James May on Jeremy Clarkson and the future of Top Gear: “It’s a tragedy” – we are “a package”

"I'm sure Top Gear will continue in some way," said May. "It existed before us, it's been reformatted several times"

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Top Gear presenter James May has described the decision not to renew Jeremy Clarkson’s contract as a “tragedy,” adding that while Top Gear may continue, the three hosts are “a package.”

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Speaking to reporters outside his London home, May joked: “Well apparently they have shot him,” before adding, “I’ve only found this out by prising the information out of various BBC sources, nobody has actually told me officially until a few moments ago when they emailed.”

Although noting that the BBC’s “hands were tied,” May was clearly affected by the decision. “I don’t really have anything to say about it,” he told Sky News. “It’s a tragedy. I’m sorry that what ought to have been a small incident sorted out easily has turned into something big.”

According to the BBC report, Clarkson launched an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on producer Oisin Tymon that lasted around 30 seconds. In a statement, Tymon called the incident “very regrettable” and described Clarkson as “a unique talent.”

The BBC has already indicated that it hopes to renew Top Gear in 2016, but May was evasive about the future of the show and his part in it: “I’m sure Top Gear will continue in some way. It existed before us, it’s been reformatted several times.”

As to whether he would stay with the series, May said “I don’t want to talk about that too much” but did note that “I think we are very much the three of us [Clarkson, Richard Hammond and May] as a package. It works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don’t fully understand. So that will require a lot of careful thought.”

May’s Twitter bio currently describes him as a “former TV presenter.”

Asked who else he might be willing to work with on the show, May remained loyal to his friend: “Much as I think he’s a knob I quite like working with Jeremy.”

Despite the highly charged atmosphere, May found time for a joke, asking reporters to excuse him as “I have to write the eBay listing for my Ferrari.”

Meanwhile, Richard Hammond has tweeted his reaction to today’s news, telling his two million followers he is “gutted at such a sad end to an era.”

He added: “We’re all three of us idiots in our different ways but it’s been an incredible ride together.” 

Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon: “Jeremy Clarkson is a unique talent”

Jeremy Clarkson Top Gear “fracas” – what the BBC report says really happened

Jeremy Clarkson dropped by BBC – official statement in full

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