Jeremy Clarkson hints at Top Gear return with Richard Hammond and James May outside of BBC at charity auction

Clarkson made his first official appearance since being sacked by the BBC

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The Independent Online

Jeremy Clarkson made his first official public appearance since being sacked from Top Gear at an auction, where he hinted he and his former co-presenters could return somewhere outside of the BBC.

Clarkson was dropped as a Top Gear host after what the BBC described as an “unprovoked physical attack" on producer Oisin Tymon.

The 55-year-old hosted a charity auction on Friday evening at Chipping Norton Town Hall, where he thanked the audience for "coming to see an unemployed man". The event was held to raise money for the lido in Chipping Norton, The Telegraph reports.

Clarkson made a passing joke about being an auctioneer for the evening as he arrived, telling photographers gathered outside: “You've got to earn a living. Maybe I ought to take it up.”

Auctioning a Top Gear Kung Fu Stig T-shirt which was described as “signed by a former presenter”, he told the audience: "Now some of you know there used to be a programme called Top Gear. It was on the BBC.

"But we could be back somewhere else. Or maybe even not somewhere else, who knows?"

Speculation over the future for Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond within the motoring show grew when all three were removed from the masthead of the Top Gear website.

The trio will still present a live world tour next month, but it will be stripped of all BBC branding and hosted under the name Clarkson, Hammond and May Live.

The presenter didn't miss the irony of bids for his signed book, What (More) Could Possibly Go Wrong? faltering at the £50 mark, quipping: "That's how fast a man can devalue".

Bidding on Deerstalking, he told the audience : "I'm unemployed and I'm going to pay £250". He was outbid by Cornbury Park Estate at £350.

He also reportedly pointed out the one upside to being dropped by the BBC - being able to swear whenever he wants. "In the olden days when I used to work for BBC, I couldn't say s*** - but I am not, so I will say s***," he was quoted as saying by The Daily Mail

His appearance came after he pulled out of hosting Have I Got News For You, where he was expected to appear later this month. Clarkson has hosted the satirical show numerous times.

Jimmy Mulville, managing director of show producers Hat Trick Productions, said he fully expected Clarkson to resume his hosting duties later this year.