The Grand Tour: Jeremy Clarkson stars in Lochdown trailer
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The enigmatic and controversial Mr Clarkson returns to ITV at 9pm tonight to host the second episode of the news season of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Mr Clarkson, who replaced Chris Tarrant in 2018 to host the revived ITV gameshow, shot to international recognition in 2002 with hit BBC motoring programme Top Gear, which he presented alongside Mr May and Mr Hammond until March 2015. The presenter currently also hosts Amazon Prime car show The Grand Tour alongside his ex-Top Gear colleagues and fronted Clarkson’s Farm, a series following Mr Clarkson as he attempted to run a 1,000-acre farm in the Cotswolds plagued by “unhelpful weather, disobedient animals and unresponsive crops.”
Clarkson’s Farm has not been renewed for another series, confirmed the presenter this week, inciting the 61-year-old to urge people to “write to Amazon.”
Mr Clarkson was suspended from the BBC in March 2015 after an alleged physical argument with producer Oisin Tymon over dinner arrangements which led to the broadcast company sacking the presenter after nearly 30 years of employment there.
When Mr May and Mr Hammond also departed the BBC flagship show to front The Grand Tour alongside Mr Clarkson many assumed it was a gesture of solidarity and friendship for their co-host.
Yet in a 2016 interview with the Guardian James May said: “We work because we hate each other.
“That’s the magic formula; it doesn’t work for bands, but I think it works for groups of TV presenters.
“We get on each other’s t*** massively.”
Mr May also claimed that the hosts “try not to” socialise off screen adding: “It’s camped-up pantomime, but the differences are real.
“I don’t know if we’d connect if we hadn’t been thrown together.
“We’re not really meant to be together – but that’s why it works.”
A month after Clarkson’s axing, BBC2 controller Kim Shillinglaw refused to rule out a Top Gear return for Mr May and Mr Hammond, despite both presenters having distanced themselves from the show.
Ms Shillinglaw said: “Conversations are on-going with James and Richard about a whole variety of projects at the BBC.
“While those conversations are on-going, they have to remain private.”
Despite the animosity between co-hosts, Mr May and Mr Hammond still chose to remain loyal to Mr Clarkson.
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Mr May said: “There were noises all round. I don’t know to what extent they wanted us to stay.
“I quickly realised the best outcome for us was to stay together because that’s what our fans want.
“They’re our first loyalty and our first love.
“In retrospect, [Mr Clarkson’s altercation] wasn’t a glorious moment.
“Was I annoyed? I was a bit pissed off – because it made my life more complicated. That was the main problem.”
In an interview with the BBC two months after his dismissal Mr Clarkson stressed, he was sad to leave the show, which he called his “baby”.
Mr Clarkson told Chris Evans, who ironically went on to replace Mr Clarkson as Top Gear host for a season: “It was my own silly fault, but I can hardly complain.
“I was at the BBC for 27 years and did Top Gear for 12 and it was very much my baby and I worked all through the night on it, and then suddenly you’re not asked to do that anymore and then you do feel there is a big hole that needs to be filled [in your life].”
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