The BBC has not seen the last of Jeremy Clarkson. Not yet, anyway.
The controversial Top Gear presenter will be one of the main talking points in the second series of BBC satire W1A due to air next month, although he will not be appearing in person.
Jon Morton, creator of the comedy which stars Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville as BBC head of values Ian Fletcher, has put a storyline about the star into the first episode – written months before the Top Gear “fracas” reared its head.
Bonneville, who is currently filming the sixth series of Downton Abbey, told RadioTimes.com that reality caught up with fiction in recent days.
“Jeremy Clarkson is mentioned quite a bit but he won’t be in it himself. We’ll have to see if he is cut out,” he joked at the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards today, where W1A won the best comedy/entertainment programme award.
Collecting the award, producer Paul Schlesigner said: “Jon Morton can’t be here today because he is currently in the edit getting grabs with the Jeremy Clarkson story in – I use the word [grabs] advisedly.”
Schlesinger told RadioTimes.com afterwards: “Jeremy Clarkson is mentioned and the extraordinary thing is that Jon Morton wrote this months ago. But with satire you can get taken over by real events.”
But could the actual Clarkson crisis be somehow shoehorned into the comedy? “You’ll have to wait and see,” smiled Schlesinger.
As RadioTimes.com revealed this week, W1A will be returning at the end of April. And there will be more familiar faces popping up.
The One Show duo Alex Jones and Matt Baker specifically asked to appear in it, RadioTimes.com has been told, and will be shown in at least one scene.
There is also a chance that BBC creative head Alan Yentob will return after his memorable cameo in series one, in which he arm-wrestled Salman Rushdie. And sources reveal that a scene has been shot right outside the office of director-general Tony Hall.
No doubt a place where Mr Clarkson’s name has been discussed once or twice in the last few days…