opinion column uk

Top Gear is socially irrelevant without Jeremy Clarkson

© Vincent Ghilione

Without Jeremy Clarkson, BBC's hugely popular 'Top Gear' show has no credible future.

Over the years Clarkson has become a household brand. His controversial remarks, endless gaffes and whimsical humour have made him a larger-than-life caricature.

Since he was suspended we've seen just how loud the Clarkson brand is. There's a petition with over 950,000 signatures demanding his reinstatement while every UK paper has talked about him endlessly since he got the boot. Even the New York Times has admitted that his suspension is a big deal.

He's a standout figure in British TV culture. There's no replacement for his character and today 'Top Gear' is one of the BBC's most popular exports making a reported £50m a year.

While the BBC continues to review Clarkson's alleged punch up with producer Oisin Tymon, the bigger question is can 'Top Gear' survive in the future without him?

Clarkson divides opinion. He breaks the rules and yes, sometimes he offends, but replacing him with another presenter won't do the show justice. 'Top Gear' is not groundbreaking on substance but it is earth-shattering on emotion. His spin, his opinion, and his commentary is ultimately what makes the show more alive and enjoyable.

In retrospect the presenter is now in a very good position to choose where he wants to go. He has the audience and there are plenty of broadcasters who can help him carry his message.

This may be the end of 'Top Gear', but for Clarkson, this could just be the beginning of a new adventure. Will he now do an alternative show at the BBC's expense?

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