Jeremy Clarkson's latest saga continues, and it doesn't seem as if things are boding well for the BBC's beloved Top Gear television series. Based on recent reports, it seems that the end could be near for the British TV host, if not for Top Gear itself. Brace yourself.
According to Radio Times, a source close to Clarkson says that he may not return to the BBC, even if it decides not to pursue further disciplinary action against him as result of an altercation with Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon. Clarkson has been suspended by the BBC as a result of the incident it has famously referred to as a "fracas."
The BBC has decided to cancel the remaining episodes of Top Gear as a result of Clarkson's suspension. It will not be airing them at a later date, and as The Guardian reports, it could have to financially compensate foreign partners who broadcast the series to the tune of millions as a consequence.
So things aren't looking too hot for Clarkson and the long-running series he has been largely associated with. But here's where things really start to take a turn for the strange. According to The Guardian once again, it's rumored that the person who reported the incident to BBC brass was Clarkson himself and not Oisin Tymon or another crew member, as one would expect.
When Forbes contributor Ian Morris discussed his time working on the Top Gear crew in an article released today, he offered a sobering theory about the current situation surrounding Clarkson, the BBC and Top Gear:
... that leads me to an odd conclusion. Namely, that perhaps those involved – like Clarkson – are bored. The show has run for longer than anyone, including them, expected. Bored people can, sometimes, look for ways to put an end to things, and if Jeremy wants to go and work for Sky making a different show, then belligerently arguing with the BBC and his producers is one way to get out. It's also important to note that all three presenters were weeks off signing new contracts that would lock them into the show for three more years.
So in other words, Clarkson has grown tired of the show and wants to sever ties with the BBC. The incident with Tymon was more or less a stunt pulled to get away from both.
Clarkson really might not be returning to host Top Gear in the future then. But what could that mean for the series? While it is possible the show would continue on in future seasons with remaining hosts Richard Hammond and James May, and a third party to replace Clarkson, the show would likely lose significant viewership. Although he has proven to be a controversial character, Clarkson has a large and loyal fanbase worldwide that arguably tunes into the show just for him.
If Clarkson leaves, his fans would probably leave with him. If Clarkson leaves, Top Gear loses a significant part of its staying power. If Top Gear continues post Clarkson, it's likely it wouldn't survive long without him.
It should be noted that Clarkson has not made a direct statement about his future with the BBC or with Top Gear, and this is speculation. But when left to draw conclusions based on current evidence, things are starting to look bleak. This looks like it could actually be the end for Clarkson and the beloved British motoring programme.