Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from BBC2 motoring show Top Gear following what the BBC described as a “fracas” with the producer.
The scheduled show will not be broadcast this Sunday.
A statement from the BBC said: “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.”
The BBC would not confirm whether the producer it refers to is executive producer Andy Wilman, Clarkson’s long-term colleague on the show or whether the incident occurred during the filming of the studio inserts on the show which was due to air on Sunday March 15th at 8pm.
However, the term producer is an umbrella term, with credits from last week’s show listing the names Liz Campbell, Chenoa Finlayson-Pugh, Polly Holton and Nicholas Krupa in the production team with the producer credit going to Oisin Tymon and the series producer named as Alex Renton.
A fracas is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as a “a noisy quarrel; brawl”.
Sunday’s show was set to feature Clarkson and fellow presenters Richard Hammond and James May getting to grips with classic cars including a Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 Cabriolet with ex-footballer and presenter Gary Lineker the “star in a reasonably priced car”.
Lineker reacted to the news with the tweet:
I don't think I'm ever meant to appear on Top Gear!
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) March 10, 2015
The news will come as a huge blow to Clarkson who admitted, with some degree of understatement, that he has recently had a “difficult” last few months which culminated in him and the show’s team being hounded out of Argentina after protestors took violent exception to the numberplate of the car he was driving.
He was also put on what he claimed was a final warning from the BBC after a racism row when he was allegedly caught on camera mumbling the n-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe during filming of the BBC2 programme.
Other controversies include protests from mental health charities after he branded people who throw themselves under trains as “selfish”.
And he was forced to apologise for telling BBC1’s The One Show that striking workers should be shot.
This has prompted BBC director of television Danny Cohen to launch an investigation into the show which is ongoing and which some commentators believe has diluted some of the content. Speaking to RadioTimes.com earlier this year, co-presenter Richard Hammond promised that the current run would be controversy-free.
RadioTimes.com has attempted to contact Mr Clarkson for a comment.