The ex-Top Gear host talks of “horrible” experiences with bullies before he was eventually expelled from the school in which he became good friends with Andy Wilman, the now producer of The Grand Tour. This bullying included being forced to lick the toilets, and a pupil pooing in his tuck box.
Talking on the Andy Jaye podcast, Clarkson explained that the experience had “sharpened” him and “brought me to my senses”.
He said: “I appreciate that for many, many, many people bullying is horrific, but it just wasn’t for me particularly.
“I mean it was horrible to suffer from it, but I look back and I am grateful for what it made me become, if that makes sense.”
He was later expelled from Repton Highschool before he started working for his local paper. This eventually rocketed him into the arms of Top Gear, before he and Andy Wilman rebooted the car show in 2002 with Richard Hammond, and eventually James May at the helm.
He admits that he got the idea of becoming a journalist from a man on the side of the road – a family friend from some research – who asked him what he was doing. Clarkson told him that he’d been expelled and he replied with:
“Ha, well you’ll have to be a journalist then.”
He said: “So that was lucky I bumped into him, because I hadn’t even considered journalism.”