship model, the Rover 75, he stated "Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many." In the latter years of the company Clarkson blamed the "uncool" brand image as being more of a hindrance to sales than any faults with the cars. On its demise, Clarkson stated "I cannot even get teary and emotional about the demise of the company itself — though I do feel sorry for the workforce." [61]

Clarkson is also well known for his criticism of Vauxhalls[62][63] and has described Vauxhall's parent company, General Motors, as a "pensions and healthcare" company which sees the "car making side of the business as an expensive loss-making nuisance".[63] In spite of this, he has expressed approval of several recent Vauxhall models including the VXR models and the Zafira people carrier. Clarkson has expressed particular disdain of the Vauxhall Vectra, describing it as "One of my least favourite cars in the world. I've always hated it because I've always felt it was designed in a coffee break by people who couldn't care less about cars" and "one of the worst chassis I've ever come across".[64] After a Top Gear piece by Clarkson for its launch, described by The Independent as "not doing [GM] any favours"[65] , Vauxhall complained to the BBC and announced, "We can take criticism but this piece was totally unbalanced."[66]

Clarkson is known for destroying his most hated cars in various ways, including catapulting a Nissan Sunny using a trebuchet, dropping a Porsche 911 onto a caravan (after plunging a piano onto the bonnet and dousing it in hydrochloric acid, amongst other things), allowing his American friend "Billy Bob" to destroy a Toyota Prius by shooting it with an arsenal of weaponry, shooting a Chevrolet Corvette with a helicopter gunship, or dismantling a Buick Park Avenue with a bulldozer. In Jeremy Clarkson: Heaven and Hell (2005), he purchases a brand new Kelisa, proceeds to attack it with a sledgehammer as soon as he purchases it from a local dealership, tears it apart with a heavy weight while it is hanged and finally blows it up. He described the Kelisa as "Built with no soul, no flair and no passion; like a washing machine or fridge" and "A piece of un-imaginative junk"


Clarkson's comments have sometimes resulted in complaints from viewers, car companies, and even national governments.

Offensive remarks

In October 1998 Hyundai complained to the BBC about what they described as "bigoted and racist" comments he made at the Birmingham Motor Show, where he was reported as saying that the people working on the Hyundai stand had "eaten a dog" and that the designer of the Hyundai XG had probably eaten a spaniel for his lunch. Clarkson also allegedly referred to those working on the BMW stand as "Nazis", although BMW said they would not be complaining.[28] In a later incident in a 13 November 2005 Top Gear episode, the German government was said to be displeased that Clarkson, while talking about a car design that might be "quintessentially German", made a mock Nazi salute, and made references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland.[67]

In April 2007 he was criticised in the Malaysian parliament for having described one of their cars, the Perodua Kelisa, as the worst in the world, built "in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes". A Malaysian government minister refuted the claim, pointing out that no complaints had been received from UK customers who had bought the car.[68][69] While in Australia Clarkson made disparaging remarks aimed at Gordon Brown, in February 2009, calling him a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and accused him of lying. These comments were widely condemned by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and also Scottish politicians who requested that he should be taken off air.[70][71] Furthermore, the comments were condemned as racist.[72][73][74] He subsequently provided a qualified apology for remarks regarding Brown's "personal appearance".[75]

Road safety

Clarkson readily discusses high speed driving on public roads, and criticizes road safety campaigns involving cameras and speed bumps. In 2002 a Welsh Assembly Member Alun Pugh wrote to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about Clarkson's comments that he believed encouraged people to use Welsh roads as a high speed test track. A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".[76] Clarkson has also made similar comments about driving in Lincolnshire.[77] As of 2004 Clarkson was reported as having a clean licence.[78] In a November 2005 Times article, Clarkson wrote on the Bugatti Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240mph", and "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you simply wouldn’t believe me."[79] In 2007 the celebrity lawyer Nick 'Mr. Loophole' Freeman, got a charge against Clarkson of driving at 86mph in a 50mph zone on the A40 road in London dropped, on the basis that the driver of the car loaned to Clarkson from Alfa Romeo could not be ascertained.[80] In 2008 the BBC faced calls to sack Clarkson after he claimed in a talk at the Hay Festival to have been given a speeding ticket for driving at 186mph on the A1203 Limehouse Link road in London.[81] At the same talk he stated he had "never been pulled over for speed while working on Top Gear. I don't drive very fast."[39] The reported version of events by the Daily Mail were disputed by a BBC spokesman.

Piers Morgan feud

From 2000 to 2006 Clarkson had a public feud with Piers Morgan, which began when Morgan published pictures of Clarkson kissing his BBC producer, Elaine Bedel.[82] On the final Concorde flight Clarkson threw a glass of water over Morgan during an argument.[82] In March 2004 at the British Press Awards, he swore at Morgan and punched him. Morgan says it has left him with a scar above his left eyebrow.[83] In 2006 Morgan revealed that the feud was over, saying "There should always be a moment when you finally down cudgels, kiss and make up."[82]

Activities on Top Gear

In 2004 the BBC apologised unreservedly and paid £250 in compensation to a Somerset parish council, after Clarkson damaged a 30 year old horse-chestnut tree by driving into it to test the strength of a Toyota Hilux.[84] In December 2006 the BBC complaints department upheld the complaint of four Top Gear viewers that Clarkson had used the phrase "ginger beer" (rhyming slang for "queer") in a derogatory manner, when Clarkson picked up on and agreed with an audience member's description of the Daihatsu Copen as being a bit "gay".[85] The Top Gear: Polar Special was criticised by the BBC Trust for glamorising drink driving in a scene showing Clarkson and James May drinking at the wheel.[86] They stated the scene "was not editorially justified" despite occurring outside the jurisdiction of any drink driving laws. Clarkson's claim to have been in compliance with the laws in relation to drinking and driving are also incorrect as the crew was on or near Bathurst Island, Nunavut Territory, Canada and therefore not in international waters. Canadian criminal law prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content above 0.08. In October 2007 following complaints, Waverley Borough Council were due to investigate a breach of the recently introduced smoking ban in enclosed places, when Clarkson and fellow presenter James May lit Porsche branded pipes in the studio, in a mistaken belief that by using herbal tobacco they were not breaking the law. In fact, the ban applies to anything producing smoke, and was not covered by the theatrical performance exemption.

In November 2008 Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.[87][88] Responding, Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that "They were just having a laugh. It’s the 21st Century, let’s get our sense of humour in line."[87] The BBC stated the comment was a comic rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer's expectation of Clarkson's Top Gear persona.[87] Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a "strongly-worded" letter to BBC director general Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked.[88] Clarkson dismissed Mole's comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing, "There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show."[89] On the next Top Gear programme, Clarkson appeared sincerely apologetic and stated "It has been all over the news and the internet and after many complaints I feel I must apologise." However, instead of apologising for his comments, he went on to say "I'm sorry I didn't put the [Porsche] 911's time on the board last week" (after he set it on fire in the previous week's show), much to the studio audience's amusement.


Year Title Role Notes
1988–2000 Top Gear (original format) presenter
1993 Mr Blobby's Christmas number 1 music video car driver
1995–1996 Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld
1997 Robot Wars presenter first UK series
1997 Room 101 guest
1997 The Mrs. Merton Show guest
1998 Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines presenter
2000 Clarkson's Car Years presenter
1998–2000 Clarkson chat show host
2001 Speed presenter
2001 You Don't Want To Do That presenter
2002– Top Gear (current format) presenter
2002 Jeremy Clarkson Meets The Neighbours presenter
2002 100 Greatest Britons advocate of Brunel
2002– Have I Got News For You guest once, guest host seven times
2002– Friday Night with Jonathan Ross guest 4 times
2003 Patrick Kielty Almost Live chat show guest, once
2003 Parkinson chat show guest, three times
2003– Question Time panellist twice
2003 The Victoria Cross: For Valour presenter
2003–2004 Grumpy Old Men participant Christmas special and full second season
2004 Call My Bluff contestant
2004– QI contestant, six times
2004 Inventions That Changed The World presenter
2004 Jeremy Clarkson: Who Do You Think You Are? subject BBC page
2005 Top of the Pops Presenter co-host with Fearne Cotton, 24 July 2005
2006 Cars the voice of Harv (UK release only) 2006 Disney film [90]
2006 Never Mind the Buzzcocks guest host once
2006 The F-Word contestant recipe challenge
2007 Jeremy Clarkson: The Greatest Raid of All Time presenter
2008 The One Show guest 4 December 2008
2009 The Chris Moyles Show Podcast guest 1 January 2009
2009 Love The Beast guest star


Year Film Notes
1995 Jeremy Clarkson's Motorsport Mayhem
1996 Jeremy Clarkson: Unleashed On Cars
1997 Apocalypse Clarkson
1998 The Most Outrageous Jeremy Clarkson Video In The World...Ever!
1999 Jeremy Clarkson: Head To Head
2000 Jeremy Clarkson At Full Throttle
2001 Clarkson's Top 100 Cars
2002 Clarkson: No Limits
2003 Clarkson: Shoot-Out
2004 Clarkson: Hot Metal
2005 Clarkson: Heaven and Hell
2006 Clarkson: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly
2007 Clarkson: Supercar Showdown
2008 Clarkson: Thriller


Year Title Publisher Re-published
1996 Motorworld BBC Books 2004 (by Penguin Books)
1996 Clarkson on Cars Virgin Books 2004 (by Penguin Books)
1997 Jeremy Clarkson's Hot 100 Virgin Books N/A
1998 Jeremy Clarkson's Planet Dagenham Andre Deutsch Ltd 2006 (by Carlton Books)
1999 Born to be Riled BBC Books 2007 (by Penguin Books)
2000 Jeremy Clarkson on Ferrari Lancaster Publishing N/A (Limited Edition)
2004 The World According to Clarkson Michael Joseph Ltd 2005 (by Penguin Books)
2004 I Know You Got Soul Michael Joseph Ltd 2006 (by Penguin Books)
2006 And Another Thing: The World According to Clarkson: v. 2 Michael Joseph Ltd 2007 (by Penguin Books)
2007 Don't Stop Me Now Michael Joseph Ltd 2008 (by Penguin Books)
2008 For Crying Out Loud: The World According to Clarkson: v. 3 Michael Joseph Ltd N/A


  1. ^ a b "Desert Island Discs - Jeremy Clarkson". BBC Radio4. 16 November 2003. Retrieved on 2008-01-13. 
  2. ^ Please Look after This Bear. 18:31 minutes in.
  3. ^ "Jeremy Clarkson's Fact File". Patrick Keilty, Almost Live - Guest profiles He has 3 donkeys Jeffery, Eddie and Kristin Scott donkey ( Retrieved on 2007-04-27. "He claims to have been expelled from his public school for drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself." 
  4. ^ "The Radio Academy". William ('Uncle David') Davis. The Radio Academy (a registered charity dedicated to the encouragement, recognition and promotion of excellence in UK broadcasting and audio production).. Retrieved on 2008-02-29. "Among the schoolboy actors who passed through the Jennings plays before their voices broke, incidentally, was Jeremy Clarkson." 
  5. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are? with Jeremy Clarkson". Who Do You Think You Are?. BBC. BBC Two. 2004-11-02.
  6. ^ (2004-09-24). Who Do You Think You Are? - Jeremy Clarkson. Press release. Retrieved on 2006-08-02. 
  7. ^ "Who Do You Think You Are?". 24 September 2004. Retrieved on 2008-11-28. 
  8. ^ J Clarkson (13 January 2008). "Mazda MX-5: It’s far too cool for you, Mr Footballer". The Sunday Times. Retrieved on 2008-01-13. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ BBC Top Gear Polar Special production notes
  11. ^ Benady, Alex (2005-01-24). "Shakespeare's Bottom pinched by Levi admen". The Daily Telegraph.'s-Bottom-pinched-by-Levi-admen.html. Retrieved on 2008-07-22. ""For a period in the late '90s denim became unfashionable," said Louise Foster, of the fashion trade magazine Draper's Record. "501s - Levi's flagship brand - in particular suffered from the so-called Jeremy Clarkson effect', the association with men in middle youth." 
  12. ^ "Worst-Dressed Winners". Vogue. Condé Nast Publications. 2002-08-27. Retrieved on 2007-04-27. ""FAMED fashion commentators Susannah Constantine and Trinny Woodall have come up with a definitive worst-dressed list to coincide with the launch of a new series of their What Not to Wear programme....While each candidate was invited onto the show for a full wardrobe makeover, only Birds of a Feather actress Leslie Joseph (who "looks like a pantomime dame"), and Jeremy Clarkson ("who looks like he should be selling vegetables in the market"), have accepted. Their reward for having their fashion sense publicly torn apart is that they will avoid winning the all-time Worst-Dressed title."" 
  13. ^ BBC Press Office (2003-02-01). BBC ONE honours the best TV moments from 2002. Press release. Retrieved on 2007-04-27. "Trinny and Susannah suggest alternatives to Jeremy Clarkson's wardrobe with very little success. Every suggested outfit is "shot down in flames" by Jeremy causing an exasperated Trinny to ask him why he agreed to appear on the programme." 
  14. ^ "Mammary mia!". The Sunday Herald. 2002-09-08. Retrieved on 2007-08-18. ""I'd rather eat my own hair than shop with these two again," said Jeremy Clarkson, who was lured onto their show after they picked him out as one of the "world's worst-dressed men"." 
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  17. ^ BBC News Clarkson quizzed over gang ordeal, 6 December 2007
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  24. ^ "Lessons from London's congestion charge" (Fee required). The Economist. 2007-02-22. Retrieved on 2007-03-04. 
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  27. ^ Waddell, Dan. "WDYTYA? Series One: Celebrity Gallery". Family History. Retrieved on 2007-04-21. 
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  29. ^ "BBC urged to sack Jeremy Clarkson after he boasts over speeding at 186mph on public road". Daily Mail. 2008-05-29. Retrieved on 2008-07-23. "Obviously driving at such speed is illegal, dangerous and irresponsible, but Jeremy Clarkson's views on speed are well known and he often says outrageous things. We don't take what he says too seriously and hopefully other people don't either." 
  30. ^ Hargreaves, Ian (2001-02-05). "A nation mocked too much". The New Statesman. Retrieved on 2008-07-22. 
  31. ^ "Biker banned days after TV gaffe". BBC News Wales (BBC). 2002-10-31. Retrieved on 2008-07-22. 
  32. ^ McCarthy, James (2008-01-06). "Wales snubs bid to make Clarkson PM". Wales On Sunday. Retrieved on 2008-07-22. 
  33. ^ Curtis, Polly (2005-09-12). "Clarkson hit by pie at degree ceremony". The Guardian (Guardian Media Group).,9830,1568215,00.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-02. "The controversial BBC motoring presenter Jeremy Clarkson today received an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University - and a banana meringue pie in the face from an environmental protester. Mr Clarkson was met by a peaceful demonstration of around 20 activists who objected to his being awarded the degree. During a photocall following the ceremony one campaigner threw the pie, which protesters later claimed was organic, in his face." 
  34. ^ |Degree honour Clarkson hit by pie, BBC News, 12 September 2005.
  35. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (2007-11-07). "Clarkson's anti-dullness directive". Top Gear Magazine. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved on 2007-04-12. "Had the Banana Girl who filled my face with pie this month seen me being so reckless, she would have dropped a large boulder on my foot. Or maybe shot me in the heart with an organic gun." 
  36. ^ Rollings, Grant (2005-09-12). "Clarkson's biggest flans". The Sun (News International).,,2-2005420342,00.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-02. "It was a delicious pie, I ate it all. It saved me a trip to the baker’s shop. I am very grateful that I didn’t have to make any lunch... The pie definitely wasn’t organic. And just think how much jet fuel was used flying the banana over here... I told her it was a great shot and then I told her she had used too much sugar in the mix." 
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  38. ^ The Sun Clarkson ‘is secret sex idol’, 30 January 2008
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  42. ^ IMDB – Jeremy Clarkson – Filmography by TV series
  43. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy (2007-04-27). "Your Clarkson needs you". Top Gear Magazine. BBC Worldwide. Retrieved on 2007-04-27. "...we finished with 8.6 million people watching the end of the final show. To put that in perspective, it's pretty much twice what a very successful programme could dream of getting on BBC2 or Channel 4. It puts us on level terms with Eastenders." 
  44. ^ Savage, Mark (2006-09-21). "Top Gear's chequered past". BBC News ( Retrieved on 2007-04-27. "It is currently shown in more than 100 countries around the world, and Top Gear magazine is the UK's biggest-selling car magazine." 
  45. ^ Pay us the same as Clarkson – or we quit! The Independent, 5 July 2008
  46. ^ [2] The Victoria Cross: For Valour at the Internet Movie Database
  47. ^ Help for Heroes
  48. ^ Clarkson’s hero - Times Online
  49. ^ [3] Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson at Brunel University. Last accessed 27 April, 2007.
  50. ^ Kennedy, Steve (2003-10-25). "One giant leap backwards". The Sun (News International).,,2-2003492258,00.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-02. "Clarkson: A friend of mine at NASA, who was very involved in the Apollo space programme, said Concorde was a bigger challenge for mankind than putting a man on the moon." 
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  52. ^ Time Online Bugatti Veyron - Utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly brilliant, 27 Nov 2005
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  60. ^ "Vauxhall Monaro VXR It's back-breakingly marvellous", The Sunday Times Online, 10 July 2005.
  61. ^ Clarkson, Jeremy. "Goodbye, Rover. Sorry, I won't be shedding a tear". The Times. Retrieved on 2008-07-23. 
  62. ^ White, Roland (2005-11-06). "Lib Dem MP identifies Clarkson as a global threat". The Sunday Times (News International): p. 17. 
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  65. ^ O'Grady, Sean (2005-09-13). "Vroom with a view: The crown prince of petrolheads; Jeremy Clarkson is the self-appointed scourge of the green movement.". The Independent. Retrieved on 2008-07-23. "And never, ever could he be likened to a Vauxhall Vectra. That was the vehicle that underwhelmed Jeremy so much that on its launch, he made a satirical little film about it for Top Gear. He just walked around the family hatchback, rubbing his chin and shaking his head a bit, saying absolutely nothing. It was a characteristically clever trick, but it didn't do the folks who made that car any favours. The Vectra wasn't the smash hit that Vauxhall hoped it would be." 
  66. ^ Woodman, Peter (1995-10-19). "Top Gear gives new Vauxhall a second chance". The Press Association. 
  67. ^ Hall, Alan (2005-12-15). "Germans up in arms over Clarkson's mocking Nazi salute". The Scotsman (Johnston Press). Retrieved on 2006-08-02. "Clarkson raised his arm Nazi-style as he spoke about the German company BMW's Mini. Then, mocking the 1939 invasion that triggered the Second World War, he said it would have a satellite navigation system "that only goes to Poland". Finally, in a reference to Adolf Hitler's boast that his Third Reich would last ten centuries, Clarkson said the fan belt would last for 1,000 years. The German government is said to be highly displeased: diplomats pointed out that, had Clarkson made the Nazi salute on German television, he could be facing six months behind bars as, joking or not, such behaviour is illegal under the country's post-war constitution." 
  68. ^ "Malaysia lambasts Top Gear host". BBC News ( 2007-04-04. Retrieved on 2007-04-23. "In one article, he said its name was like a disease and suggested it was built in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes." 
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  80. ^ BBC News Clarkson speeding case dismissed, 6 September 2007
  81. ^ BBC News Clarkson's speed claim criticised, 28 May 2008
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  83. ^ Barber, Lynn (2005-11-20). "I should have been fired years ago, to be honest". The Observer.,11913,1644624,00.html. Retrieved on 2006-08-02. 
  84. ^ BBC News BBC stumps up for tree stunt, 21 February 2004
  85. ^ "ECU ruling: Top Gear, BBC Two". BBC Complaints. 2006-12-15. Retrieved on 2006-12-18. "In this instance there was no editorial purpose which would have served to justify the potential offence, and the complaints were therefore upheld." 
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External links

NAME Clarkson, Jeremy Charles Robert
SHORT DESCRIPTION English automotive journalist; Top Gear host
DATE OF BIRTH 11 April 1960
PLACE OF BIRTH Doncaster,South Yorkshire, England
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