Jeremy Clarkson: Top Gear suspension set to cost BBC millions in payouts to foreign channels

The broadcaster is facing penalty payments after cancelling promised episodes

Jess Denham
Wednesday 11 March 2015 17:17
Jeremy Clarkson leaves his home in London following his suspension from Top Gear
Jeremy Clarkson leaves his home in London following his suspension from Top Gear

Jeremy Clarkson’s suspension from Top Gear is set to cost the BBC millions as foreign channels are left eligible for compensation.

The controversial TV presenter was involved in a “fracas” with a producer last week, reportedly over a dispute about catering.

Remaining episodes in the current series have been cancelled until further notice while Clarkson’s behaviour is investigated, meaning BBC Worldwide could be forced to pay out penalty payments.

The hit motoring show is broadcast to more than 200 countries and attracts a global audience of 350 million viewers. As such, the BBC’s commercial arm will have to renegotiate the original price for a full series.

BBC Worldwide is offering foreign broadcasters shows that have not previously aired in their markets in a bid to appease them, the Guardian reports.

“We are working on supplying international broadcast partners with alternative content,” a spokesperson said.

Other foreseeable problems involve the Top Gear Live event, which promises appearances from the hosts and is due to take place in Norway later this month, before heading to a range of other countries including Australia and South Africa.

More than 400,000 people have now signed an online petition to bring back Clarkson organised by blogger Guido Fawkes.

He had been on a final warning by Danny Cohen, BBC director of television, after a string of racism accusations sparked complaints.

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Last year alone, he apologised for using the racial slur “n*****” in an un-aired Top Gear segment, and almost sparked a riot in Argentina after he drove a Porsche with the number plate H982 FKL, which was regarded as a deliberate reference to the Falklands War of 1982.

Clarkson is thought to be “considering leaving the BBC” regardless of the outcome and will likely be met with multiple offers from rival broadcasters, including ITV and Sky.

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