Jeremy clarkson

Why did C.J. Sansom approve this moronic Disney+ Shardlake adaptation?

What would C.J. Sansom have made of the Disney+ version of his novel series about 16th-century crookback lawyer Matthew Shardlake? Sadly, because he died just a few days before its release, we’ll probably never hear the full story. But this comment from the show’s producer offers a hefty clue: ‘Chris [Sansom] has been enormously generous and he wants more people to read the books, and this is such a good way.’ Sounds very much like Sansom accepted this atrocity of an adaptation as a necessary evil: his books had been stuck in development hell for nearly two decades (possibly, because his labyrinthine whodunits about monastic reform and court politics in

What Jeremy Clarkson has in common with Beatrix Potter

Not since the pursuit of Peter Rabbit around Mr McGregor’s garden has rural drama been writ so large. From behind the wheel of his Lamborghini tractor, Jeremy Clarkson’s face crumples as the nine-ton machine rolls back over a field mouse – only to erupt into joy as the mouse emerges unscathed from beneath the wheel. A decade ago, the Top Gear host was fending off outrage after sharing on Twitter an image of a rodent squashed by the show’s film crew. Today, the petrolhead is a man transformed, his compassion for nature and enthusiasm for rural life lighting up our screens in Clarkson’s Farm, the Amazon Prime series documenting his attempts to run

The problem with Jeremys

Why is Jeremy Clarkson in trouble so often? Is it because he often appears arrogant, entitled or untouchable? Or is it for a much simpler reason: he’s called Jeremy? This week, in a column for the Sun, he suggested a rather unsavoury Game of Thrones-style punishment for the Duchess of Sussex. The article prompted 20,000 complaints to Ipso – more than the press regulator received in the whole of last year – and led to 64 MPs signing a letter of complaint to the paper’s editor. Clarkson has made a grudging non-apology and persuaded the paper to remove the article from its website, but unsurprisingly this is unlikely to satisfy the lynch mob

Rupert Murdoch has nothing to fear from me

Harvard man Russell Seitz has sent me an extraordinary present as an object lesson in ‘what a magazine should be in case you start another one’. The paper has yellowed and is dog-eared, pages are falling out and the print is faint. But the Transatlantic Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, dated January 1924, is a joy to behold. Mind you, we were already almost 100 years old when Ford Madox Ford first edited TTR in Paris. And that’s what I told my friend Russell. Anyone who writes for or reads The Spectator is not likely to be impressed by other publications, but this does not include a posturing peacock from

Jeremy Clarkson should be the next host of University Challenge

The bad news of the week is that Jeremy Paxman is retiring from University Challenge. The worse is that most of those lined up to succeed him are nothing like as good. University Challenge is a quiz show that JP has very much made his own: the curled lip, the incredulity at culpable ignorance, the reluctant admiration when a team really does know its stuff… it’s all part of the Paxman persona. At least on air it is: I do know one acquaintance of his who declares that for Jeremy Paxman to sparkle in private life, he really needs a camera permanently trained on him, to give the illusion that

The CV trick that guarantees you an interview

Sometimes the opposite of a good idea is, as Niels Bohr said, another good idea. But the converse is also true. The opposite of a bad idea can easily be an even worse idea. Something like this seems to have happened with the expansion of British higher education. When I left university in 1988, if you wanted a reasonable first job, a degree from a Russell Group university was probably sufficient but not necessary. Now it seems to be necessary but not sufficient. The result is that a large number of perfectly capable but non-academic people are excluded from having a stab at many jobs, where for all we know

First-rate TV: Clarkson’s Farm on Amazon Prime reviewed

I was at a party the other day when who should accost me but Jeremy Clarkson. There were lots more famous and interesting people in the room, including the surviving half of Wham!. But Clarkson was itching to talk to me about, of all things, a review I’d written of a BBC reality series called This Is My House. He was genuinely mystified as to why I’d given such tosh a favourable critique. Having just watched his new series, Clarkson’s Farm, I now understand his puzzlement. Since late 2019, Clarkson has been playing at being a farmer on his 1,000-acre Oxfordshire estate. And when you’re a farmer — even a

Why I’ve lost respect for Jeremy Clarkson

If Jeremy Clarkson had lived through the Wars of the Roses he would have been neither a Yorkist nor a Lancastrian. He would have lurked in his castle, reassuring each side of his unswerving loyalty, till the moment came when Richard III lost his crown. At this point Clarkson would make his position absolutely clear: he’d been a diehard Lancastrian all along. How do I know this? Because I’ve just seen ‘Seamen’ (The Grand Tour) in which Clarkson reveals himself as an ardent believer in climate change. He mentions it about half a dozen times in one episode – almost to the point where you wonder if he isn’t taking

The turf | 4 January 2018

Jeremy Clarkson wrote recently about a day at Newbury. He declared: ‘Claiming that horses are different is like saying ants have recognisable faces. They’re all just milk bottles. Identical.’ He went on to insist that ‘in horse racing there never is any action. It’s just meat running about.’ Pausing only to note that he was ‘taken into the paddock so people could take my picture’, Clarkson added that at summertime racing events such as Royal Ascot or the Melbourne Cup ‘women decide that in order to watch a horse running along they must not wear knickers and should fall over in the paddock every five minutes’. For the Great Ego

Bridge | 4 January 2018

Well, I had a very merry Christmas thank you — and I hope you did too — but as usual I have torn myself away from the festivities, rushing back to play the EBU’s Year End teams’ tournament. I don’t know why I enjoy this tournament so much — it’s certainly not the very unglam venue. Perhaps it’s because it’s fun and buzzing and everyone seems in a good mood to have got through another Christmas intact. It’s the perfect way to ease yourself into the New Year.   My (bridge) resolution is the same as it was last year — take longer before playing to trick one.   In

More matter with less art

When A.A. Gill died last December, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth across the nation. I must admit this came as a surprise to me, but then I hadn’t read him for many years, having developed a ferocious dislike for the Sunday Times too long ago now to remember quite why. My memories of him were of an outrageous show pony, a wordsmith of great talent but surprisingly little taste, who essentially wrote about himself and his wonderful life (in the guise of restaurant and television reviews) in a needy, look-at-me, sub-Clarkson kind of way. He seemed to me to encapsulate everything that was wrong with the paper he

On the road | 1 December 2016

‘We’re going to get lots of negative attention from environmentalists,’ he cackled, great puffs of blue-grey smoke emerging from the exhaust of his two-stroke car. Will Self was crossing Tower Bridge in a Trabant, that most potent symbol of the East German socialist state, bending almost double to fit himself round the steering wheel (he’s six foot five inches in his socks) and cursing the lack of wing mirrors. Things could only get worse as he and his old friend Michael Shamash set off on their 700-mile trek across the Channel to Zwickau, in the former GDR, home of the Trabant car. Imagine trying to merge on to a German

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St James’s Palace. 1953. A dynamic Duke of Edinburgh is relishing a ding-dong with the antediluvian fossils of the Coronation Committee. He wants to embrace modernity by allowing the BBC to televise the ceremony. The ‘grey old men’ want to continue doing things in exactly the same way that they have been done since 1066. Modernity prevails and the coronation is the biggest television spectacular there has been. This episode, splendidly recreated with a little artistic licence in The Crown, Netflix’s epic about the Queen, was a tipping point in terms of the public’s acceptance of the medium of television. Many viewers acquired their first sets for the sole purpose

James Delingpole

Faulty ignition

Apart from the next Game of Thrones, there’s nothing I’ve been looking forward to quite as much as The Grand Tour (Amazon Prime). I like Clarkson, Hammond and May, I like banter, I like political incorrectness, I like exotic scenery, I like cars, I like puerile jokes and I liked Top Gear. Take the same ingredients but with a £4.5-million-per-show budget — more than four times what they had with the BBC — and you’d have to ask yourself: ‘What could possibly stop this from being the greatest TV show ever?’ Well, I hate to be a party pooper but it’s definitely not there yet. We had some friends staying

Jeremy Clarkson takes one last swipe at Danny Cohen

Although Jeremy Clarkson has now moved to Amazon Prime to host a new car show, it appears that the BBC is never far from the former Top Gear host’s mind. In an interview with the Sunday Times over the weekend, Clarkson couldn’t resist revisiting his ongoing feud with Danny Cohen, the former director of television at the BBC. With Cohen — a darling of the liberal elite — thought to be instrumental in his sacking, it comes as little surprise that Clarkson is boosted by the news that Cohen, too, has now departed the Beeb. Speaking of the former director of television’s exit, Clarkson says it was ‘inevitable’. ‘Of course he’s

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

The delivery drones are coming – and will be a complete nuisance

You can’t watch the video promoting the new Amazon drone delivery service without checking the date for signs of 1 April. While superficially absurd, there is something distinctly unsettling about this short film. It’s as though someone has made a satirical treatment of our consumer age, a reshaping of Chaplin’s Modern Times. The Charlie in this video is Jeremy Clarkson. He describes the process of the drone delivery service, as a parcel is prepared in an Amazon warehouse located at their research base ‘somewhere outside Cambridge’. ‘A miracle of modern technology is despatched,’ he tells us, as the warehouse roof opens like the top of a volcano in a Bond film. ‘It is an Amazon drone

Arrested development

Sometimes I wonder whether, of all the literary genres, graphic novels aren’t the most stupidly overrated. I can say this because I’m old enough to remember when they were just this obscure thing you had to seek out in specialist stores like Forbidden Planet, understood only by pale, nerdy teens and twenty-somethings who felt superior to, but unappreciated by, the real world outside. Then Watchmen came along and spoiled the party in much the same way Britpop ruined indie. Suddenly, graphic novels became everyone’s domain. See how the Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta (Alan Moore was the author; David Lloyd the illustrator) has become almost as recognisable a

Finally: proof that the ‘Clarkson’ persona was all just an act

To the extent I have ever thought about him, I have always viewed Jeremy Clarkson as a slight irritant. This is largely because he personifies what a type of lazy leftist believes right-wingers to be like (uninterested in culture, cultivatedly thick, casually racist). But this weekend we learnt what some of us had long-suspected: that rather than being a scourge of our dishonest, molly-coddled, excuse-ridden culture, Clarkson may be one of its happiest and most comfortable creatures. Saturday’s Times carried a long interview with him. It is worth reading not because of Clarkson, but because of what it says about our culture. Because if you fell for the idea of Clarkson

The Lord’s Prayer is no more offensive than Jeremy Clarkson or deodorant

There was a time not so very long ago when the most common complaint about Christmas was that it had become too commercial and that its Christian significance was being forgotten. Since then the decline in religious belief in Britain has grown so much that the secularity of Christmas is taken for granted. It is effectively a pagan festival now. According to the Church of England, only about one million people, or around two per cent of the population, still attend church on Sundays (though about twice that number do so on Christmas Day). The Church is in a bad way, and it is only natural that it should seek,