The phenomenon of Top Gear is a global success with 350 million viewers across 170 countries fronted by a man as grumpy as he is hilarious.
Alongside co-stars James May and Richard Hammond Jeremy Clarkson transformed a car show from information for a minority to a major entertainment show based on banter and bravado.
Unfortunately for Clarkson his trademark attitude of ‘my way or the highway’ has caused friction more than once over the past 13 years and the latest ‘fracas’ just might be the straw to break the camels back.
After a day of filming Jeremy Clarkson punched a Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in the face and called him “lazy” and “Irish” during a 40 minute rant over the absence of hot food.
It could very well be the highway for Mr Clarkson as BBC are under pressure to stand up to this type of behaviour with rumours circulating a return to the show would include an ‘executive minder’ to keep him in check. That’s if he is allowed return at all.
Since the incident Jeremy has been keeping quiet apart from a few brash comments at a charity event, but hilariously that’s the least of his problems as Top Gear fans haven’t been helping his case.
While Jeremy has been keeping a low profile, fans have been protesting in the highest order, going as far as petitioning a million signatures for his reinstatement and delivering it to the BBC headquarters in a tank. Hardly the type of behaviour to bring a national television network to its knees, although comical.
As Clarkson awaits his fate from the guillotine of fame, millions of Top Gear fans also anticipate the final showdown to this dramatic affair.
Is this the end of Top Gear as we know it?
Firing Jeremy Clarkson from his natural environment could be likened to the abrupt departure of Charlie Sheen from Two and a half men. The show was never the same since he left and it is likely Top Gear would be a shadow of its former self without the superstar petrol head and his cronies.
This is another issue to letting Clarkson go, not only do they need one new presenter, they need three as James May and Richard Hammond have reportedly refused to continue filming without their Top Gear comrade.
Then there are his legions of fans, a million of whom took the time to sign a petition of support. Should Clarkson abandon the BBC for another channel, will they follow?
Could it be a case of soon forgotten like Jonathon Ross, replaced by Graham Norton, on the chat show scene during his own turbulence with the media giant.
Ultimately, the question is not whether Clarkson really is the notable presenter we all know him to be, with presence and charisma that will see him followed whatever he appears on. The conundrum is can Clarkson’s behaviour be overlooked, to allow the glorious entertainment of Top Gear to be continued in its usual carefree manner?
The answer is no. This is not the first issue BBC have had with the hot headed ego and should he survive his latest altercation it would only be a matter of time before he unwittingly strikes again.
It is a battle between a personality and a phenomenon created around that person and, from what I can see, it is a flagging fight.