I write this from the standpoint of a fan. Top Gear is probably my favourite British TV show. I can not imagine sitting for hours watching repeats of any other programmes I have already seen with so much enjoyment. The only physical paper I buy is the Sunday Times and if Jeremy Clarkson (and A.A. Gill) left, I wouldn't bother. So what happened recently has been quite painful.
The BBC has not renewed his contract. Top Gear is over. There were signs it was petering out - the jokes were the same wherever they were filming. There was the crashing into each other's parked cars, the late night sabotaging, the buying of inappropriate gifts and so on. It was like a band that only played their greatest hits, it almost became a tribute act to itself, so perhaps it was time to go, but it is a shame it went like this and a shame they could not have done one more encore.
What is left is the blame game. Pundits have blamed the head of BBC TV, Danny Cohen. Some blame the head of the organisation itself Tony Hall. Why couldn't these men have contained the problem and protected their asset? But it is not their fault.
The internet has froth coming out of its mouth it is so furious with the producer who was at the centre of the storm. The amount of unhinged vitriol that Oisin Tymon has had directed at him is depressingly predictable. If it was paint you could shellac a cathedral with it. But it is not his fault either.
If you advertised his position as a producer on Top Gear, there would be a queue of prospective candidates that would stretch to 1978. Why would he want to lose such a great job? He did not ask for all this attention and he can't be enjoying any of it.
The people who, hiding behind the anonymity of the net, have bravely called for him to curl up and die and who are haranguing his family ought to be made to repeat those bug-eyed outpourings by screaming them on a soap box in the middle of their High Street on a Saturday afternoon. I doubt they would be so vocal.
The internet troglodytes blame the producer. Why is he such a coward, one asked. He should be ashamed of himself, said another. Those were the printable ones. This is the sound of babies who have had their dummies taken away. It is an arm flailing, hissy fit of childish pique and misses the target by a good few feet.
Jeremy Clarkson blamed the BBC. "The BBC have f***ed themselves". "It was a great show and they f***ed it up", he said.
Close but no cigar. It WAS a great show, but it was not the BBC that f***ed it up, it was one J. Clarkson that did that.
After a moment of reflection, I imagine he will write that it was indeed all his fault and that he is very sorry. His future acceptance by a large part of the public might hinge on that. At the moment though, it looks like the blaming of everyone else but the person whose fault it actually is.
Uncomfortably, this sounds like the actions of a playground bully - acting the tough guy until you get caught, then saying that someone else did it.
Compare and contrast that with Stephen Gerrard's instant mea culpa after being sent off at Anfield this week. No excuses, took the blame, begged forgiveness.
Now we know that Clarkson shouted at a defenceless underling for twenty minutes (twenty!) and then split his lip because he couldn't have his choice of entrées, it rather sours the J.C. brand. All that on-screen name calling and practical jokery at his co-presenters' expense now has a less pleasant ring to it. It might not seem so funny when we watch the repeats because of what we now know of the man.
Have you ever shouted at someone who couldn't fight back for twenty minutes in your whole life? Me neither. Who does?
I suspect that his bravado since the incident, in name calling of the BBC, in saying that he had been sacked already, was in the knowledge that his actions had painted them into a corner. What he did left them no option.
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.
I'm with James May - he does appear to be a bit of a knob.