The final episode of the current Top Gear series has been pulled from the schedules after delays to the disciplinary hearing into allegations that Jeremy Clarkson punched a producer.
When the allegations about Clarkson broke last week, the BBC said that two of the last three episodes of the series would be “postponed”.
But the broadcaster refused to confirm that the final episode in the series would be axed, as executives believed the disciplinary investigation would be concluded before the schedules for the series finale, on March 29, needed to be finalised.
But delays to the hearing, including reports that Clarkson’s lawyer was unavailable last week, have meant that the inquiry, led by Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, has only got fully underway in the past 24 hours.
In draft schedules circulated among broadcasters, the last episode in the 22nd series of the motoring show, which was due to air at 8pm on March 29, has been replaced by the second programme in a documentary series about the Caribbean, featuring Simon Reeve.
The Corporation still hopes to complete the inquiry as swiftly as possible, and a verdict on the future of Clarkson is expected by the end of this week.