Top Gear: What future without Clarkson?

Following the ‘fracas’ and the firing, reality sets in at the BBC as to whether jettisoning Clarkson means losing May and Hammond too.

Top Gear: What future without Clarkson?
Jeremy Clarkson, at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show
Jeremy Clarkson and James May
Australian runner Michelle Jenneke races Jeremy Clarkson
Top Gear's James May and Richard Hammond with Adrian Sutil
Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear TV Presenter at the Amber Lounge Fashion Show
Top Gear's James May and Richard Hammond

The BBC’s decision to ‘drop’ Jeremy Clarkson from its flagship automotive show Top Gear was a simple one. After all, one cannot simply go about the workplace giving people a fat lip (unless it's Piers Morgan) over a lack of steak and chips.

While Clarkson will no doubt bounce back elsewhere, the big question for petrolheads is what next for Top Gear? And with a business head on, this show has become a franchise phenomenon with BBC Worldwide clearing a cool $75million a year from it.

With Clarkson gone, will James May and Richard Hammond stay? Like Jezza, their contracts expire at the end of this month – but unlike him, theirs can be renewed.

Perhaps more importantly, the man who made Top Gear such a success along with Clarkson is executive producer Andy Wilman – himself a former presenter. They even went to school together, and where his loyalties now lie will be key.

"The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016,” said Lord Hall, the BBC Director-General. “This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise.

“I have asked Kim Shillinglaw (BBC2 controller) to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months. I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.”

When asked if he would stay, May said: "Well I don't want to talk about that too much. But I think we're very much, the three of us as a package, it works for very complicated reasons that a lot of people don't fully understand, so that will require a lot of careful thought."

Meanwhile, Hammond tweeted: “Gutted at such a sad end to an era.”

It’s a show with a massive following, but all good things come to an end. And after 22 series, Top Gear has had more than a run for its money.

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