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Jeremy Clarkson worked for the BBC as the frontman of the original rendition of Top Gear from 1988-1999, before returning to present the new format alongside James May, 60, and Richard Hammond, 53, from 2002 to 2015. The broadcaster’s decision to suspend Gary Lineker, 62, from Match of the Day last weekend, for criticising the Conservative government’s new asylum policy, has sparked a big debate about “a Tory BBC” amongst the public.
Weighing in on the concerns, Jeremy has insisted “everyone I met there in 25 years was flaming red”, and that “the mob is wrong”.
As evidence, Jeremy recalled his own telling off from the BBC over having a poster of Margaret Thatcher in his office.
However, he then claims that after he replaced his controversial wall art with a poster of Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton, it angered BBC bosses even more.
Jeremy wrote in his latest Sunday Times column regarding the BBC’s strict impartiality rules: “I know someone who was told to take down his Union Jack because it was ‘offensive’, and I was asked to remove my poster of Mrs Thatcher because it was upsetting people who walked past.
“I did, and replaced it with a picture of Kate and Wills, which somehow made them even angrier.”
The star similarly claimed: “While I was waiting to go on The One Show, a producer said that I had to agree with the public sector strikes that were happening that day or it would be ‘awkward’.”
Jeremy went on to assess whether he thinks the broadcaster has changed since he was a part of it.
He added: “Yes, at this precise moment of history it’s possible that the two people at the top of the BBC might at some point in their past have voted Conservative, but what about everyone else?
“All the other 22,000 people involved in running this broadcasting giant?”
“Well, I worked at the BBC for more than 25 years, and I can tell you that almost everyone I met was redder than the end of a dog’s lipstick,” Jeremy revealed.
The Clarkson’s Farm star then argued there is “not a chance” the BBC would allow him to present Top Gear in the way he used nowadays.
He pointed out that even comedy is “too risky for the BBC these days”, as being the target of a joke could potentially upset someone.
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Jeremy also claimed BBC staff fear social media backlash, so they go out of their way “to be even more left wing”.
The presenter’s comments come just one week after Leicester City legend Lineker sparked an impartiality disagreement with his employer.
The football pundit was taken off air after sharing a tweet comparing the language used to promote the government’s asylum seeker policy with rhetoric used in 1930s Germany.
Gary was later reinstated, as the BBC issued an apology and shared a plan to review its social media guidelines.
Lineker “will abide by the editorial guidelines” until a review of the BBC’s social media policy is complete, BBC director-general Tim Davie said.
“Everyone recognises this has been a difficult period for staff, contributors, presenters and, most importantly, our audiences,” Davie added.
“I apologise for this. The potential confusion caused by the grey areas of the BBC’s social media guidance that was introduced in 2020 is recognised.
“I want to get matters resolved and our sports content back on air.”
The broadcaster’s social media guidelines are meant to be followed by BBC staff and presenters who work in news and politics, not those in other areas, such as sports.
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