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Full name: Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson
Date of birth: 11 April 1960
Place of birth: Doncaster, Yorkshire, England
Spouse: Lisa Hogan
Children: Emily, Katya, Finlo
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Jeremy Clarkson was born in Doncaster to Shirley Gabrielle Clarkson, a teacher, and Edward Grenville Clarkson, a travelling salesman. His parents began to produce Paddington Bear toys, and eventually started making enough money to enrol him inHill House School, and later on, Repton Private School.
Alongside Clarkson, Adrian Newey and Andy Wilman also attended Ripton too. Newey went on to be one of the most critically acclaimed racing car designers in the world, and Andy Wilman became the executive producer of Top Gear, and later The Grand Tour.
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Clarkson didn’t enjoy Repton School, and said that he suffered from ‘extreme bullying’. He described himself as a ‘suicidal wreck’ after other students beating him at night, forcing him to lick the toilets clean, damaging his property and clothing, and being thrown into the pool.
He did however become friends with Andy Wilman who together, named new students ‘Stigs’. This later became the name of the racing suit-clad faceless racing driver from Top Gear.
Clarkson was expelled from Repton School after “drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself.” At a young age however, he was making money by voicing Atkinson, a public schoolboy from the Children’s Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge’s Jennings novels for the BBC. This ended once his voice broke.
When he returned home from his expulsion his parents were obviously angry. He said: “They were so cross with me, but I knew something would come along. Something always comes along. It does in my life, anyway.”
FIRST WRITING JOB
Hel;ing his parents stuff bears wasn’t what he expected to be doing, even after expulsion. And after simply walking down the street one day, he was approached by a family friend who turned out to be the general manager of the local paper, the Rotherham Advertiser. While Clarkson’s CV didn’t quite fill what they were looking for, his grandfather, a GP, had ran through an air raid to deliver the editor’s first child. Because he was still very grateful for that, Clarkson was offered a writing job.
While he became a brilliant writer, he described himself as “properly rubbish” at local reporting. He once forgot the reason he had phoned a bereaved woman and was once forced to leave an inquest for giggling and messing around with another colleague.
once forgetting the reason he had phoned a bereaved woman and, on another occasion, being forced to leave an inquest in hysterical laughter while messing around with a colleague.
“He was very much the same as he is now,” sports reporter Les Payne, who shared a desk with Clarkson at the Advertiser, says. “He was a younger version of the current Jeremy Clarkson you see on TV. He mucked in with the rest of the office but he was very much a man who expressed his own opinions.”
Les Payne remembers working with Clarkson on an agricultural show. “He was taking the mickey,” he says. “He didn’t like having to write down which was the biggest marrow. The parish pump stuff clearly didn’t appeal to him.”
Clarkson’s First Business
Clarkson wrote as a journalist for several outlets including the Rochdale Observer, Wolverhampton Express and Star until one evening he came home to his girlfriend and told her about new office furniture.
“I knew at that moment that I had to leave,” he told Desert Island Discs, “because when new office furniture becomes so important that you even mention it, pack your bags, get out, move 200 miles away.”
“I couldn’t really work this notion of working for someone else. I was living in Fulham in south-west London, a real Thatcher heartland, and everybody had their own little business doing up houses, a million different things, print shops and so forth. And I thought I’ve got to have one of these little businesses. So I forced myself to have an idea a day.”
This is when he started his fist business called ‘Motoring Press Agency’ which produced car reviews to be syndicated among regional press. From this, he started contributing to Performance Car Magazine, too.
Clarkson and Top Gear
At a Citroen press day, he met Top Gear researcher Jon Bentley. “He was just what I was looking for – an enthusiastic motoring writer who could make cars on telly fun,” Bentley said. “He was opinionated and irreverent, rather than respectfully po-faced. The fact that he looked and sounded exactly like a twenty-something ex-public schoolboy didn’t matter. Nor did the impression there was a hint of school bully about him. I knew he was the man for the job.”
Bentley was later made producer of Top Gear, so offered his a screen test where he gave a Range Rover a screen test. “Clarkson stood out because he was funny. Even my bosses allowed themselves the odd titter.”
His Top Gear career started in 1988 and he slowly became the Clarkson we know today. He started quite wooden, but eventually started wearing his signature jeans and shirt combo, criticising cars, and offending people.
Clarkson’s Chat Show
Few people remember Clarkson’s personal chat show, aptly named, ‘Clarkson’. It started in November 1998, but was cancelled in only three years consisting of three series. It did however boast 27 episodes. It consisted of comedic interviews and general funny bits., although it didn’t seem to be overly popular, hence the averagely short life span.
If you want an idea of what this show consisted of, or how sensible it wan’t, have a watch of the video below where Jeremy shows the audience how to properly serve finger food… from a melon… with explosives.
At one point he even put a small plastic version of Wales in a microwave and turned it on. After being scathed by the media, he replied with a Clarkson-esque explanation:
“I put Wales in there because Scotland wouldn’t fit”.
You gotta love ‘im!
Defining Moments Of Clarkson’s Career
The Premier of the Revamped Top Gear
Where would Clarkson be without his long stint on Top Gear? Surely becoming the lead presenter of the show as it re-premiered in 2002 was a huge moment. The original version of Top Gear, premiered in 1977, and featured Clarkson later on in 1988, but was not an international sensation likes its later version would be. Going back and watching the first episode is a must do for true fans of the show and Clarkson. You can see Clarkson’s blossoming media personality, his unique style, and the seeds of the international superstar he would become being planted, ever so well.
The Amazon Deal & The Grand Tour
It would be impossible to say that after the incident with the BBC and being fired from Top Gear, that securing a major deal, worth a reported 12 million dollars a year, and costing nearly 6 million dollars to film per episode, isn’t one of Clarkson’s greatest accomplishments. In fact the deal secured his position as Britain’s highest paid T.V. star. Money aside, the amazing chance to produce a show like The Grand Tour, with almost complete freedom, no longer restricted by strict BBC standards and practices, must seem like a dream come true to Clarkson.
Clarkson’s First Book
The World According To Clarkson. A huge milestone in most anyone’s career, the book came out in 2005 and featured Clarkson giving his thoughts, jokes, insights, and opinions on just about everything. The book which was well received, and led to Jeremy writing a host of other books. For those who enjoy Clarkson’s special kind of humor, they are a must read.
Worst Moments Of His Career
The most infamous of any recent controversy surrounding Clarkson, and more than likely the one most of you are familiar with. This even led to the demise of Top Gear as we knew and loved it. For those of you unfamiliar with the incident, after a long day of filming, an apparently very grumpy Clarkson found upon his arrival at their hotel that the producer had not secured any hot food for the stars. In retaliation, Clarkson hurled insults, and punched the producer in the mouth. Talk about hunger pains.
The Argentina Controversy
While later proved to be completely coincidental, despite what the country of Argentina may think, the controversy turned out to be one Clarkson’s most dangerous. It all stemmed from a Porsche Jeremy was driving through an area of Argentina in which many of that countries veterans, who were in the Falklands War, a land war between the country and the United Kingdom. Someone believed the license plate on the Porsche was a direct slight towards the veterans and referenced the war, instigating what turned out to be a potentially deadly situation that resulted in a last ditch effort to flee the country while being assaulted with stones and other projectiles in the middle of the night. A terrifying, and memorable moment in Clarkson’s career, without a doubt.
While filming in Burma, and watching a local man walk towards them, Clarkson said to Hammond, “That is a proud moment- but there’s a slope on it” to which Hammond replied “You’re right, it’s definitely higher on that side.” While Clarkson maintained his innocence, media regulators found that it was intentional and offensive towards Asian viewers. While not his worst moment, it was an incident which surely was more pain than it was worth.
The Mexico Insults
In a joking bout with Hammond and May, the trio all spouted insults at various aspects of Mexican culture and Mexican people. Hammond said the cars built there would reflections of the people and that they were “just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, learning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat” while May said Mexican cuisine was “like sick with cheese on it”, and Clarkson rounding out the offenses by saying that they would not get any complaints from Mexico because “at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like (makes a snoring sound). They won’t complain, it’s fine.” Even in jest, not Clarkson’s or the boys finest moment.
The “N-Word” Controversy
In an outtake from an episode of Top Gear, Clarkson while singing part of a children’s nursery rhyme reportedly mumbled the “n-word”. While it is debatable whether or not he said it, or if he did, that he mumbled it intentionally in order to not actually say it, the clip caused quite a stir or negative reactions. Clarkson later apologized for the incident.