Jeremy Clarkson, now one of the presenters of The Grand Tour, has often shared his inability to work with the BBC thanks to its prudish nature of producing TV. Taking over Top Gear completely from 2002 alongside executive producer Andy Wilman, he found it very difficult to jump through the hoops the BBC laid out for its programming, and in a recent interview, has admitted that he would purposefully go about trying to annoy them.
He told GQ Magazine that he would have left the show anyway if it wasn’t for his contract not being renewed in 2015 after the ‘fracas’ between him and producer Oisin Tymon. He told the publication the following when he was asked if he had any regrets:
“With hindsight, no, because I think we’d have jumped the shark by now… we’d have done something idiotic.
“And it was becoming very, very difficult – and I think it still is at the BBC – to run a show like ours.”
He even admits that certain parts of the show would be written specifically to annoy the BBC.
“We wrote it every week specifically to annoy BBC management because we knew if we were annoying them, we were delighting huge swaths of Britain.
“But the truth is I had no truck against the BBC. It was [the then BBC director of television Danny] Cohen I had an issue with.”
Andy Wiman agreed with Clarkson’s view when he was interviewed by Amol Rajan on The Media Show. The host probed into the leaving of Top Gear after Clarkson’s dismissal:
“You mentioned the circumstances by which you left the BBC.
“Was it ever an option to stay at the BBC after Jeremy Clarkson was sacked?”
“No, not for me and it wasn’t because we went to school and we grew up as mates.
“There was friend loyalty, and that doesn’t mean I was blind to anything going on, but I was very angry when I left and I wasn’t going to sit in that management environment anymore.”
“Why were you angry?” Amol pressed.
“Because I think it was so clumsily handled.
“There was a lot of anger flying around and a lot of agendas flying around so I wasn’t going to sit around in that environment and then B., what kind of show was I supposed to make?
“They were like, ‘Stay on and make Top Gear.’ Really? Was I going to do that?
“Was I going to make something with new people? That’s just like, kill myself.”