Top Gear live to go ahead: Jeremy Clarkson to join Richard Hammond and James May... just don't call it Top Gear

The new format, stripped of all BBC content, is not expected to use any clips from the show or feature The Stig

Kunal Dutta
Wednesday 01 April 2015 09:30
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Richard Hammond and James May are unlikely to return to host Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson
Richard Hammond and James May are unlikely to return to host Top Gear without Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will appear on stage later this year in a new live format stripped of all BBC branding and content.

The show, rather than called “Top Gear Live” will be billed as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live. It is not expected to use any clips from the show or feature The Stig.

Mr May and Mr Hammond, whose television contracts expired with the BBC, have separate contracts with BBC Worldwide to host the live events. Those contracts run until September with live shows already booked in regions as far as Australia and South Africa.

Some of the dates have already had to be rescheduled and tour organisers believe it may not even make a profit by the time those costs are taken into account. Nonetheless it solves what was a prevailing problem for BBC Worldwide after the sacking of Mr Clarkson earlier this month. All three were scheduled to appear at a Top Gear live event in Sydney scheduled for April 18.

A spokesman said: "So as not to disappoint the thousands of people around the world who have already purchased tickets, BBC Worldwide has agreed with our joint venture partner Brand Events that the remainder of the tour can continue. These events will not however feature any BBC Top Gear branding or content. We believe this is a sensible approach in the circumstances."

Meanwhile Top Gear producer Andy Wilman yesterday denied suggestions that he has quit the show in the wake of Mr Clarkson's sacking. An email he sent to staff on the show congratulating them on making “one of the most iconic programmes in TV history" was published earlier this week and widely reported as a resignation statement. But a spokesman on the show said the note “was bringing down the curtain on the Clarkson era, not announcing his own departure”.

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