Jeremy Clarkson's Most Controversial Moments With Top Gear - a Quick Top 10 Rundown

The past 12 months were a nightmare for the man of the moment. Early last year, Jeremy Clarkson’s mother lost her battle to cancer, wife Frances Cain left the TV presenter and various reports claim that Jezza suffered from a number of health concerns.
Jeremy Clarkson LinkedIn profile 2 photos
Photo: screenshot from LinkedIn
Rosie Tomkins' announcement regarding Jeremy Clarkson quitting Top Gear
As much as he means to us petrolheads, Top Gear’s helmsman isn’t enjoying the best time of his life at the present moment. A BBC executive compared Clarkson’s drunken punch-up with the Irish producer as being a “Savillesque” moment for the British Broadcasting Corporation, a feat that basically announces the outcome of today’s disciplinary meeting, JC and producer included.

Jeremy was right in his column for The Sun. The dinosaurs are long gone and the only evidence they ever existed are bones and, believe or not, chickens - the most closely related animal to the neornithine birds. Worry not though, Jeremy isn’t going to transform from Jurassic Jem into a duck because Channel 4 or ITV will bite his hand off.

Speaking of which, the Top Gear trio’s contracts with the BBC expire in two weeks’ time and, as things stand now, Jeremy will certainly jump ship to another broadcaster. The following days will tell if Captain Slow and Hammond will follow suit. Until that moment comes, let’s take a moment to remind ourselves what other mess-ups took a toll on Jeremy Clarkson’s 27-year career at the BBC.

Controversial moment #1

In 1998, a younger, more afro and triple-denim fashion disaster Clarkson claimed that a certain Hyundai designer had probably “eaten a spaniel for lunch.” Hyundai UK reacted, labelling JC as “bigoted and racist and deliberately vindictive.” Twelve years after this slander, the Korean car brand got back at JC with the “Top Deer” spoof.

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Controversial moment #2

Jeremy Clarkson punched Piers Morgan straight in the kisser at the 2004 Press Awards. Morgan expressed his thoughts in the news about the motoring journalist’s affair with a woman that wasn’t his wife. The Clarkson-Morgan quarrel then moved to Twitter, with Piers dropping two super hilarious lines: “You punch like a muscle-depleted chihuahua” and “gnarled old fool,” LOL.

Controversial moment #3

“Berlin to Warsaw in one tank” isn’t too popular a catchline to advertise the Volkswagen Scirocco TDI’s range, dear Jeremy. Starting from a simple spoof advert, the controversial ad from the last episode of Top Gear series 13 spurred angry comments from Polish viewers of the TV show.

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Controversial moment #4

During Top Gear series 12 in 2008, Jezza said on television that being a lorry driver is “a hard job. Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That’s a lot of effort in a day.” Yorkshire Ripper or Ipswich 2006 serial murders reference, anyone? Needless to say, over 500 complaints were sent to Ofcom, the government-approved TV regulatory authority.

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Controversial moment #5

Remember the Top Gear Romania Special? The lads took the Aston Martin DBS Volante, Ferrari California and Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder to the East European country. Though they were very impressed by the Transfagarasan mountain road, Clarkson described Romania as being "Borat country, with gypsies and Russian playboys.” Russian what now? 89.5 percent of the country’s population is Romanian, Jeremy.

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Controversial moment #6

It was 2007 when Captain Power described the awful-looking Perodua Kelisa as the type of car that was made by “jungle people who wear leaves as shoes.” Malaysia was never a byword for good passenger vehicles, but come on, that’s the most stereotypical remark one can make on the Malaysian people. The Malaysian automotive industry, on the other hand, is plain disgraceful.

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Controversial moment #7

In October 2009, Clarkson really made a mess of things when he pointed the finger at television producers with a fixating on having “black Muslim lesbians” on TV programmes to balance the tally of “white heterosexual males.” Since this remark was published in a column of the Top Gear mag, there’s no video evidence on this racist mess-up.

Controversial moment #8

Let’s face it - Gordon Brown was a questionable PM back in the late Noughties. But Clarkson hit headlines again by dismissing Brown as a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” at a press conference in the Land Down Under. Subsequently, the Top Gear presenter did the right thing and offered a public apology to the Scottish people for this wisecrack.

Controversial moment #9

Roughly a year ago, the Top Gear host begged forgiveness amid n-word uproar. During a taping of the show, the Daily Mail posted a footage of Clarkson mumbling the n-word while reciting the children’s nursery rhyme “eeny, meeny, miny, moe.” Though that footage was never aired on national television, JC was condemned for this allegation and the man was thoroughly sorry.

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Controversial moment #10

After the n-word uproar, the BBC said to Jezza that this is his last warning. One more mess-up and good riddance. Funny enough, half a year later came the Patagonia special and Argentina’s rage at Clarkson’s Porsche 928. Come on, man, a car with license plates reading “H982 FKL” isn’t a coincidence and people died on both sides in the Falklands War. Epic fail, Clarkson, epic fail.

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On an ending note, as much as I’d like to take Jeremy’s side and see the current Top Gear series continue to entertain us, time has come for Jezza to get off his high horse and choose between Channel 4 and ITV. The BBC doesn’t want him anymore and Clarkson has mixed feelings about the national broadcaster as well. Hopefully, all of us will move on after today’s disciplinary meeting will see the end of this saga.

UPDATE: Jeremy Clarkson: "I'll do one last lap of Top Gear track before f****** b******* sack me."

 Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, declared today: "It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly. I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon." Furthermore, “the BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016.” More info here.
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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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