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James May

Clarkson doubles Top Gear income

The Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson doubled his pay to more than £2m through his work with the BBC last year, accounts have shown.

Kia to supply Top Gear with Reasonably Priced cee'd

Kia has made it on to Top Gear. The Korean company has provided three examples of its Golf-sized cee'd to the BBC 2 show, where it has replaced the Chevrolet Lacetti as the "Reasonably Priced Car" in which star interviewees attempt to set a fast lap time on the TG track.

Diary: Too many miles on the clock

On Sunday, BBC2 aired the Top Gear Botswana special for the 15th time. Unwittingly, I found myself watching it again. If you haven't seen it (which would involve you not owning a television) it's the one where James May does not get eaten by lions, despite Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson, secreting raw meat inside his Mercedes as they drive across the southern African nation. Hammond also does not drown in the Okavango when his Opel Kadett sinks. And Clarkson crashes his Lancia, but not fatally. According to the BBC website, this single episode of Top Gear has been repeated, on average, once every 2.2 months since its original broadcast in November 2007 (and that's not even counting the myriad times it's been re-run on Dave and Dave Ja Vu). Statistically speaking, you are almost as likely to find the Top Gear Botswana special when you turn on the television as you are the news. For my licence fee, I'd expect something a little more original during prime-time.

The Big Question: Why is there such concern over the BBC's commercial

Because the the sight of Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May – the presenters of Top Gear – storming across Tower Bridge in an armoured personnel carrier to promote the fact that they are taking the programme's live show on a £20m world tour has reduced to a state of apoplexy those who believe the BBC has become obsessed with global domination to the detriment of the licence fee payer. The tour will visit cities such as Johannesburg, Sydney, Auckland and Hong Kong, with Top Gear fans paying up to £105 for a ticket and the chance to take part in Clarkson's famous lap challenge.

Pay us the same as Clarkson – or we quit!

Between them, they have shrugged off criticism for ramming a 300-year-old chestnut tree, sipping gin and tonics at the wheel of a car and dashing to the North Pole in a gas-guzzling 4x4.

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