It's July 2009 and I'm in Sangin, Helmand province. British 'hard power', in the form of its military and governmental effort to subdue the Taleban, i...
For all his shouting, the blame cannot be laid entirely at the Ginger One's door. Those BBC bosses watching the jewel that was Top Gear crumble in their hands must ask themselves today why they once again remained in thrall to one 'talent' for all those months the show was in production.
Reviews of the revamped version of the BBC Two motoring show have been pretty scathing since its debut at the end of May, and much attention has been placed upon its ratings. But while Chris isn't ready to admit there may be faults with the series, he isn't exactly helping matters with his ranty defence of it either.
Amid all the excitement and more than a dash of disappointment over the return of Top Gear, it is going to be interesting to hear what happens on Chris Evans' breakfast show on Radio 2 this week. Now all the hype is over, Evans has to deal with pretty poor reviews and some slating feedback...
If we want to live in a vibrant and open society, where we benefit from creativity and innovative thinking, where we believe that argument and diversity leads to better decision-making, and where we move with the times and sometimes have to throw off the old orthodoxy, we need to be more tolerant. Wrong thinking might be wrong, but hearing it is usually alright.
It is no secret that Jeremy Clarkson's departure from the team has left the programme needing to find its cutting edge. The BBC would never admit it but its biggest grossing programme became so successful because of the ridiculous issues its presenters got it into. Bad news is really good publicity. Honest.
We don't know yet whether Top Gear the reboot will be able to continue the magic formula that made its previous incarnation such a success, however, we have to hand it to them... they've scooped up the baton for creating controversy, and run with it before the show has even hit the airwaves.
Just as James May observed in the midst of the fracas surrounding Clarkson's departure and subsequent negotiations for him and Hammond to stay were underway "It just won't work without Jeremy!"
Of course my advice to the BBC bosses is what I have said from the start - turn the concept into the Richard Hammond Show and offer the pint sized prince too much cash to turn it down. But now I feel like I'm labouring the point...
As for the BBC, rather than auditioning a load of car buffs, they'd be better off going to the pub with Chris and finding out which of his mates were the best laugh. Who cares if they don't know their Toyota from their Motorola, that's what the researchers are for, right?
Top Gear is watched in practically every country on earth. There is no other programme that crosses divides quite like it. Mr Bean comes to mind but not much else.
While the exchanges might seem harmless, they are indicative of an ingrained attitude that Irish people are fair game for mocking and stereotypical slurs. The drunken Irish, the stupid, backwards Irish, the bog Irish with accents so thick you can barely understand them.
His was the star around which the show orbited. James May was the brains, Richard Hammond was the sidekick, the production and editing teams were among the best in the world, but the show needed a Peter Pan.
It was not Danny Cohen or Tony Hall or Oisin Tymon that killed Top Gear. It was the man who made it in the first place. I am a big fan of his work but, based on the evidence we have heard over the past few weeks, I am not such a big fan of the man any more.
From my perspective, celebrities (like Clarkson) are admired and looked up to by countless individuals. And as a celebrity, one should do one's best to live above reproach; they should do everything possible to meet those expectations.
So, we have the most awaited verdict since the trial of OJ Simpson. It's official: Jeremy Clarkson has been sacked as the presenter of Top Gear. How are we going to survive without this hard-drinking, chain-smoking, politically incorrect and surprisingly fat ex-public schoolboy? Going forward, it's clear Top Gear is dead without him. There is no motoring show they can create which will make a ripple of the impact that Top Gear makes. Why? Because Top Gear isn't about the cars. It's the heavily scripted, beer-bellied, corduroy-jacketed banter between Clarkson and his TV bitches James May and Richard 'Hamster' Hammond.