Jeremy Clarkson: new Top Gear rumours multiply as ITV is ruled out

Jeremy Clarkson is not allowed to make a car show with ITV for two years, according to terms of his last contract with the BBC, reports say.

The contract, believed to be worth around £3m a year, contained a clause preventing him from signing with a rival British broadcaster for a fixed term after finishing work on Top Gear.

The revelation makes on-demand streaming services Amazon and Netflix the most likely home for any new show fronted by Clarkson and his former Top Gear colleagues, James May and Richard Hammond. Amazon and Netflix both broadcast in the UK but are based in the US so would not be covered by the clause.

Today’s reports do not say whether Clarkson would be prevented from working for the UK-based satellite broadcaster Sky, which has also been connected with the Top Gear trio.

Both Amazon and Netflix are known to be interested in recruiting the presenters, who have an “unrivalled international following”, the Daily Mailsays.  They brought the BBC revenues estimated at £40 million per year while at Top Gear.

A “TV source” told the Daily Mirror: “Basically they could make a show for ITV, but not one about cars. A clause stops them leaving and making a rival.

“It means Netflix or Amazon are favourites to sign up the team. There is a feeling that if they wait two years it gives Chris Evans a chance to steal a march on them and get his new Top Gear show up and running, which means he would be settled in by then.

“It’s a difficult decision but they hope to make up their minds soon after a number of meetings.”

In his interview with The Sun, Clarkson previously appeared to confirm that he would be ready to unveil a new car show in the next two weeks. Referring to the appointment of Chris Evans as his replacement on Top Gear, Clarkson said: “I hope Chris enjoys running what, for the next couple of weeks, is the world’s biggest car show.”

Meanwhile, Clarkson’s every move continues to be followed by the tabloid press. On Monday, the 55-year-old presenter photographed two paparazzi following him in a blue hatchback, and posted the picture to Twitter with the caption, “Papping the paps.”

In another tweet, Clarkson likened the photographers to the hapless Pink Panther detective, Inspector Clouseau.

“I’m having lunch with an old friend who cannot believe we are being followed by Clouseau and Obvious,” he wrote.

In June, Clarkson was spotted heading to the home of ITV channel director Peter Fincham with his co-presenters Hammond and May leading many to conclude that the trio were discussing the possibility of starting a new car show with the broadcaster.

The Daily Mirror had previously quoted a source as saying that Clarkson, May and Hammond, were “very close” to signing a “big-money deal” with Netflix. But spokespeople for the on-demand streaming service have consistently declined to comment on the rumours.

Clarkson, Hammond and May are presently in the middle of a worldwide tour that will stop off in Australia next, having completed its run in South Africa and Norway. The stadium show will visit Perth and Sydney later this month before performing for one night in Warsaw and then returning to London for five final performances.

Jeremy Clarkson ‘can’t be replaced on Top Gear’, says Michael Parkinson

The BBC was “barmy” to get rid of Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear and the show “can’t work” without him, veteran interviewer Sir Michael Parkinson has said.

Speaking at the London Motorsport Festival, Parkinson said that it is “absurd” to think that Clarkson can simply be replaced, and that in his view the show will fail under Chris Evans, the Daily Mirror reports.

The BBC allowed Clarkson’s contract to expire after the presenter punched a colleague in the face in a dispute over hot food. After an investigation, theBBC’s director general Tony Hall said that it was with “great regret” that he had decided not to renew Clarkson’s contract – a decision Parkinson has described as “barmy”.

“It’s absurd,” Parkinson said. “You can’t replace Clarkson. It is Clarkson’s programme and he is the centre point and I can’t see it working with Chris.

“They were barmy to sack him in the first place and equally barmy to try to replace him and no one can. It’s a different kind of show but don’t try and pull together the same team and pretend to be the same.

“There are three people there and the only person who absolutely mattered was Clarkson.”

Parkinson described Chris Evans as a good friend, but said that he has been given an impossible task.

“People will always compare him to Clarkson. It’s like someone following Chris into his morning slot (on Radio).

“And Chris is bringing TFI Friday back and when is he going to fit the time in? Let’s hope that he doesn’t extend himself too far because he has done that before and I just worry that he doesn’t need to do it anymore. He doesn’t need the money either.”

‘Jeremy Clarkson is Top Gear’ says ‘rich kid’ hoping to replace him

The 20-year-old YouTube star “Lord” Aleem is auditioning to join Chris Evans as a presenter for Top Gear – despite previously saying that he couldn’t see the show working without Jeremy Clarkson.

Aleem Iqbal, a reported millionaire who runs a luxury car hire business with his father in Solihull, found fame on social media by posting photos and videos of himself and his collection of flash cars.

He has racked up more than 21 million hits on YouTube and nearly 390,000 followers on Instagram, with life observations such as: “I got 99 problems and choosing which colour Lamborghini Aventador to drive today is one!”

The self-styled peer has announced that he will be sending in an audition tape to Top Gear after Clarkson-replacement Chris Evans kicked off worldwide auditions to find a potential co-host. Clarkson wannabes are required to send in a 30-second clip to the BBC before 20 July.

Shortly after Clarkson’s departure, Aleem said that he would “love” to present the show and that it would not feel right if Top Gear disappeared – comparing the show to an “automotive Eastenders”

But he told his fans: “I can’t see Top Gear without Clarkson… You’ve got some big shoes to fill there. So good luck to whoever carries on but I just don’t think it will be as popular because Clarkson is Top Gear.”

The show is said to be auditioning fans and celebrities alike, with Formula One’s Suzi Perry hinting this week that she has spoken to Top Gear producers. However, she admitted she might struggle to fit both in.

“I’m away 20 weeks a year doing Formula One,” she told ITV’s This Morning. “So unless someone has invented 48 hours in a day… You know, it would be pretty tough I think for me to do it.”

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph last year, Perry said she might have made a big mistake by turning down a Top Gear role when it was first rebranded with Clarkson.

“Looking back, I may have made a large error, but it’s not like I didn’t work for the next 15 years. I don’t regret it – but it was probably a bad decision,” she said.



Jeremy Clarkson is a loss but revamped Top Gear will be ‘amazing’ – Jodie Kidd

2 July

Jodie Kidd, the presenter widely tipped for a role in the new Top Gear, has said that Jeremy Clarkson will be missed but the show will still be “amazing” without him.

Kidd, 36, said that she was sad to watch Top Gear on Sunday night knowing that it would be Clarkson’s last, but expressed high hopes for the future of the show helmed by the “brilliant” Chris Evans.

“Jeremy’s a dear friend of mine,” the former model told the Daily Mirror. “I have a lot of time for him.

“I think he’s a complete genius and a brilliant presenter. In person he’s exactly like what you see on TV. He’s incredibly bright, smart and opinionated and I admire that immensely.

“And so, yes, it’s very sad, but I think Chris Evans is going to do amazing things with Top Gear and I’m very excited to see how it all pans out.”

Kidd also appeared confident that Clarkson, along with James May and Richard Hammond, are working on a new car show.

“Jeremy and the boys work together so well,” she said. “Jeremy and the BBC have been doing it for a long time and it’s sad that that’s coming to an end, but I know they’re going to go and do other things. I hope they carry on.”

Clarkson himself has dropped strong hints that he will take on the rebooted Top Gear with a new motoring programme.

In a column for The Sun, Clarkson wrote: “I’ll miss the BBC, I really will. Because for every silly idiot, there were ten good guys who are mad and wonderful and good at what they do.

“But I won’t miss making a car show. Because other broadcasters are available so I don’t have to stop doing that. See you on the flip side.”

Speculation about where the former Top Gear presenters will take their new show continues to mount, with ITV and Netflix widely thought to be the most likely contenders.

But Fox Business says that Netflix may not be the only online streaming content provider hoping to sign up the trio. Hulu and are also in the running, it suggests.

Rich Tullo, an analyst at Albert Fried & Co says that Clarkson’s new motoring programme would likely be better suited to Hulu, which broadcasts factual programming, than Netflix, which mostly offers films and TV dramas. He noted that Top Gear’s format has long been “closer to reality, not scripted, programming”.

“The question is do people want to binge watch reality? I don’t know if I want to binge Celebrity Wife Swap,” Tullo said.

Netflix share price has risen by 93 per cent since the start of the year, buoyed by the success of its original shows such as House of Cards.

The addition of a new motoring show to its line-up could see Netflix gain another five to ten million viewers worldwide, Tullo predicted. “Top Gear is really a wildly popular show,” he said. “I think they would do great on whatever network they go on.”


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