A friend of journalist and "Top Gear" host Jeremy Clarkson claimed that the controversial star called management at the British Broadcasting Corp. to apologize about the "fracas" that led to his suspension and temporarily halted production of the internationally popular show. The inquiry surrounding that incident is scheduled to start on Monday.
According to Gareth Vipers of the London Evening Standard, Critic AA Gill, who claimed to be a "mate" of Clarkson, condemned the BBC's investigation into the matter as "preposterous and ponderous." In his article for the Sunday Times (paywall), Gill described his understanding of the situation between 54-year-old Clarkson and 36-year-old producer Oisin Tymon.
"Jeremy reported the incident," Gill wrote. "It was over the absence of hot food at the end of a long and frustrating day with the prospect of another early start in the morning."
Gill reported that Tymon did not file a formal complaint with the BBC. However, he noted that Clarkson did call one of the top executives at the BBC.
"Jeremy called Danny Cohen, the director of BBC television, directly and explained he had lost his rag," Gill wrote. "Sources close to Top Gear say the reasons were that he wanted to apologize and make an amend, not least for the sake of the hundreds of people standing by to carry on with the rest of the show."
In his defense of Clarkson, Gill contended that "no good intention goes unquestioned" at the BBC.
"People work long hours with a great deal of stress, and small things - almost invariably food - are tetchy trip-wires," Gill wrote. "Whatever did happen, in mitigation to Jeremy, nobody works harder or under more stress than he."
According to Victoria Ward of The Telegraph, both Clarkson and Tymon are expected to present their own versions of the incident as early as Monday to Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, who will investigate the matter. She speculated that both sides could "thrash out their differences" with MacQuarrie.
"The BBC's position is the one we set out in a statement last week," a BBC spokesman said to The Telegraph. "We have an investigation led by Ken MacQuarrie to establish the facts and people should wait for the outcome of that."
Clarkson made some references to the "fracas" incident in columns he wrote for the Sunday Times (paywall) and The Sun (paywall) over the weekend. He elaborated in the Sunday Times on what he was up to while under suspension by the BBC and thought "it would be a good idea to take up some kind of hobby."
"I turned over to the news and it was all about a not very interesting fat man who had been suspended from his not very important job," Clarkson wrote in the Sunday Times. "But watching the fat man made me hungry and that's when the penny dropped: I'd take up cooking."
Clarkson elaborated on how he tried to create his favorite food at home, a Vietnamese noodle soup dish called pho. However, after much trial and error, he concluded that he was quite rubbish with cooking food after attempting to make it at home.
"So my new hobby is called 'going out to restaurants and letting people who know what they're doing cook my food,'" Clarkson wrote.
In his column for The Sun, Clarkson made cryptic remarks about the incident by referring to dinosaurs. However, it remains unclear whether the "dinosaurs" remark referred to either himself or the iconic British broadcaster.
"One day all the dinosaurs died - and now, many years later, no one mourns their passing," Clarkson wrote. "These big, imposing creatures have no place in a world that has moved on."
The motoring journalist then expressed gratitude for the support people have given to him in the aftermath of the incident.
"I can assure you that things are bad," Clarkson wrote. "But they are not that bloody bad."
According to Vipers, pending a decision on whether to proceed or not, Clarkson is scheduled to appear with fellow "Top Gear" hosts James May and Richard Hammond at four live shows in Norway on March 27 and 28. In addition, Vipers speculated that Clarkson's fate at the BBC may not be decided for weeks, although that decision may not matter in the end.
"All three men's contracts expire three days after the Norway gigs, which could render any disciplinary hearings redundant," Vipers wrote.