Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear “punch”: recap and live updates

How the story of Clarkson's BBC suspension unfolded, from Fracas-gate via the petition to reinstate him and his own Twitter reaction, plus the latest on the story as it continues to develop...


Friday 13th March. 11:59am Friday 13th may be unlucky for some, but Jeremy Clarkson is feeling *fairly* confident about his job security. The suspended BBC star has updated his Twitter bio which once read “I am a presenter on the BBC2 motoring show, Top Gear”. He’s since added in some extra vocab…


13:30pm One of the many questions being asked about the Clarkson debacle is: when will we discover his fate? BBC DG Tony Hall told this morning that there’s “no timeline” on the inquiry, but at least one senior BBC exec says the Corporation wants it sorted “as quickly as possible”.

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12:04pm As it stands,’s petition to Bring Back Clarkson – set up by political blogger Guido Fawkes – has been signed by over 700,000 supporters. The numbers continue to grow fast but what’s interesting here is the speed at which the campaign has taken off – have confirmed to the Independent that it’s the fastest-growing petition the site has ever hosted, topping a bid to halt The Sun’s Page 3 topless models and past campaigns including one calling for an end of female genital mutilation (FGM).

Thursday 12th March. 08:11am: A new day, a fresh insight into the “fracas” that caused Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension. According to The Mirror, the catering issue that prompted the Top Gear host to kick off was the menu offered by his hotel at the end of a long day’s filming – soup and a cold meat platter were laid on for the cast and crew but Clarkson was after steak. A “witness” recalls the presenter launching into an expletive-ridden tirade using “every bad word you can think of” in his pursuit of a hot meal. 

According to the onlooker, “the producer [now named as Oisin Tymon] stood there looking quiet and embarrassed. He was being blamed for not arranging hot food. The general manager [of the hotel] ended up cooking himself for the three presenters.” 

Yesterday Clarkson’s fellow presenter James May confirmed that a “dust-up” did take place over dinner, but added, “I don’t think it’s that serious”. 

Nevertheless, #Steakgate offered ample opportunities for this morning’s front pages… 

23:40pm David Cameron weighs in. The British Prime Minister was questioned on BBC Midlands Today about his “constituent and friend”, calling the suspended Top Gear presenter a “great talent”.

“Because he is a talent and he does amuse and entertain so many people, including my children who’ll be heartbroken if Top Gear’s taken off air, I hope this can be sorted out because it’s a great programme and he’s a great talent.”

He added: “The Prime Minister has many responsibilities. Sadly securing the future of Top Gear isn’t one of them.”

18:23pm Another breaking exclusive from…

Ken MacQuarrie, the BBC executive who oversaw Newsnight’s McAlpine inquiry, has been appointed chair of the disciplinary panel that will decide Jeremy Clarkson’s fate

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16:50pm Inevitably, the vultures are circling… So who should replace Clarkson if he goes and Top Gear continues…? Piers Morgan is keen (his hat seems to be in the ring for most gigs these days), Chris Evans has ruled himself out (and so have I) but there are plenty of other ideas out there…

16:32pm “I’m off to the Job Centre” Clarkson tells reporters as he heads out for a bit…

16:19pm Our very own @BenDowell just filling in the BBC News Channel on the Clarkson situation there. If you missed it, look out for it later. He’s the dashing fellow with the glasses…


He hasn’t gone anywhere, but #BringBackClarkson is already the top Twitter trend. As the inquiry continues, could that second trend be an omen…?

15:45pm They’re bringing in the big guns… BBC DG Tony Hall tells MPs he is involved in the Clarkson inquiry

12:55pm Jeremy Clarkson is considering quitting the BBC, a source close to the presenter tells Clarkson could leave even if cleared of the allegations that he punched a Top Gear producer says the source

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The story so far…

How it unfolded between Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning


News breaks that Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from Top Gear “following a fracas with a BBC producer” and that Sunday’s episode has been pulled from the schedules.

The BBC releases the following statement:

“Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation. No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time.”

#fracas begins trending on Twitter as everyone lunges for the nearest dictionary to find out what it actually means. 

Fracas is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as a “a noisy quarrel; brawl”, while the Cambridge online dictionary describes it as “a noisy argument or fight”.

The common thread here seems to be that the word covers arguments that involve both physical and non-physical confrontations. It’s interesting that the BBC statement doesn’t restrict itself to either the word “argument” or “quarrel” but for now we can draw no solid conclusion about which category the Clarkson altercation falls into… 

The fracas becomes a punch runs the exclusive story that Clarkson allegedly punched the producer in question and that all three remaining episodes of Top Gear have been removed from the TV schedules.

The identity of the producer in question remains a mystery.

The save Clarkson campaign begins

Mere hours after the original news broke an online petition is already calling for the BBC to bring back the presenter, and for a general “freedom to fracas”. By Wednesday morning it has gathered around 300,000 signatures and counting…

Clarkson, Hammond and May take to Twitter

Hammond and May break their silence in order to take the mick out of Clarkson…

Clarkson breaks his silence in order to take the mick out of Ed Milliband… 

And they all take the mick out of the show… 

What the papers say

Monday morning and Clarkson’s face is splashed across the front of all the major newspapers, complete with the obligatory puns – Stop, Bop and Strop Gear…

See a gallery of the front pages

The when, where, why and who revealed?

The Daily Mirror claims the Top Gear producer on the receiving end of the fracas is Oisin Tymon, 36, who has worked on the show for years knows Clarkson well, and that the row concerned a lack of refuelling options while shooting the show in Newcastle.

“It was all over a catering issue,” a source tells the paper. “They came to the end of filming after a long day and Jeremy discovered that no food had been laid on.

“He just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organised the food. He snapped.”


Now scroll back to the top for the latest updates…