Jeremy Clarkson's lawyers confident he can get around BBC contract ban on doing Top Gear-style show for ITV

He has reportedly found a loophole in "non-compete" clause in BBC contract

Matilda Battersby
Tuesday 14 July 2015 15:14
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the final Top Gear with its former line-up
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May in the final Top Gear with its former line-up

The spanner thrown in the works of Jeremy Clarkson’s plans to take a Top Gear-style show to ITV could be successfully removed after lawyers for the petrolhead presenter claimed to have found a way out of attempts by the BBC to stop him working for competitors until 2017.

It is understood that a clause in Clarkson’s BBC contract stops him and his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond from working for a rival terrestrial British broadcaster for at least the next two years.

However, Clarkson is reportedly trying to get around the contractual ban by making a new show in America – and then selling the programme to other broadcasters worldwide including ITV.

The Sunday Mirror today reported that despite the “non-compete” clauses in the ex-Top Gear trio’s contracts their lawyers are confident that a new motoring show made outside Britain could be broadcast in the UK on a streaming service such as Netflix and sold to British terrestrial channels.

“Jeremy believes they'll successfully get around the issues despite the BBC making desperate attempts to stop him,” a source told the paper.

Clarkson left the hugely successful Top Gear programme in disgrace following an investigation into a “fracas” between him and his BBC producer Oisin Tymon whom Clarkson punched in the face during a row over a lack of hot food after a day of filming.

Chris Evans was recently unveiled as his replacement on Top Gear after months of speculation and a petition to reinstate Clarkson was signed by more than a million people.

The programme will return to the BBC next year and Evans’ two new co-presenters have yet to be confirmed.

Last month, Clarkson admitted he has been in talks with US producers, saying he has given up drinking in the evening to help him negotiate better with “Californians”.

“Californians have a habit of ringing at 11pm and I couldn’t think as straight as they do with their leaves and mineral water existence if I was halfway through my third bottle of Léoube,” he wrote in his Sunday Times column.

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