Top Gear: BBC2 slot sheds 4m viewers as episode pulled after Clarkson's suspension

The popular show was replaced by a repeat of an RAF documentary

Daisy Wyatt
Monday 16 March 2015 16:21 GMT
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special (BBC)

The BBC’s decision to cancel the three remaining episodes of the current Top Gear series has cost the broadcaster nearly 4m viewers.

Top Gear’s usual 8pm slot on BBC2 was replaced last night with a repeat of a Royal Air Force documentary, Red Arrows: Inside the Bubble, following Jeremy Clarkson's suspension by the BBC.

Red Arrows drew 1.3m viewers, in comparison to last week's Top Gear, which was watched by 5.1m people.

The Top Gear episode that was scheduled to air was due to feature Gary Lineker racing in a “reasonably priced car”.

Freeview channel Dave made the most of the BBC's decision, choosing to air an old Top Gear India special at 8pm.

The BBC has yet to decide whether to reinstate Jeremy Clarkson as the show’s lead presenter after he was dismissed following a ‘fracas’ with a producer on set last week.

It emerged that Clarkson rang BBC director of television Danny Cohen to report the incident after allegedly punching producer Oisin Tymon.

An internal BBC investigation into the incident has begun.

In his column in The Sun newspaper on Saturday, Clarkson hinted that he may be close to quitting, calling himself a “dinosaur”.

“These big imposing creatures have no place in a world which has moved on,” he said.

This Sunday, Top Gear will be replaced by the first of a three-part travel series, Caribbean with Simon Reeve.

Louis Theroux’s latest documentary series for BBC2, By Reason of Insanity, is also expected to be brought forward following Clarkson’s suspension.

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