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Jeremy Clarkson

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Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11 April 1960) is an English broadcaster and journalist who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May. He also writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun.

From a career as a local journalist in the North of England, Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s Clarkson has become a recognised public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000 he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson.

His opinionated but humorous tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often generated much public reaction to his viewpoints. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public. Recently in Australia on A Current Affair he claimed that all he does is '...get up, write stuff, [have] supper and [go] to bed'.

As well as the criticism levelled against him, Clarkson also generated a significant following in the public at large, being credited as a factor in the resurgence of Top Gear to the most popular show on BBC Two.

Personal life

Clarkson was born in Doncaster, then in the West Riding of Yorkshire, to teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward and travelling salesman Edward Grenville "Eddie" Clarkson;<ref name="DID1">Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> his parents ran a business selling tea cosies. They put the young Jeremy Clarkson's name down in advance for a number of public schools with no idea how they were going to pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children. These proved so popular that they started selling them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to attend Hill House School, Doncaster and later Repton School.<ref>Template:Cite episode</ref> By his own account, he was expelled from Repton School for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself."<ref>{{#if: Jeremy Clarkson's Fact File

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Clarkson played the role of a public schoolboy, Taplin, in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels until his voice broke.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Clarkson married his manager,<ref name="DID1"/> Frances Cain (daughter of VC recipient Robert Henry Cain) in May 1993 in Fulham. The couple currently live in the town of Chipping Norton, situated in the Cotswolds, with their three children (Emily, born August 1994; Finlo, born March 1996; and Katya, born November 1998).<ref name=wdytya-pr/> Known for buying him car-related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's wife bought him a Mercedes-Benz 600.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

Clarkson's fondness for wearing jeans has been blamed by some for the decline in sales of denim in the mid 1990s, particularly Levi's, due to being associated with middle aged men, the so-called 'Jeremy Clarkson effect'.<ref>{{#if: Shakespeare's Bottom pinched by Levi admen

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 }}|Template error: argument title is required.}}</ref> After fashion gurus Trinny and Susannah labelled Clarkson's dress sense as that of a market trader, he was persuaded to appear on their fashion makeover show What Not to Wear in order to avoid being considered for their all-time worst dressed winner award.<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> Their attempts at restyling Clarkson were however all rebuffed, and Clarkson stated he would rather eat his own hair than appear on the show again.<ref>{{#if: BBC ONE honours the best TV moments from 2002
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For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar: a container for preserved fruit.<ref name=wdytya-pr> {{#if: Who Do You Think You Are? - Jeremy Clarkson

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In 2007, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were the first people to reach the magnetic North Pole in a car,<ref>{{#if: Top Gear's James May tells BBC Trust to 'sod off' show is rapped for 'glamorising drink-driving'

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Clarkson is reportedly a big fan of the rock band Genesis and attended the band‘s reunion concert at Twickenham Stadium in 2007. He also provided sleeve notes for the reissue of the album Selling England by the Pound as part of the Genesis 1970–1975 box set.<ref>{{#if: The famous fans of Genesis

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Political views

Clarkson is in favour of personal freedom and very much against government regulation, stating that government should "build park benches and that is it. They should leave us alone."<ref name=BBC27May2008>BBC News Clarkson: 'I'd be a rubbish PM', 27 May 2008</ref> He has a particular contempt for the Health and Safety Executive. He has often criticised the Labour Governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, especially the 'ban' culture, frequently fixating on the bans on smoking and 2004 ban on fox hunting. Clarkson is opposed to the opening up of the countryside to ramblers, under the right to roam, and became involved in a protracted legal dispute about access to a "permissive path" across the grounds of his second home on the Isle of Man since 2005. The dispute has since been resolved amicably, with Clarkson accepting honorary life-membership of The Ramblers' Association.

Clarkson is often critical of political correctness. He often comments on the media-perceived social issues of the day such as the fear of challenging adolescent youths, known as 'hoodies'. In 2007 Clarkson was cleared of allegations of assaulting a hoodie while visiting Central Milton Keynes, after Thames Valley Police said that if anything, he had been the victim.<ref>BBC News Clarkson quizzed over gang ordeal, 6 December 2007</ref> Clarkson is a prominent Eurosceptic. In the six-part series Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours he travelled around Europe in a Jaguar E-Type, examining (and in some cases reinforcing) his stereotypes of other countries.

As a motoring journalist, he is frequently critical of government initiatives such as the London congestion charge or proposals on road charging. He is also frequently scornful of caravaners and cyclists. He has often singled out John Prescott the former Transport Minister, and Stephen Joseph<ref>for ridicule. {{#if: Peugeot 1007 - Brilliant, the doors are useless, 1 May 2005

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</ref> the head of the public transport pressure group Transport 2000.

Clarkson has long been noted for his pro-smoking viewpoint, with him even publicly smoking as much as possible on National No Smoking Day. He announced on 14 April 2006 that he had given up smoking. He cited that he had found a cure for the urge — the Koenigsegg CCX. He also said: "(the cure) is called smoking", in reference to "smoking the tyres". He later revealed that he had started smoking again.<ref>[Top Gear episode, 7 October 2007]</ref>

Clarkson is unsympathetic to the green movement and has little respect for groups such as Greenpeace—he believes that the "eco-mentalists" are a by-product of the "old trade unionists and CND lesbians" who had found a more relevant cause—<ref>This has been my perfect week Clarkson Times column 13 January 2008</ref> but "loves the destination" of environmentalism and believes that people should quietly strive to be more eco-friendly.<ref name="secretgreen" /> Clarkson has unorthodox views regarding global warming: although he believes that higher temperatures are not necessarily negative that and that anthropogenic carbon dioxide production has a negligible effect on the global climate,<ref name="secretgreen">"Okay, you’ve got me bang to rights – I’m a secret green" The Times, 17 May 2009</ref> but is aware of the negative consequences of global warming, saying "let's just stop and think for a moment what the consequences might be. Switzerland loses its skiing resorts? The beach in Miami is washed away? North Carolina gets knocked over by a hurricane? Anything bothering you yet?"<ref name=ThePeoplevsJeremyClarkson/>

In an attempt to prove the press and public furore over the 2007 UK child benefit data scandal was a fuss about nothing, he published his own bank account number and sort code, together with instructions on how to find out his address, in The Sun newspaper, expecting nobody to be able to remove money from his account. He later discovered that someone had been able to set up a monthly direct debit for £500 to Diabetes UK, and this person's identity was protected from the bank under the Data Protection Act 1998.<ref>{{#if: Top Gear host publishes bank details, loses money

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Public reactions

Clarkson has been described as a "skillful propagandist for the motoring lobby" by The Economist<ref> {{#if: Lessons from London's congestion charge

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</ref> With a forthright and sometimes deadpan delivery, Clarkson is said by some to thrive on the notoriety his public comments bring, and has risen to the level of the bête noire of the various groups who disagree with his views. On the Channel 4 organised viewer poll, for the 100 Worst Britons We Love to Hate programme, Clarkson polled in 66th place. By 2005, Clarkson was perceived by the press to have upset so many people and groups, The Independent put him on trial for various 'crimes', declaring him guilty on most counts.<ref name=ThePeoplevsJeremyClarkson>The Independent The People vs Jeremy Clarkson, 13 November 2005</ref> Responses to Clarkson's comments are often directed personally, with derogatory comments about residents of Norfolk leading to some residents organising a "We hate Jeremy Clarkson" club. In The Guardian's 2007 'Media 100' list, which lists the top 100 most "powerful people in the [media] industry", based on cultural, economic and political influence in the UK, Clarkson was listed as a new entrant at 74th. Some critics even attribute Clarkson's actions and views as being influential enough to be responsible for the closure of Rover and the Luton manufacturing plant of Vauxhall.<ref>Auto Trader Clarkson versus the world, 13 April 2007</ref> Clarkson's comments about Rover prompted workers to hang an "Anti-Clarkson Campaign" banner outside the defunct Longbridge plant in its last days.

However, the BBC often plays down his comments as ultimately not having the weight they are ascribed. In 2007 they described Clarkson as "Not a man given to considered opinion",<ref name=wdytya/> and in response to an official complaint another BBC spokeswoman once said: "Jeremy's colourful comments are always entertaining, but they are his own comments and not those of the BBC. More often than not they are said with a twinkle in his eye."<ref name=Clarksoninthedoghouse>{{#if: Clarkson in the doghouse

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{{#if: BBC urged to sack Jeremy Clarkson after he boasts over speeding at 186mph on public road

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</ref>

On his chat show, Clarkson, he caused upset to the Welsh by placing a 3D plastic map of Wales into a microwave oven and switching it on. He later defended this by saying, "I put Wales in there because Scotland wouldn't fit."<ref> {{#if: A nation mocked too much

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</ref><ref> {{#if: Wales snubs bid to make Clarkson PM

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</ref>

His views on the environment once precipitated a small demonstration at the 2005 award ceremony for his honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University, when Clarkson was pied by road protestor Rebecca Lush.<ref>{{#if: Clarkson hit by pie at degree ceremony

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 }}{{ #if: The controversial BBC motoring presenter Jeremy Clarkson today received an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University - and a banana meringue pie in the face from an environmental protester. Mr Clarkson was met by a peaceful demonstration of around 20 activists who objected to his being awarded the degree. During a photocall following the ceremony one campaigner threw the pie, which protesters later claimed was organic, in his face.
   |  “The controversial BBC motoring presenter Jeremy Clarkson today received an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University - and a banana meringue pie in the face from an environmental protester. Mr Clarkson was met by a peaceful demonstration of around 20 activists who objected to his being awarded the degree. During a photocall following the ceremony one campaigner threw the pie, which protesters later claimed was organic, in his face.”
 }}|Template error: argument title is required.}}</ref> Clarkson took this incident in good humour, subsequently referring to Lush as "Banana girl".<ref>Degree honour Clarkson hit by pie, BBC News, 12 September 2005.</ref><ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref><ref>{{#if: Clarkson's biggest flans
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 }}{{ #if: It was a delicious pie, I ate it all. It saved me a trip to the baker’s shop. I am very grateful that I didn’t have to make any lunch... The pie definitely wasn’t organic. And just think how much jet fuel was used flying the banana over here... I told her it was a great shot and then I told her she had used too much sugar in the mix.
   |  “It was a delicious pie, I ate it all. It saved me a trip to the baker’s shop. I am very grateful that I didn’t have to make any lunch... The pie definitely wasn’t organic. And just think how much jet fuel was used flying the banana over here... I told her it was a great shot and then I told her she had used too much sugar in the mix.”
 }}|Template error: argument title is required.}}</ref> Clarkson has spoken in support of hydrogen cars as a solution.<ref name=BBC27May2008/>

In 2008 an internet petition was posted on the Prime Minister's Number 10 website to "Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister". By the time it closed, it had attracted 49,446 signatures. An opposing petition posted on the same site set to "Never, Ever Make Jeremy Clarkson Prime Minister" attracted 87 signatures. Clarkson later commented he would be a rubbish Prime Minister as he is always contradicting himself in his columns.<ref name=BBC27May2008/> In their official response to the petition, Number 10 agreed with Clarkson's comments.<ref>http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page16590</ref>

While his fashion sense and chauvinistic comments are often cited as making him unpopular with women, in a 2008 poll of 5,000 female members of an online dating website, Clarkson came third in a poll of MISAs—Men I Secretly Adore—behind Jonathan Ross and Phillip Schofield. Characteristically, Clarkson was upset not to have come top.<ref>The Sun Clarkson ‘is secret sex idol’, 30 January 2008</ref>

In response to the reactions he gets, Clarkson has generally and consistently dismissed his importance, stating "I enjoy this back and forth, it makes the world go round but it is just opinion"<ref name=BBC27May2008/> and "I don't have any influence over what people do, I really don't. It makes no difference what I say. Top Gear is just fluff. It's just entertainment - people don't listen to me."<ref name="The Daily Mail">The Daily Mail BBC urged to sack Jeremy Clarkson after he boasts over speeding at 186mph on public road, 29 May 2008</ref> On the opinion that his views are influential enough to topple car companies, he has argued that he has proof that he has had no influence. "When I said that the Ford Orion was the worst car ever it went on to become a best-selling car."<ref name=BBC27May2008/> His concerted attacks have similarly done no harm to the likes of the Toyota Corolla.

Career

Writing career

Clarkson's first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington Bear toys.<ref>Jeremy Clarkson. Retrieved 2 August 2006.</ref> He later trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser, before also writing for the Rochdale Observer, Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Life and the Associated Kent Newspapers.

In 1984 Clarkson formed the Motoring Press Agency (MPA), which, with a partner, he would conduct road tests for local newspapers and automotive magazines. This developed into pieces for publications such as Performance Car.<ref>Jeremy Clarkson at AskMen.com. Retrieved 27 April 2007.</ref> He has regularly written for Top Gear magazine since its launch in 1993.

Clarkson went on to writing articles for a diverse spectrum of readers through regular columns in both the mass-market tabloid newspaper The Sun, and for the more 'up market' broadsheet newspaper The Sunday Times. Both are owned by News International.

In addition to newsprint, Clarkson has written books about cars and several other humorous titles. Many of his books are aggregated collections of articles that he has written for the The Sunday Times.

Television

Clarkson's first major television role came as one of the presenters on the British motoring programme Top Gear, from 27 October 1988 to 3 February 2000,<ref>IMDB – Jeremy Clarkson – Filmography by TV series</ref> in the programme's original format, and then again from 20 October 2002, when it was relaunched in a new format after a brief period off the air. He is credited with co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond as turning Top Gear into the most-watched TV show on BBC Two,<ref>

Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref> rebroadcast to over 100 countries around the world.<ref> {{#if: Top Gear's chequered past

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</ref> While closely associated with presenting motoring shows through the original Top Gear and Motorworld, by the late 1990s Clarkson had diversified into presenting programs on other topics, beginning as presenter of the UK version of Robot Wars. At the same time his television presence also branched out into appearances on a number of other shows, both as guest and guest host. From 1998 for three years he had his own talk show, Clarkson, hosting 27 half-hour episodes aired in the United Kingdom between November 1998 and December 2000, and featured guest interviews with musicians, politicians and television personalities. In his television career, Clarkson went on to present a number of documentaries focused on non-motoring themes such as history and engineering, although the motoring shows and videos continued. Alongside his stand-alone shows, many often mirror the format of his newspaper columns and books, combining his love of driving and motoring journalism, with the examination and expression of his other views on the world, such as in Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, Jeremy Clarkson's Car Years and Jeremy Clarkson Meets the Neighbours.

Clarkson's views are often showcased on television shows. In 1995 Clarkson appeared on the light hearted comedy show Room 101, in which a guest nominates things they hate in life to be consigned to nothingness. Clarkson despatched caravans, flies, Last Of The Summer Wine, the mentality within golf clubs, and vegetarians. His public persona has seen him make several appearances on the prime time talk shows Parkinson and Friday Night with Jonathan Ross since 2002. By 2003 his persona was deemed to fit the mould for the series Grumpy Old Men, in which middle-aged men talk about any aspects of modern life which irritate them. Since the topical news panel show Have I Got News for You dismissed regular host Angus Deayton in October 2002, Clarkson has become one of the most regularly used guest hosts on the show in a role which attracts a sideways look at current affairs. On a more serious platform, Clarkson has appeared as a panelist on the political current affairs television show Question Time twice since 2003.

In 2007 Clarkson won the National Television Awards' Special Recognition Award. Also in 2007, it was reported that Clarkson earned £1 million a year for his role as a Top Gear presenter, and a further £1.7 million from books, DVDs and newspaper columns.<ref>Pay us the same as Clarkson – or we quit! The Independent, 5 July 2008</ref>

Military interests

Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces, with several Clarkson focused Top Gear spots having a military theme, be it Clarkson escaping a tank in a Range Rover, an Apache helicopter in a Lotus, a platoon of Irish Guardsmen in a Porsche and Mercedes or using a Ford Fiesta as a Royal Marine landing craft. Several of his DVDs and television shows have featured military hardware, and he has flown in military jets.

Jeremy visited British Troops in Baghdad in October 2005.<ref>http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/article587882.ece</ref>

Clarkson presented a programme looking at recipients of the Victoria Cross, in particular focusing on his father-in-law, Robert Henry Cain, who received a VC for actions during the Battle of Arnhem in World War II.<ref>[1] The Victoria Cross: For Valour at the Internet Movie Database</ref>

In 2007 Clarkson wrote and presented Jeremy Clarkson: Greatest Raid of All Time, a documentary about the World War II Operation Chariot, a 1942 Commando raid on the docks of Saint-Nazaire in occupied France.

At the end of 2007 Clarkson became a patron of Help for Heroes,<ref name="patrons">Help for Heroes offical site</ref> a charity aiming to raise money to provide better facilities to wounded British servicemen. His effort led to the 2007 Christmas appeal in The Sunday Times supporting Help for Heroes.<ref name="hfh">Clarkson’s hero - Times Online</ref>

Engineering interests

Clarkson is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work. In Inventions That Changed the World Clarkson showcased the invention of the gun, computer, jet engine, telephone and television. He has previously criticised the engineering feats of the 20th century as merely improvements on the truly innovative inventions of the Industrial Revolution. He cites the lack of any source of alternative power for cars, other than by "small explosions". In Great Britons, as part of a public poll to find the greatest historical Briton, Clarkson was the chief supporter for Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a prominent engineer during the Industrial Revolution credited with numerous innovations. Despite this, he also has a passion for many modern examples of engineering. In Speed and Extreme Machines Clarkson rides and showcases numerous vehicles and machinery. Clarkson was awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University on 12 September 2003, partly because of his work in popularising engineering, and partly because of his advocacy of Brunel.<ref>Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson at Brunel University. Retrieved 27 April 2007.</ref>

In his book, I Know You Got Soul he describes many machines that he believes possess a soul. He cited the Concorde crash as his inspiration, feeling a sadness for the demise of the machine as well as the passengers. Clarkson was a passenger on the last BA Concorde flight on 24 October 2003. Paraphrasing Neil Armstrong he described the retirement of the fleet as "This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind", and that the challenge of building Concorde had been a greater human feat than landing a man on the Moon.<ref> {{#if: One giant leap backwards

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</ref>

His known passion for single- or two-passenger high-velocity transport led to his brief acquisition of an English Electric Lightning F1A jet fighter XM172, which was installed in the front garden of his country home. The Lightning was subsequently removed on the orders of the local council, which "wouldn't believe my claim that it was a leaf blower", according to Clarkson on a Tiscali Motoring webchat. In fact, the whole affair was set up for his programme Speed, and the Lightning is now back serving as gate guardian at Wycombe Air Park (formerly RAF Booker).<ref>[2] English Electric Lightning — Pictures — Survivors. Retrieved 27 April 2007.</ref>

In a Top Gear episode, Clarkson drove the Bugatti Veyron in a race across Europe against James May's Cessna 182 private aeroplane. The Veyron was an £850,000 technology demonstrator project built by Volkswagen to become the fastest production car, but a practical road car at the same time. In building such an ambitious machine, Clarkson described the project as "a triumph for lunacy over common sense, a triumph for man over nature and a triumph for Volkswagen over absolutely every other car maker in the world."<ref>Time Online Bugatti Veyron - Utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly brilliant, 27 Nov 2005</ref> After winning the race, Clarkson announced that "It's quite a hollow victory really, because I've got to go for the rest of my life knowing that I'll never own that car. I'll never experience that power again."<ref> Template:Cite episode </ref>

Cars

Ownership

Clarkson and his family own or have owned:

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In addition to the many cars he has owned, as a motoring journalist, Clarkson regularly has car companies deliver a choice of cars to his driveway for testing.

Clarkson wanted to purchase the Ford GT after admiring its inspiration, the Ford GT40 race cars of the 1960s. Clarkson was only able to secure a place on the shortlist for the few cars that would be imported to Britain to official customers, through knowing Ford's head of PR through a previous job. After waiting years and facing an increased price, he found many technical problems with the car. After "the most miserable month's motoring possible," he returned it to Ford for a full refund. After a short period, including asking Top Gear fans for advice over the Internet, he bought back his GT. He called it "the most unreliable car ever made", owing to never being able to complete a return journey with it.<ref>Top Gear, Season 8, Episode 1 2006-05-07</ref> In 2006 Clarkson ordered a Gallardo Spyder and sold the Ford GT to make way for it. In August 2008 he reportedly sold the Gallardo. In October, he also announced he sold his Volvo XC90. But in January 2009, in a review of the car printed in The Times, he said, "I’ve just bought my third Volvo XC90 in a row and the simple fact is this: it takes six children to school in the morning."<ref name=TimesOnlineVolvo/>

Likes

Clarkson often enthuses about whether a car gives you the proper "driving experience". Clarkson enthuses about needing to feel the front wheels connected to your fingers through the steering wheel. His preferred cars need to stir a passion and exhibit a 'soul', and look good, such as his preferred sportscar marque, Ferrari. Clarkson is often seen to be more than willing to accept several other flaws in a car such as practicality, build quality, reliability, if the basic criteria of performance and styling are deemed to have been met, although even this wears thin for such stylish but unreliable marques like TVR. Clarkson seems to be an admirer of any car that delivers a performance and features for less money than traditionally known 'superior' marques, such as the Nissan Skyline GT-R, Subaru Impreza, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution, Chevrolet Corvette ZR1, and Holden Monaro.

Despite not liking Rover or Vauxhall, Clarkson does have an affection for the 'British' marques of Jaguar and Aston Martin, but has previously described this success as being down to the combination of British ingenuity with foreign funding, management and marketing. Clarkson often applies national stereotypes to cars, i.e. German cars are well built but too serious, Italian cars are stylish but temperamental, Japanese cars are hi-tech but soulless, and the present intermixing of nationalities in the global car industry becomes a source of comment.

Clarkson has a particular fondness for Alfa Romeos, and has owned several. He contends that "you cannot be a true petrolhead until you've owned one... it's like having really great sex that leaves you with an embarrassing itch." In his book I Know You Got Soul the Alfa 166 was one of only three cars classified as having that "special something". Clarkson quotably called the Brera, Alfa's latest sports car, "Cameron Diaz on wheels".<ref>Alfa Romeo Brera marketing video released at Autoblog. Retrieved 27 April 2007.</ref> Despite his love for Alfa Romeos, he was very critical of the company's supercar, the 8C Competizione. In both Top Gear and his 2009 video special Thriller, Clarkson had no doubts about the car's beauty, but panned the poorly-designed suspension, comparing it to a Ford Mustang.

Clarkson has had mixed views on the Porsche 911 sports cars, feeling them to have uninspiring styling. He is also not a fan of the rear-engined flat six layout, feeling it a fundamentally flawed design. He has, however, often complimented the technical aspects and practicalities of many Porsches, over say the equivalent Ferrari of the time. In reviewing a 2003 Porsche 911 GT3 though, Clarkson conceded that Porsche had finally overcome the natural tendency of a Porsche mechanical layout to lose the grip in the rear tyres in a bend, and stated it was the first Porsche he had ever seriously considered buying. Clarkson also praised Porsche's supercar, the Carrera GT, in an October 2004 episode of Top Gear, and even commented that it's one of the most beautiful cars he has ever driven.

Clarkson has also expressed fondness for late-model V8 Holdens, available in the UK rebadged as Vauxhalls. Of the Monaro VXR he said, "It's like they had a picture of me on their desk and said [Australian accent] 'I'm gonna make that bloke a car'" and "I can't believe it... I've fallen in love... with a Vauxhall!"<ref> Template:Cite video</ref> Clarkson suffered two slipped discs that he attributed to driving this car he described as being "back-breakingly marvellous".<ref>"Vauxhall Monaro VXR It's back-breakingly marvellous", The Sunday Times Online, 10 July 2005.</ref>

Dislikes

Clarkson often derides any car that in his view might be bought by a Premiership footballer, such as Wayne Rooney. Clarkson will often pick faults in the trim or build quality in any car he dislikes. He will also use his substantial frame to criticise any model with inadequate front or rear leg room or head room, and to critique the throttle or brake pedal positions. Clarkson is also not a great fan of technological gadgetry where it detracts from or seeks to control the experience of driving, commenting that the only saving grace of the increasingly hi-tech BMW M5 was that in M mode all gadgetry was switched off, and it subsequently still retained the performance characteristics of historical M5s. He has frequently criticised the Mercedes-Benz practice of releasing a model and option list to suit every conceivable customer demand.

One of Clarkson's most infamous dislikes was of the British car brand Rover, the last major British owned and built car manufacturer. This view stretched back to the company's time as part of British Leyland. Describing the history of the company up to its last flagship model, the Rover 75, he stated "Never in the field of human endeavour has so much been done, so badly, by so many." In the latter years of the company Clarkson blamed the "uncool" brand image as being more of a hindrance to sales than any faults with the cars. On its demise, Clarkson stated "I cannot even get teary and emotional about the demise of the company itself — though I do feel sorry for the workforce."<ref> {{#if: Goodbye, Rover. Sorry, I won't be shedding a tear

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Clarkson is also well known for his criticism of Vauxhalls<ref> {{#if: Lib Dem MP identifies Clarkson as a global threat

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</ref><ref name="AstraSRi"> {{#if: Vauxhall Astra SRi: Vauxhall, I forgive you (almost) everything

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</ref> and has described Vauxhall's parent company, General Motors, as a "pensions and healthcare" company which sees the "car making side of the business as an expensive loss-making nuisance".<ref name="AstraSRi"/> In spite of this, he has expressed approval of several recent Vauxhall models including the VXR models, the Monaro and Maloo, (both originally Australian Holdens) and the Zafira people carrier. Clarkson has expressed particular disdain of the Vauxhall Vectra, describing it as "One of my least favourite cars in the world. I've always hated it because I've always felt it was designed in a coffee break by people who couldn't care less about cars" and "one of the worst chassis I've ever come across".<ref> Template:Cite video </ref> After a Top Gear piece by Clarkson for its launch, described by The Independent as "not doing [GM] any favours",<ref> {{#if: Vroom with a view: The crown prince of petrolheads; Jeremy Clarkson is the self-appointed scourge of the green movement.

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Vroom with a view: The crown prince of petrolheads; Jeremy Clarkson is the self-appointed scourge of the green movement. Vroom with a view: The crown prince of petrolheads; Jeremy Clarkson is the self-appointed scourge of the green movement.
 }}{{#if: |”|"}}{{#if:  |  ({{{format}}}) 
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 }}{{ #if: And never, ever could he be likened to a Vauxhall Vectra. That was the vehicle that underwhelmed Jeremy so much that on its launch, he made a satirical little film about it for Top Gear. He just walked around the family hatchback, rubbing his chin and shaking his head a bit, saying absolutely nothing. It was a characteristically clever trick, but it didn't do the folks who made that car any favours. The Vectra wasn't the smash hit that Vauxhall hoped it would be.
 “And never, ever could he be likened to a Vauxhall Vectra. That was the vehicle that underwhelmed Jeremy so much that on its launch, he made a satirical little film about it for Top Gear. He just walked around the family hatchback, rubbing his chin and shaking his head a bit, saying absolutely nothing. It was a characteristically clever trick, but it didn't do the folks who made that car any favours. The Vectra wasn't the smash hit that Vauxhall hoped it would be.”
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</ref> Vauxhall complained to the BBC and announced, "We can take criticism but this piece was totally unbalanced."<ref> {{#if: Top Gear gives new Vauxhall a second chance

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Clarkson is known for destroying his most hated cars in various ways, including crushing a Yugo with a tank, catapulting a Nissan Sunny with a trebuchet, dropping a Porsche 911 onto a caravan (after plunging a piano onto the bonnet and dousing it in hydrochloric acid, amongst other things), allowing his American friend "Billy Bob" to destroy a Toyota Prius by shooting it with an arsenal of weaponry, shooting a Chevrolet Corvette C4 with a helicopter gunship, dismantling a Buick Park Avenue with a bulldozer, or tearing a Lada Riva in half. In an episode of Top Gear, Clarkson bought a Maserati Biturbo just to drop a skip on it to show how much the model ruined Maserati's reputation. In Jeremy Clarkson: Heaven and Hell (2005), he bought a brand-new Perodua Kelisa, proceeded to attack it with a sledgehammer, tore it apart with a heavy weight while being suspended in mid-air and finally blew it up. He described the Kelisa as "Built with no soul, no flair and no passion; like a washing machine or fridge" and "A piece of un-imaginative junk".

Controversy

Clarkson's comments have sometimes resulted in complaints from viewers, car companies, and even national governments.

Offensive remarks

In October 1998 Hyundai complained to the BBC about what they described as "bigoted and racist" comments he made at the Birmingham Motor Show, where he was reported as saying that the people working on the Hyundai stand had "eaten a dog" and that the designer of the Hyundai XG had probably eaten a spaniel for his lunch. Clarkson also allegedly referred to those working on the BMW stand as "Nazis", although BMW said they would not be complaining.<ref name=Clarksoninthedoghouse/> In a later incident during a Top Gear episode broadcast on 13 November 2005, Clarkson while talking about a Mini design that might be "quintessentially German", made a mock Nazi salute, and made references to the Hitler regime and the German invasion of Poland by setting the GPS system to Poland. The German government is said to be highly displeased: diplomats pointed out that, had Clarkson made the Nazi salute on German television, he could be facing six months behind bars as, joking or not, such behaviour is illegal under the country's post-war constitution.<ref>{{#if: Germans up in arms over Clarkson's mocking Nazi salute

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Germans up in arms over Clarkson's mocking Nazi salute Germans up in arms over Clarkson's mocking Nazi salute
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 }}{{ #if: Clarkson raised his arm Nazi-style as he spoke about the German company BMW's Mini. Then, mocking the 1939 invasion that triggered the Second World War, he said it would have a satellite navigation system "that only goes to Poland". Finally, in a reference to Adolf Hitler's boast that his Third Reich would last ten centuries, Clarkson said the fan belt would last for 1,000 years. The German government is said to be highly displeased: diplomats pointed out that, had Clarkson made the Nazi salute on German television, he could be facing six months behind bars as, joking or not, such behaviour is illegal under the country's post-war constitution. The German motoring press, initially sharply critical of Clarkson's constant anti-German diatribes, nowadays portrays him as a sore loser, i.e. someone who simply hasn't understood yet that English carmaking is as much a thing of the past as tophats and the colonial empire.
 “Clarkson raised his arm Nazi-style as he spoke about the German company BMW's Mini. Then, mocking the 1939 invasion that triggered the Second World War, he said it would have a satellite navigation system "that only goes to Poland". Finally, in a reference to Adolf Hitler's boast that his Third Reich would last ten centuries, Clarkson said the fan belt would last for 1,000 years. The German government is said to be highly displeased: diplomats pointed out that, had Clarkson made the Nazi salute on German television, he could be facing six months behind bars as, joking or not, such behaviour is illegal under the country's post-war constitution. The German motoring press, initially sharply critical of Clarkson's constant anti-German diatribes, nowadays portrays him as a sore loser, i.e. someone who simply hasn't understood yet that English carmaking is as much a thing of the past as tophats and the colonial empire.”
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In April 2007 he was criticised in the Malaysian parliament for having described one of their cars, the Perodua Kelisa, as the worst in the world, built "in jungles by people who wear leaves for shoes". A Malaysian government minister refuted the claim, pointing out that no complaints had been received from UK customers who had bought the car.<ref>{{#if: Malaysia lambasts Top Gear host

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</ref><ref name="kelisa"> Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}} </ref>

While in Australia Clarkson made disparaging remarks aimed at Gordon Brown, in February 2009, calling him a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" and accused him of lying. These comments were widely condemned by the Royal National Institute of Blind People and also Scottish politicians who requested that he should be taken off air.<ref>{{#if: Scottish politicians urge BBC to take Jeremy Clarkson off air over Gordon Brown jibes | Politics | guardian.co.uk

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He subsequently provided a qualified apology for remarks regarding Brown's "personal appearance".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref>

In July 2009 though, Clarkson made another indignant remark about the British Prime Minister during a warm-up while recording a Top Gear show, apparently describing Brown as "a silly cunt".<ref>Daily Mail Clarkson makes obscenity</ref> Although several newspapers reported that he had subsequently argued with BBC 2 controller Janice Hadlow,<ref name=guardian>Leigh Holmwood and Chris Tryhorn "Clarkson crashes into trouble with C-word attack on PM", The Guardian, 24 July 2009.</ref> who was present at the recording, the BBC denied that he had been given a "dressing down".<ref>"Clarkson in new Brown insult row ", BBC News, 25 July 2009</ref> John Whittingdale, Conservative chair of the Culture Select Committee remarked: "Many people will find that offensive, many people will find that word in particular very offensive [...] I am surprised he felt it appropriate to use it."<ref name=guardian/>

Road safety

Clarkson readily discusses high speed driving on public roads, and criticizes road safety campaigns involving cameras and speed bumps. In 2002 a Welsh Assembly Member Alun Pugh wrote to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about Clarkson's comments that he believed encouraged people to use Welsh roads as a high speed test track. A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".<ref> {{#if: Biker banned days after TV gaffe

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 “motorcyclist caught speeding at 137mph has been banned in the week Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson encouraged motorists to have fun on Welsh roads.... The BBC Two presenter prompted a backlash when he said Wales was best to test drive cars because "no-one wants to live there".... Clwyd West AM Alun Pugh has written to BBC director general Greg Dyke to complain about the presenter's comments. A BBC spokesman said that suggestions Clarkson had encouraged speeding were "nonsense".”
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</ref> Clarkson has also made similar comments about driving in Lincolnshire.<ref>MSN.com News Jeremy Clarkson in new road safety row, 27 October 2005</ref> As of 2004 Clarkson was reported as having a clean licence.<ref>Template:Cite episode</ref> In a November 2005 Times article, Clarkson wrote on the Bugatti Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240mph", and "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you simply wouldn’t believe me."<ref>{{#if: Bugatti Veyron - Utterly, stunningly, jaw droppingly brilliant

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Piers Morgan feud

From 2000 to 2006 Clarkson had a public feud with Piers Morgan, which began when Morgan published pictures of Clarkson kissing his BBC producer, Elaine Bedell.<ref name=mailmorgan>{{#if: Piers Morgan: I've made up with Clarkson

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On the final Concorde flight, Clarkson threw a glass of water over Morgan during an argument.<ref name=mailmorgan/> In March 2004 at the British Press Awards, he swore at Morgan and punched him before being restrained by security; Morgan says it has left him with a scar above his left eyebrow.<ref>{{#if: I should have been fired years ago, to be honest

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Activities on Top Gear

In 2004 the BBC apologised unreservedly and paid £250 in compensation to a Somerset parish council, after Clarkson damaged a 30-year-old horse-chestnut tree by driving into it to test the strength of a Toyota Hilux.<ref>BBC News - BBC stumps up for tree stunt, 21 February 2004</ref> In December 2006 the BBC complaints department upheld the complaint of four Top Gear viewers that Clarkson had used the phrase "ginger beer" (rhyming slang for "queer") in a derogatory manner, when Clarkson picked up on and agreed with an audience member's description of the Daihatsu Copen as being a bit "gay".<ref>Template:Citation/core{{#if:|}}</ref> The Top Gear: Polar Special was criticised by the BBC Trust for glamorising drink driving in a scene showing Clarkson and James May in a vehicle, despite Clarkson saying to the camera "Don't write in to complain about us drinking and driving, because we're sailing!" (As they were on top of (frozen) water.)<ref>BBC News Top Gear rapped for alcohol use, 2 July 2008</ref> They stated the scene "was not editorially justified" despite occurring outside the jurisdiction of any drink driving laws. In October 2007 following complaints, Waverley Borough Council were due to investigate a breach of the recently introduced smoking ban in enclosed places, when Clarkson and fellow presenter James May lit Porsche branded pipes in the studio, in a mistaken belief that by using herbal tobacco they were not breaking the law. In fact, the ban applies to anything producing smoke, and was not covered by the theatrical performance exemption.

In November 2008 Clarkson attracted over 500 complaints to the BBC when he joked about lorry drivers murdering prostitutes.<ref name=Times4Nov08Foster>Jeremy Clarkson sparks fresh BBC row The Times, 4 November 2008</ref><ref name="Mole">Staff writer (6 November 2008). "MP calls for Clarkson to lose job", BBC News Online. Retrieved on 6 November 2008.</ref> The BBC stated the comment was a comic rebuttal of a common misconception about lorry drivers and was within the viewer's expectation of Clarkson's Top Gear persona.<ref name=Times4Nov08Foster/> Chris Mole, the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, where five prostitutes were murdered in 2006, wrote a "strongly-worded" letter to BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, demanding that Clarkson be sacked.<ref name="Mole"/> Clarkson dismissed Mole's comments in his Sunday Times column the following weekend, writing, "There are more important things to worry about than what some balding and irrelevant middle-aged man might have said on a crappy BBC2 motoring show."<ref>Clarkson, Jeremy (9 November 2008). "Into the breach, normal people, and sod the polar bears", The Sunday Times, Times Newspapers. Retrieved on 10 November 2008.</ref> On the next Top Gear programme, Clarkson appeared sincerely apologetic and stated "It has been all over the news and the internet and after many complaints I feel I must apologise." However, instead of apologising for his comments, he went on to say "I'm sorry I didn't put the [Porsche] 911's time on the board last week" (after he set it on fire in the previous week's show), much to the studio audience's amusement. Andrew Tinkler, chief executive of the Eddie Stobart Group, a major trucking company, stated that "They were just having a laugh. It’s the 21st century, let’s get our sense of humour in line."<ref name=Times4Nov08Foster/>

Filmography

Presenter

Year Title
1988–2000 Top Gear (Original Format)
1995–1996 Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld
1997 '’Robot Wars
1997 Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines
1998–2000 Clarkson (Chat Show)
2000 Clarkson's Car Years
2001 Speed
2001 You Don't Want To Do That
2002– present Top Gear (Current Format)
2002 Jeremy Clarkson Meets The Neighbours
2003 The Victoria Cross: For Valour
2004 Inventions That Changed the World
2007 The Greatest Raid Of All Time

Other Roles

Year Title Role
1993 Mr Blobby's Christmas (Music Video) Guest
1997 Room 101 Guest
1997 The Mrs Merton Show Guest
2002 100 Greatest Britons Guest
2002 Have I Got News for You Guest Host
2002 Friday Night with Jonathan Ross Guest
2003 Patrick Kielty Almost Live Guest
2003 Parkinson Guest
2003 Question Time Participant
2003 Grumpy Old Men Participant
2004 Call My Bluff Participant
2004 QI Participant
2004 Who Do You Think You Are? Participant
2005 Top of the Pops Guest Host
2006 Cars Voice Artist of Harv in U.K. Version.
2006 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Guest Host
2006 The F Word Participant
2008 The One Show Guest
2008 Have I Got News for You Guest Host
2009 The Chris Moyles Show Guest
2009 Love the Beast Guest
2009 8 out of 10 Cats Guest
2009 Have I Got News For You Guest
2009 Secret Diary of a Call Girl Guest Role

Videos/DVDs

Running Series

  1. Clarkson - Unleashed On Cars (1996, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  2. Apocalypse Clarkson (1997, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  3. The Most Outrageous Jeremy Clarkson Video In The World...Ever! (1998, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  4. Clarkson - Head To Head (1999, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  5. Clarkson - At Full Throttle (2000, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  6. Clarkson's Top 100 Cars (2001, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  7. Clarkson - No Limits (2002, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  8. Clarkson - Shoot Out (2003, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  9. Clarkson - Hot Metal (2004, VCI Video, VHS/DVD).
  10. Clarkson - Heaven & Hell (2005, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  11. Clarkson - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly (2006, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  12. Clarkson - Supercar Showdown (2007, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  13. Clarkson - Supercar Showdown - Behind The Scenes (2007, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  14. Clarkson - Thriller (2008, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  15. Clarkson - Duel (2009, 2|Entertain, DVD).
  16. Clarkson - Duel - Behind The Scenes (2009, 2|Entertain, DVD).

Voice-Over Compilations

  1. Jeremy Clarkson's Motorsport Mayhem (1995, Arison International, VHS/DVD).
  2. Jeremy Clarkson's More Motorsport Mayhem (1996, Arison International, VHS).

Television Compilations

  1. Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld (1996, BBC Video, VHS).
  2. Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines (1997, BBC Video, VHS).
  3. Jeremy Clarkson's Speed (2001, BBC Video, VHS).
  4. The Jeremy Clarkson Collection (2008, 2|Entertain, DVD).

Bibliography

Book Publisher Year
Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld BBC Books
Penguin Books
1996
Reprinted 2004
Clarkson On Cars Virgin Books
Penguin Books
1996
Reprinted 2004
Clarkson's Hot 100 Virgin Books
Carlton Books
1997
Reprinted 1998
Planet Dagenham Andre Deustch
Carlton Books
1998
Reprinted 2006
Born To Be Riled BBC Books
Penguin Books
1999
Reprinted 2007
Jeremy Clarkson On Ferrari Lancaster Books
Salamander Books
2000
Reprinted 2001
The World According To Clarkson Icon Books
Penguin Books
2004
Reprinted 2005
I Know You Got Soul Micheal Joseph
Penguin Books
2005
Reprinted 2006
And Another Thing... Micheal Joseph
Penguin Books
2006
Reprinted 2007
Don't Stop Me Now!! Micheal Joseph
Penguin Books
2007
Reprinted 2008
For Crying Out Loud! Micheal Joseph
Penguin Books
2008
Reprinted 2009
Driven To Distraction Micheal Joseph
Penguin Books
2009
Reprinted 2010
  • Two books containing the best columns from previous publications, entitled "The Collected Thoughts Of Clarkson" and "Never Played Golf" were issued by Top Gear Magazine, in 2003 and 2004 respectively.

References

External links

News & References

Enthusiast Sites & Discussion Forums

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