Jeremy Clarkson’s only been out of the Top Gear job for one day – and already he’s popped up on TV riding a bike. And he’s also been offered a presenting gig – by online cycling goods retailer, Chain Reaction Cycles.
Wherever Clarkson ends up, he’ll presumably end up earning more than if he took up the Northern Ireland-based firm’s offer for him to co-host its fortnightly online magazine programme, The Hub Show, alongside existing presenter Matt Cole.
“We’ve been looking for a co-presenter who would go the extra mile and really add a punch to the show,” said the retailer’s marketing director, Neil Morris.
“I realise that he’s not always been a big fan of cycling and cyclists, but we all thought that he might be up for taking a different look at a different mode of transport, whilst moving his career up a gear.”
The company says: “If he agrees to attend, he’ll be facing questions about his interest in cycling, his empathy for cyclists and the issues he feels are most relevant to the world of cycling.”
He has been invited in for a screen test and interview next Wednesday – which is of course 1 April for anyone paying attention. Apparently his team has yet to respond about the offer.
If any of the assembled reporters pointed out that – to use his own words – someone pedaling a bike should “work harder – get a car,” it didn’t make it onto this report.
Meanwhile, Clarkson was filmed by BBC News today rolling up at his West London address on a bike, to find himself being doorstepped by the press.
The Top Gear presenter was effectively sacked by the BBC yesterday when it said it would not be renewing his contract following the well-publicised ‘fracas’ involving producer Oison Tymon.
Yesterday, BBC director-general Tony Hall described the corporation as “a broad church,” and said “our strength in many ways lies in that diversity.” He continued: “We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price.”
Hall said Tymon was “a completely innocent party” and that he “took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature.”
The BBC has said that it will co-operate with police in their investigation of the incident, which happened in a hotel in North Yorkshire.
Hall acknowledged that the decision to let Clarkson go would “divide opinion” – much like the presenter himself, appropriately.
Throughout his time presenting Top Gear, as well as in his columns for The Sunday Times, Clarkson has regularly taken aim at people on bikes – though some might say that being talked about, even negatively, is better than not being talked about at all.
An edition of the TV show last year saw Clarkson and co-presenter James May take to the streets of London on bicycles as they came up with ideas for cycle safety films.
Many saw that as trivialising or even mocking the issue – although in the comments to our story on it, others said that as a light entertainment show, and one that takes a satirical approach, the progamme was no more than should be expected and people shouldn’t be so quick to take offence.
Elsewhere, Clarkson has shown himself to be surprisingly sympathetic to cycling – in a column for The Sunday Times several years ago, he said he would move to Copenhagen “in a heartbeat” due to the way prioritising bikes over cars had made the Danish capital such a pleasant place to live.
However, that Clarkson has given offence to people from a huge variety of backgrounds over the years is undoubted – indeed, when the latest scandal broke, several national newspapers listed example after example of times he has upset various individuals or groups.
The fact remains though that Top Gear is the BBC’s most successful show worldwide by some margin, and that it won’t be the same show without Clarkson, who one imagines will be recruited by a rival broadcaster for a programme in a similar vein.
But if the show does continue on BBC, who would you like to see replace him? Sir Chris Hoy’s into fast cars and could also fight the cyclist’s corner, while another name being championed on social media in recent days is that of Guy Martin – no slouch on two wheels, powered or otherwise.
Meanwhile there is a petition to see the Steve Coogan character Alan Partridge – someone known to have ended shows with the same “and on that bombshell …” line used by Clarkson – get the gig.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.