Jeremy Clarkson pulls out of hosting Have I Got News for You

Clarkson has, "on reflection", decided not to host the satirical BBC panel show, but is expected to make his appearance "later in the year"

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Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has pulled out of his planned appearance as guest host of BBC panel show Have I Got News For You, after being due to appear on Friday 24th April.

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Jimmy Mulville, boss of production company Hat Trick, which makes the series, issued a statement that said: “On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.”

The programme said that a replacement has not yet been found.

RadioTimes.com recently reported that Clarkson, whose Top Gear contract has not been renewed, would be given the freedom to be as irreverent as he chose to be as HIGNFY host, in keeping with the satirical nature of the show. This would have been his first appearance on the BBC since the alleged incident with a Top Gear producer and was due to film on Thursday 23rd April.

Last month Mulville said that a Clarkson appearance on the programme would make ”great television” but added: “I don’t think the BBC know that he is due to be on. It would be great.”

The new series of Have I Got News for You begins on Friday 10th April with Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe in the hot seat.

Clarkson is not the first no-show on the veteran panel programme.

Roy Hattersely famously failed to make an appearance in June 1993 and his place was taken by a tub of lard credited as “The Rt Hon Tub of Lard MP”.

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Two years ago the Tory Peer Baroness Trumpington also withdrew at short notice. It was shortly after the death of her close friend Baroness Thatcher and she decided that this was not an appropriate time to make jokes.