Jeremy Clarkson recently returned to the BBC’s “Top Gear” for a special one-off performance just months after his dismissal from the show.
According to The Week, the network confirmed that Clarkson dropped by the BBC studios to complete voice-over work for unaired footage from the show’s 22nd season that was cut short in March.
A BBC spokesperson told the Guardian’s John Plunkett that Clarkson was not paid for the work, which was part of the host’s network contract that was not renewed in March.
The remaining footage shot for “Top Gear’s” season 22 was cobbled together into a special 75-minute episode that will air on June 28 on BBC2, the Guardian reported.
The episode is expected to be the final appearance for Clarkson, as well as co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond. The trio turned “Top Gear” into global media phenomenon.
According to the Guardian, the special episode is expected to BBC2’s most watched show of the year.
So what happens to the high-octane trio after “Top Gear?”
Last week, reports out of the UK indicated that the troika are headed for Netflix.
According to the Daily Mirror’s Nigel Pauley, a source claims the team was “very close” to a deal with Netflix.
The source also told the publication that Hammond and May will reject the BBC’s reported $US7.1-million offer to return to the show.
Sources claim that the BBC’s offer would have paid the duo each as much $US1.2 million to $US1.8 million a year to host “Top Gear” for another two or three series, the Daily Mail’s Jennifer Newton reported last week.
According to the Daily Mirror, the hosts made it clear that “no amount of money could persuade them to return to the BBC2 show without Clarkson.”
Top Gear’s 22nd-season ended abruptly in March after only seven of the nine planned episodes had aired, due to the suspension and subsequent dismissal of Clarkson.
Hammond and May followed Clarkson out the door by voluntarily declining to renew their respective BBC contracts, which expired in April. Andy Wilman — longtime executive producer and close friend of Clarkson — also left the BBC in the wake of the hosts’ dismissal.
The network’s decision to part ways with the polarising TV personality came after an internal BBC inquiry found Clarkson had punched a “Top Gear” producer when he failed to obtain a hot steak dinner after a long day of filming.
In addition, the fracas with the producer came on the heels of a controversy-filled 2014 for Clarkson — which saw the TV host mired in scandal stemming from accusations of racist, sexist, and culturally insensitive comments.
Prior to his dismissal, Clarkson had spent nearly three decades with the BBC as a host on “Top Gear” and is credited with being the driving force behind the show’s explosive international success.
With more than 350 million weekly viewers, “Top Gear” set the Guinness World record as the most watched factual TV program in the world. In addition to the UK show, the Top Gear brand includes numerous international spinoffs, a live stadium tour, merchandising, a successful magazine, and a website.
Although their involvement with the “Top Gear” television program may be over, the show’s trio of former hosts will continue with its live stadium appearances. However, the tour will no longer be able carry the “Top Gear” name. Instead, it will be named after the show’s three hosts — “Clarkson, Hammond, and May Live”
Here’s the trailer for the special episode of “Top Gear”:
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