I have a problem and that problem is Top Gear. It could be called an addiction. If the show is on, I watch it even if I have seen it many times before. However, there is a growing problem with the show. That problem is Jeremy Clarkson.
He is the conundrum that BBC is forced to deal with. Clarkson has been with the show since its launch as well as James May and Richard Hammond. The best way to describe the show is sophomoric gearheads with an hour to talk about whatever they want. It is very clear that the core to the show is Clarkson. He is witty when he wants to be, he carries interviews very well, and he is the comic relief. However, he won’t shut up.
This summer has been an absolute travesty for one of the most popular shows in the world. It started this March when Top Gear had its annual special much later than normal. In the final moments of the show, Clarkson uses a derogatory term to describe people of Asian descent. I won’t use the word here as I don’t feel it is appropriate. It was seen in the original airing of the episode but has later been edited out of future showings. Somi Guha, an Indian born actress, decided to sue Jeremy Clarkson and the BBC for the use of the word. The suit is still pending.
In the time pending when BBC and Clarkson would love nothing more than to stay out of the limelight, another instance of the host’s racial comments was discovered. An unused piece from a previous episode surfaced that showed Clarkson using a derogatory term about people of African descent. Again, I will not use the word, but most reading will be able to readily identify the word in question.
This is not the first time that the BBC has had to deal with controversy surrounding Clarkson either. He has made quasi racial comments in the past outside of the realm of the cameras during filming. He has a standing feud with Piers Morgan. His jokes about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes put the BBC in the crosshairs and has on multiple occasions used the term”gay” or “queer” to referr to cars he dislikes.
For many people, this would have already created a situation where the popular host would be expelled from the show. However, Clarkson is the glue that holds one of BBC’s most popular international shows together. The current special for “Cars of the People” with James May walking us through the most popular cars ever built proves yet again that he is very dry and needs someone to bounce his wit off of. Richard Hammond is quite entertaining, but just doesn’t have the same charisma that Clarkson has.
This is the dilemma that the BBC has going forward. Do they allow Clarkson to continue to run rampant or do they potentially damage the chemistry behind one of their most popular shows? The optimal thing for the BBC is Clarkson will finally keep his opinions to himself when it comes to things other than cars, but that seems unlikely.
I am left with a problem myself as are many other viewers. I obviously do not agree with the thoughts, opinions, or remarks of Clarkson. However, for one hour a week I am entertained by the sophomoric antics of the trio. The question is do I continue to watch and support the show knowing what I do now about the popular host. It is something that I have not decided, but it is a tougher decision than normal for me.