ENTERTAINMENT
25/03/2015 14:03 GMT | Updated 25/03/2015 16:59 GMT

Jeremy Clarkson Sacked: 'Top Gear' Presenter's Contract Will NOT Be Renewed, BBC Confirm

Jeremy Clarkson's contract with the BBC will not be renewed following his infamous 'fracas' with a 'Top Gear' producer, the broadcaster has confirmed.

READ MORE:

The controversial TV presenter was suspended from the BBC motoring show earlier this month, after he allegedly punched a producer in a heated exchange over an evening meal.

jeremy clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson

In a statement, Tony Hall, BBC Director-General, said it was with 'great regret that the BBC would not be renewing Clarkson's contract'.

STATEMENT IN FULL:

It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4th March. Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report. I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background. I know how popular the programme is and I also know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

I want to make three points.

First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity. We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price. Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect. I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion. A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature. For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin. I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident. He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position. This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC. I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear. Jeremy is a huge talent. He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016. This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise. I have asked Kim Shillinglaw to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.

Since his dismissal he’s rarely been out of the news, with a petition being set up almost immediately to keep him with the BBC motoring show, which didn’t take long to reach one million signatories.

To celebrate the milestone, the organisers of the ‘Bring Back Clarkson’ campaign stormed the BBC offices in a tank last Friday afternoon, with a fake Stig also present to hand over the signatures.

Following this, he took to Twitter to thank his fans for their support during his suspension, saying: “I'm very touched. We shall all learn next week what will happen.”

jeremy clarkson

Jeremy went on to brand the BBC “f***ing b******s” in an expletive-laden rant at a charity auction, adding that ‘Top Gear’ “was a great show… and they f***ed it up.”

However, he was later insistent that he was only joking when he made his comments, claiming in his newspaper column: “It was all meant in jest and anyway it worked. By being brief, controversial and a bit sweary I woke the room up and the auction prize I was offering - one last lap of the Top Gear test track - raised £100,000.”

Prior to this incident, Clarkson has come under fire on a number of occasions over the past 12 months, most memorably after unaired footage surfaced online where he appeared to murmur a racist slur as he recited the children's rhyme 'Eenie, Meenie, Miny, Mo'.

Although Jeremy apologised for the clip, insisting the slur was a word he ‘loathed’, many offended viewers called for him to be sacked, and he later admitted that he was on thin ice with bosses at the Beeb, claiming: “I've been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.”

Who Could Replace Jeremy Clarkson On 'Top Gear'?

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER