The BBC has decided not to air tonight’s scheduled episode of Stephen Fry’s panel show QI, which featured an appearance from Jeremy Clarkson, because of fears of further backlash from viewers.
Clarkson appeared on The One Show last week and prompted over 30,000 complaints to the BBC after he said on air that striking public sector workers should be “executed in front of their families.”
Despite the QI episode having been recorded over the summer, BBC executives feared that it was too soon after The One Show controversy to screen any unseen material featuring the famously opinionated motoring journalist.
“It's not to do with anything specific that Clarkson said on QI,” said a BBC insider. “It is more a case of the BBC not wanting to look as though it didn't care about the storm and putting Clarkson back on screen as if nothing had happened.”
The corporation will instead transmit another episode of the programme in its place featuring Sandi Toksvig, Lee Mack, Jimmy Carr and Alan Davies.
A BBC spokeswoman confirmed that the episode had not been indefinitely shelved, saying: "It is not unusual for the running order of a programme to change. The billed episode will be shown at a later date."