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I have to admit, I'd assumed that Jeremy Clarkson had long ago jumped his own personal shark, and had been playing an Ali G -style character based on himself on Top Gear for many years.   I'm rather saddened that recent events suggest that he was actually taking himself seriously.

Although I've not signed it myself*, I am amused by the fact that the petition to bring back Clarkson was set up on change.org.  Judging by the emails I get from change.org, they take themselves rather seriously, and their userbase profile has probably just changed in ways they were really not expecting...

Also, The Stig delivering the petition to the BBC  in a tank (or is it a self-propelled gun as I saw some gun nerd complaining somewhere?) was an inspired piece of theatre that I can only appreciate.

* because, amusing though Clarkson and petition both are, when it comes down to it, if he really thumped someone vastly poorer and less influential than himself, or even threatened to do so, that's pretty abysmal behaviour and I'm not sure an online petition to allow him 'freedom to fracas' is in any way an appropriate response. 



( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
21st Mar, 2015 10:13 (UTC)
It looks like an Abbot self-propelled 105mm gun to me. You can tell an SPG from a tank by the way that an SPG tends to have its turret set well back (where a tank tends to have it more central) and the big muzzle brake on the end of the gun.
21st Mar, 2015 12:40 (UTC)
Aha! I thought someone would be bound to know...
21st Mar, 2015 14:24 (UTC)
And that it would probably be king_pellinor ...
21st Mar, 2015 10:20 (UTC)
Personal sharks
I like the idea of a personal shark. Do all "celebrities" have one, do you think? Maybe they're given one when they officially become Famous. I imagine Clarkson's would be quite a scary one, doubtless on wheels and exuding POWER. (Kind of a hard thing for the podgy middle-aged Clarkson to jump over, actually. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe he tried very hard to jump over it years ago, but it got away, so he had no choice but to turn into the part he was playing.) Woolly celebrities like Bill Oddie would probably tame their personal shark and take it for walks - or else ask if they could take it back and swap it for a gerbil.
21st Mar, 2015 10:52 (UTC)
Re: Personal sharks
The shark probably mainlines diesel in Jeremy's case. Or lead-rich four-star petrol, from his secret stash in his Cotswold bunker.
21st Mar, 2015 12:42 (UTC)
Re: Personal sharks
Definitely petrol.
21st Mar, 2015 12:42 (UTC)
Re: Personal sharks
People who have worked with Bill Oddie seems to think he is not the cuddly soul he appears - so maybe his personal shark is ENORMOUS and therefore unjumpable...
21st Mar, 2015 12:02 (UTC)
I saw an interview with the organisers of the petition (and the tan...SELF-PROPELLED GUN), a bloke from the anti-establishment politics blog Guido Fawkes. He said that the point of the petition was not that Mr Clarkson shouldn't be punished for his behaviour, and that that was a matter for the BBC's HR department, but that the viewers shouldn't be punished for it.

Without the counterweight of Top Gear, it will be harder for the BBC to fend off accusations of only appealing to certain sections of society.
21st Mar, 2015 12:49 (UTC)
I think that point of view would have a lot of merit if the whole show were filmed in advance - but I believe that only the out-of-studio sequences are, and it does seem like it would be very hard to completely restructure the show in less than a week, particularly if the other two presenters were not cooperative (I saw somewhere that they had refused, although I am not sure how authoritative that information is).

I can't see that they had much option but to at least defer. And I am not sure about Top Gear as sole representative of a demographic either. I like Top Gear, but I don't think that really puts me into a pigeonhole!
21st Mar, 2015 12:21 (UTC)
I once worked with an offensive loud-mouthed jerk who happened to be very, very good at his job; until the day he landed a punch on a co-worker. The office was a much happier place with him gone.
21st Mar, 2015 12:52 (UTC)
It's hard to say how much Clarkson fits that mould, without being on the inside or knowing how the rest of the team feel about him. James May says 'he's a knob but I like him' and presumably he has to work with him a lot. I have worked with people like that too, as well as the completely unredeemed arseholes...

To some extent, I feel that a certain percentage of *everyone* is arsehole. :-D
(no subject) - adaese - 21st Mar, 2015 14:04 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Mar, 2015 17:04 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - 21st Mar, 2015 14:38 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Mar, 2015 17:06 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 17:48 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Mar, 2015 19:12 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 19:55 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - philmophlegm - 21st Mar, 2015 20:48 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 21:58 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - philmophlegm - 21st Mar, 2015 23:00 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Mar, 2015 21:30 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 21:59 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - andrewducker - 21st Mar, 2015 21:38 (UTC) - Expand
21st Mar, 2015 17:18 (UTC)
I have no real opinion about Clarkson. I think I've watched Top Gear twice, liked the one where they drove to the north pole, saw him on Who do you Think you Are? and otherwise no of him only through second-hand probably out-of-context reportage of things he said.

I am mildly bemused by the excitement, a lot of which appears to have nothing to do with the alleged offence which, as far as one can tell on relatively little information, the BBC appears to be handling appropriately. A friend was telling me (with dubious reliability, I should add) that Clarkson has been looking for a way to get out of Top Gear without enraging the fans for years, and actually reported himself to the BBC for the assault in the belief that it would give him and out that made him look like the victim. That seems somewhat Machievellian to me, and certainly a rather convoluted plan. But it doesn't sound completely unlikely that he might be tired of Top Gear and looking for an excuse to jump ship.
21st Mar, 2015 19:29 (UTC)
I think it's raised a stir because Top Gear's popularity (and vast profits) are based at least partly on Clarkson's -what's the word - defiant? deliberately confrontational? opinionated? persona (which I had assumed was at least partly a deliberate construct).

And there have been a series of escalating confrontations - not just with the BBC, but also, people sort of expect him to be confrontational, and so they have started reading confrontation in to things he does, even if he doesn't do them, if that makes sense. So recently he was run out of Argentina by stone-throwing crowds who seem to have read something into the numberplate on his car that was not intended, for example.

So, there is this feeling of heightening tension around him, and mobs love tension and drama...?

It's difficult to imagine the show continuing with its current formula without him, I think it would need quite a bit of reengineering.

If the Machievellian theory is correct, then my 'constructed personality' theory must be right too, because that definitely doesn't sound like the kind of thing a TV Clarkson would engineer.
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 19:58 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - philmophlegm - 21st Mar, 2015 20:40 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 22:00 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bunn - 21st Mar, 2015 21:43 (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - louisedennis - 21st Mar, 2015 22:02 (UTC) - Expand
22nd Mar, 2015 16:28 (UTC)
I'm only dimly aware of this having seen the hoopla on the internet about it. From what I have read in news media the problem seems to be to do with filiming on location, the presenters going to the pub, then travelling to a hotel to film in another location (someone else driving), and the crew having gone to bed before they got there and the hotel saying no hot food after ...pm. In which case the bloke who stayed up to wait for them should not be held responsible for them getting food when they could have done that before the pub, in the pub, or before travelling.
22nd Mar, 2015 16:40 (UTC)
I don't think it really matters whether he fell down on the job or not. Even if he was specifically tasked with ensuring that there was steak and chips and he blew off the task, attacking him physically was clearly very wrong.

However, I think the situation is complicated by the fact that Top Gear is very much a Clarkson vehicle, so there is a questionmark over whether the show would survive without him. So it's *not* really like sacking another abusive employee.

If the show folds, presumably the entire team are out of a job, and I can see that even if the guy who was (allegedly) assaulted did everything right, and Clarkson did everything wrong he might prefer an apology and a job to revenge and no job.

I assume the enquiry will consider that, or at least I hope it will!
( 33 comments — Leave a comment )

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