Suspended Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson is due to be a guest presenter on long running satirical panel show Have I Got News for You in April, according to the series’ boss.
Jimmy Mulville, the head of independent producers Hat Trick, revealed that he is due to meet the BBC to work out whether Clarkson’s suspension from Top Gear precludes him from fronting the show alongside team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton.
“As far as I’m concerned he is hosting Have I Got News for You, the BBC has not told me what to do yet and it will be an interesting conversation,” said Mulville at a Broadcasting Press Guild breakfast today [Tuesday]. “He is due to present the third episode which I think is in early May.”
He joked: “Maybe we will get the producer on so he can hit Jeremy Clarkson live on television.”
Mulville declined to be drawn on what he thought of Clarkson’s suspension over an alleged “fracas” with a Top Gear producer but said “I think he is a fantastic broadcaster and I would concentrate on that.”
Speaking to RadioTimes.com afterwards, Mulville said that a Clarkson appearance on the show would make ”great television” but added: “I don’t think the BBC know that he is due to be on. It would be great. Have I Got News for You tries to have a bit of mischief so we will see if he can come on.”
RadioTimes.com asked the BBC for a comment but had not received a response at the time of publication.
According to Mulville, Clarkson is due to present the third instalment of the new series, which RadioTimes.com understands is expected to begin on 10th April. That would mean that the scheduled Clarkson episode will air on 24th April.
This was confirmed by Hat Trick which gave RadioTimes.com the following statement: “We always ask Jeremy Clarkson to host. He’s very good at it. He’s down to host show three of the next series.”
However, if the show goes ahead it will not be the first time Clarkson has presented Have I Got News For You.
Hislop claimed last week that he was left with a cut on his face after Clarkson threw a pen at him during a recording of the show in 2008. “We had to stop recording,” said the Private Eye editor. “He refused to believe it was blood. He said it was red biro and then apologised to me afterwards.”
Mulville was speaking to journalists to explain in greater detail his proposed bid to buy BBC3.
The Hat Trick boss has joined forces with Jon Thoday, the managing director of talent agency and producers Avalon, to bid for the channel. Thoday was also present at today’s breakfast.
The duo disclosed for the first time that they hoped the BBC Trust would reject BBC3’s proposed move online and said they would be prepared to run it as an advertising-funded public service channel along the lines of the model currently operated by Channel 4.
They said that a move online of BBC would be disastrous for the BBC and for young viewers and would result in a BBC that was “more middle aged, more middle-class and more white”.
Hat Trick is the award-winning producer of leading shows such as Have I Got News For You for BBC1 and Some Girls for BBC3. Avalon’s Television division makes shows such as Channel 4 comedy Man Down and Russell Howard’s Good News, which moved from BBC3 to BBC2 last year.
Avalon also operates a talent management division with key names such as Chris Addison, David Baddiel and Rob Delaney on its books.