Jeremy Clarkson Should Never Have Been Sacked, Says Former BBC Boss

"Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend"

It was one of most polarising cultural debates in recent British memory: Clarkson, should he stay or should he go?

Most people found it a bit out of order that the face of Top Gear assaulted a co-worker over a steak and chips that never materialised, but - according to his former BBC boss - letting him go was a mistake.

"Clarkson can be a deeply objectionable individual, and I say that as a friend," Mark Thompson - former BBC Director-General - told The Sunday Times.  "I don't think people should punch their colleagues. It's hard to keep them if they do. But I would say his pungent, transgressive, slightly out-of-control talent was something the BBC could ill afford to lose.

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"He spoke to people who didn't find much else in the BBC. The fact no-one could ever quite believe the BBC allowed Top Gear to go out was a precious thing to hang on to. As a fan, I regret its passing."

Clarkson was, as you know, then replaced by the unequivocally unpopular Chris Evans, a move which caused the iconic series to erupt into a flaming wreck of weak gags and tepid challenges. 

Thompson also discussed other times he had to deal with Clarkson's transgressions: "Clarkson phoned up out of the blue when I was on a day off. His first words were, 'I won't apologise, I don't care what you say, I won't'.

"I said, 'Er, why would I want you to apologise?' He told me that he'd just called Gordon Brown, who was then prime minister, a 'one-eyed Scottish idiot' and a 'c**t'. We agreed that he would apologise for calling him 'one-eyed'."

But while the BBC are scrambling to salvage the show, Clarkson is living it up over at Amazon Prime, with his new series The Grand Tour set to arrive soon. 

What do you think?

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