Sunday, March 15, 2015
Hysterical BBC meltdown over political correctness
The report below does not mention pc but since Clarkson is undoubtedly the most "incorrect" man on British TV, it is not hard to read between the lines. And his political incorrectness is a large part of his great popularity. Why else would a show about cars attract a mass audience?
It was always a wonder that Clarkson's show was aired by the BBC but they needed its enormous popularity to make their ratings look good. They must, however, have been seething for a long time and now it has exploded, even though Clarkson has the PM on his side.
The report below is both amazing in its vitriol and amazing as an attempt to prejudice a formal enquiry. If the enquiry were fully judicial, such an attempt would lead to legal sanctions against the attacker
The BBC launched an astonishing attack on Jeremy Clarkson yesterday, comparing him to sex offender Jimmy Savile and urging him to check into rehab.
Blaming the now notorious ‘fracas’ with a Top Gear producer on ‘personal issues’, one of the most senior Corporation executives said Clarkson was ‘self-destructing’ and needed help.
Most controversially, the TV chief, who has been directly involved in the fallout from the incident, likened Clarkson’s supporters – including the Prime Minister – to those who turned a blind eye to Savile’s appalling crimes. Last night, friends of the
54-year-old presenter expressed disbelief that the BBC should make such explosive claims before its internal investigation into the controversy has even begun.
‘I am in total shock that someone at the BBC would attack their own talent and deliberately smear Jeremy,’ said Perry McCarthy, who was Top Gear’s mysterious test driver The Stig.
The broadside came as further details of the alleged assault on producer Oisin Tymon emerged.
One report claimed Clarkson split Tymon’s lip with a punch, leaving him needing hospital treatment. Other sources told this newspaper that Clarkson had not been drinking – and that the row was not entirely about the lack of a hot meal at the end of a day’s filming.
But the most astonishing development came during a wide-ranging official briefing given to The Mail on Sunday by a senior BBC figure.
The executive likened 36-year-old Tymon’s position to that of Savile’s victims, who feared they would not be believed while he was alive.
‘The pressure this guy [Tymon] is under is so Savilesque in a way,’ he said, adding that Clarkson’s support from high-level politicians recalled the way Savile was once defended. ‘If you look at what David Cameron says or what [former Culture and Media Secretary] Maria Miller says and you swap Clarkson for Savile, you get this: David Cameron is effectively saying that Savile’s a real talent, Maria Miller saying Savile will be Savile.’
The comparison will inevitably anger Savile’s victims. Conservative MP Conor Burns, who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said that ‘it is not just patently absurd, it’s also deeply offensive to Jeremy Clarkson and those innocent people who were horribly abused by Savile’.
The BBC executive also said that attempts to suggest the ‘fracas’ was part of a wider battle between Clarkson and Danny Cohen, the BBC’s powerful director of television, were misleading.
Clarkson is said to have a difficult relationship with Cohen, who told him that he was on a final warning after a string of controversies.
‘People keep saying that this is a case of Danny Cohen v Jeremy Clarkson. It is not,’ said the executive. ‘This is Jeremy Clarkson v Jeremy Clarkson…
‘Jeremy is self-destructing. Danny is not the person who is driving this, it is Jeremy.’
Referring to the Top Gear host’s much-publicised split from his wife Frances after 21 years, the BBC chief added: ‘It is common knowledge he has personal issues; we have all read about them.
‘If I was advising him I would take one of two options. Do what he is doing now and continue to try to play it down – or I would go into rehab and show the world I am trying to change.
‘The BBC has stood by him before when he has been in hot water… But this is more serious.’
As the row intensified, sources in the Clarkson camp gave The Mail on Sunday what they say is the most definitive account yet of the events leading to the hotel incident.
Contrary to what has been widely reported, they insisted the presenter had not been drinking beforehand – although co-presenter James May downed a bottle of white wine.
Neither did Clarkson explode with anger at the hotel just because he couldn’t have an expensive steak.
‘Yes, it is true that there was no supper but he was angry because they didn’t have enough producers during the day and it made filming extremely difficult,’ said one source. Others close to the star – who has been suspended by the BBC – accurately predicted the Corporation would cast him as a man careering ‘off the rails’.
Even so, the depth of the attack, and the personal nature of the comments, will surprise many – especially as, until now, the Corporation has been careful to limit its comments ahead of the inquiry.
The executive’s comments drew a furious reaction from Clarkson supporters. Perry McCarthy added: ‘This will be a nightmare for Jeremy and he will feel deeply concerned that someone at the Corporation has spoken his name in the same sentence as that disgusting creature Jimmy Savile.
‘It is ill-conceived, as was the decision to suspend him and take Top Gear off the air. Jeremy is a brilliant broadcaster and a fantastic guy.
‘It’s atrocious that these idiots at the BBC are paid so much money but run it about as well as a three-year-old child.’
Clarkson, May and Richard Hammond had been filming in Surrey all day before the incident. They left at just after 6pm for a two-and-half-hour helicopter flight to the luxury Simonstone Hall hotel in the Yorkshire Dales.
On board, May drank a bottle of wine, but Clarkson drank nothing as he had to work on a script later that evening.
Filming had been fraught because of the shortage of producers and Clarkson was tired, annoyed and hungry, having had nothing to eat all day, the sources say. And it was against this background, that they arrived at the hotel to be told there was no hot supper. What happened next will have to be established by the BBC’s inquiry.
It is not thought that Clarkson will dispute ranting at Tymon. But he is already said to deny calling him a ‘lazy Irish ****’.
One account will claim the presenter went nose-to-nose with Tymon and said: ‘You’ll be on the dole tomorrow. ‘I’m going to make sure you will not have a job.’
The executive who briefed The Mail on Sunday said: ‘ [Tymon] could be in hospital because of this. ‘He is watching it all play out. Jeremy is a bit more used to it. I don’t think Jeremy has got the most to lose. ‘He has got the money to see him out through his days if he needs to. The other guy [Tymon] is just a jobbing producer.’
Insiders say the BBC – which holds the rights to the lucrative Top Gear format – is prepared to continue making the show even if it means getting a new presenter or presenters.
They say other shows, such as Have I Got News For You, survived the departure of a host and there was no reason Top Gear could not do the same.
Sources said the BBC remained the best place for a fearless motoring programme, because it was not beholden to advertisers.
Yesterday Clarkson looked downcast as he left his West London apartment. He declined to comment but told journalists: ‘You must be freezing.’
The BBC disciplinary panel will be led by Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, who carried out the investigation into Newsnight’s false exposé of Lord McAlpine.
Clarkson started the disciplinary process himself when he told his bosses at the BBC about the row. Meanwhile, a petition to reinstate Clarkson has gathered more than 870,000 signatures.
The Prime Minister appeared to lend his support when he described Clarkson as a ‘friend’ and ‘huge talent’, adding that he hoped the situation could be resolved so his children would not be left ‘heartbroken’.
Clarkson is scheduled to appear alongside May and Hammond at four live shows in Norway later this month. All three presenters’ contracts expire three days after the Norway gigs.
The last three episodes of the series have been put on hold. Tonight’s show has been replaced with a documentary about the Red Arrows. [Worthy but boring]