The BBC has suspended Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson following a “fracas” with a producer, it has been revealed.
He was put on what was called his final warning last year following a racism row after claims that he used the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe during the show’s filming.
The motoring show has been dogged by rows and sparked a near-riot while filming in Argentina, but BBC director-general Tony Hall defended it as offering ‘a different voice’ to viewers.
A BBC spokesman said: “Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.
“No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday.
The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”
In recent years 54-year-old Clarkson has been cleared of breaching the broadcasting code by watchdog Ofcom after comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces.
He previously faced a storm of protest from mental health charities after he branded people who throw themselves under trains as ‘selfish’.
And he had to apologise for telling BBC1’s The One Show that striking workers should be shot.
Last year, the show was censored by Ofcom for breaching broadcasting rules after Clarkson used a “racial” term during the programme’s Burma special, which had aired in March last year.
The year ended with the motoring show’s crew forced to flee Argentina after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.
But each episode in the two-part Christmas special attracted more than seven million viewers last year, with a further three million for each episode on iPlayer.
The latest episode was set to feature the trio – Clarkson with Richard Hammond and James May – getting to grips with classic cars such as a Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 Cabriolet.
They were set to take to the road and end up at a classic track day, while Gary Lineker was the “star in a reasonably priced car”.
Top Gear’s executive producer Andy Wilman described last year as “an annus horribilis” for the show after the claims of racism and the near-riot in Argentina.
Clarkson has so far remained silent about the suspension on his Twitter feed.
His last tweets were on Sunday, when he wrote: “It’s an old skool Top Gear tonight. Nobody falls over and no-one is fired by canon into a hospital. I’d watch something else frankly.”
And he added: “God. Crufts is good.”
Last month Clarkson launched a bizarre attack on Labour’s transport chief Michael Dugher after the politician said the presenter was “basically an idiot” and gave drivers a bad name.
Clarkson said he thought it was “good” Mr Dugher did not like his show, adding: “Labour’s transport spokesman say he doesn’t like Top Gear. Good. We don’t make it for people who wear pink ties.”
And in 2009, Clarkson called then-prime minister Gordon Brown a “one-eyed Scottish idiot”. He later said sorry – but only for making the joke about the politician’s nationality and his sight problems.
– Daily Mail