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Jeremy Clarkson’s half-hearted apology to Gordon Brown

Although Jeremy Clarkson had to leave the Beeb last year following a ‘fracas’ with a producer over a cold meat platter, in his time there he had already developed a reputation for getting himself into tight scrapes. In one such incident, the former Top Gear presenter caused a furore after he called the then prime minister Gordon Brown a ‘one-eyed Scottish idiot’ — among other things — at a press conference in Australia.

Recalling the fallout at the time, Mark Thompson, then BBC director-general, says he received a call from Clarkson before he even heard about the row. ‘Jeremy Clarkson phoned up out of the blue when I was on a day off,’ the former BBC director-general tells the Sunday Times. ‘His first words were, “I won’t apologise. I don’t care what you say, I won’t.”

Clarkson then explained the range of insults he had used — including calling the prime minister a ‘c—‘:

‘He told me that he’d just called Gordon Brown, who was then prime minister, ‘a one-eyed Scottish idiot’ and a ‘c—‘.

Happily the pair did manage to come to an arrangement in the end; ‘We agreed that he would apologise for calling him “one-eyed”.’

Despite the incident, Thompson says that the Beeb made a mistake giving Clarkson the axe. With Top Gear‘s presenter chair empty once more — after Chris Evans resigned — perhaps it’s time Auntie gave Clarkson a call?

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Steerpike
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Steerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk or message @MrSteerpike

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