The BBC would be stupid to axe controversial Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson, writes Karl Puschmann.

If you think the Beeb's latest attempt to rein in the offensive force that is Jeremy Clarkson will have any effect whatsoever then you, my friend, are a chump.

Sorry, but it had to be said. Top Gear is one of the BBC's highest rating shows and Clarkson one of its biggest stars. It may be a public broadcaster but it is not going to slaughter its fattest cash cow because he upsets a few sensitive souls with almost calculated regularity or because he threw a behind-the-scenes wobbly at a producer.

The show and its star aren't just big in ol' Blighty. They're a legit global phenomenon. Wildly popular wherever there are men with a television and a car. Even way out here, in the far reaches of the colonies, I'm writing about this latest in a long line of wrist slaps and you're reading about it.

This all means one thing: cash money. In this day and age no media company is going to willingly roast a golden goose and walk away from the fat stacks it provides.
Offense is the new green. You need people talking, videos going viral, Facebook shares and rigorous Twitter debate to succeed.


You get none of those things from a boringly nice, politically correct, bland, cardboard telly host who has been neutered of any and all controversial opinion. No. You get them from pissing people off while simultaneously making other people laugh. Clarkson does both these things effortlessly, flawlessly. In fact, he makes it look easy.

This is the exact same reason why our local Clarkson knock-off Paul Henry continues to rise from every deep grave his big mouth buries him in.

Nice is all well and good but it ain't entertaining. And no matter what you think of him Clarkson's anti-offense offensive and cartoonish blokey-bloke schtick can be very entertaining.

Still, a lot of people can't stand him. Fair enough. He's loud, boorish, unashamedly exemplifies the worst aspects of blokedom and tops it all off by championing unpopular viewpoints like denying climate change and the musical merits of 70s prog rock.

But he's also incredibly funny. And I'll take that over pleasant and nice every time.
Let's face it, Clarkson could survive without Top Gear, but Top Gear could not survive without Clarkson.

This is evidenced by the fact that the Beeb have yanked the whole damn show off the air this week. They didn't need to. In the wings were long time co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May, both funny, personable and extremely capable.

The one thing they are both not, however, is Clarkson. And that's the problem. Not just for Top Gear but for the BBC itself.

Clarkson's red card is supposed to demonstrate just how serious they are about his continued offense and gleeful provocation. It's supposed to scare him into reining in all the qualities that have made him and his show such a global success.


It's a fail. As long as Top Gear is number one the dude can pretty much get away with whatever he wants. All this suspension demonstrates is exactly how invaluable and irreplaceable he actually is.

Right now I have no doubt he's enjoying his week off and giving this punishment all the thought and reflection that it deserves.

Which is to say, none at all.

Read more: Jeremy Clarkson suspended after 'fracas' - will Top Gear ever return?
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