The Director-General of the BBC, Mark Thompson, has denied newspaper reports that Jeremy Clarkson, the BBC’s highly-paid right-wing wrecking ball, has submitted a transfer request following corporation's response to his controversial appearance on Tuesday night’s “The One Show.”
Known for his aggressive and uncompromising style, Mr. Clarkson proved troublesome before and during the show. Prior to appearing on the sofa, Mr Clarkson refused to warm up and then once in play, provoked outcry by committing a series of potentially career-ending tackles before microphones recorded him complaining that those protesting should be shot in front of their families. Mr. Clarkson escaped a red card but was quickly substituted and the BBC was forced to apologise.
Mr. Clarkson, who is currently in China on international duty, denied refusing to warm up and explained it was a misunderstanding between himself and Matt Baker, “for whom English is not the first language.”
However, he was eventually forced into a humiliating apology for his actions in the studio, but blamed “the heat of the moment in a difficult midweek game” and refused to accept full responsibility after it was alleged and then confirmed that his tactics had been given the green light by the management. According to the paper, Clarkson was so angered by the BBC’s failure to fully condone his actions that he failed to show up for training and submitted a formal request to transfer to another team, most likely ITV.
Mr Thompson said that the rumours are “spurious and damaging” and also denied that ITV player-manager Michael Grade has made a formal approach for the once indispensable offensive player.
However, some commentators believe that a move is inevitable and possibly best for both sides. Speaking on “Something for the weekend,” former light-entertainment stalwart Vernon Kay said “It looks like he might have lost a bit of sharpness but he will never lose his entertainment brain. It’s the right time for him to take a backward step. At ITV there are many quality offensive players and he could be really effective behind Jezza and Rossy.”
Furthermore, BBC insiders suspect that the corporation may look favourably upon selling one of its highest earners before he is completely spent, rather than losing him for free under the Bosman ruling.
However, collegues at the BBC have expressed concern at any proposed move. Speaking at the launch of his new DVD, Richard Hammond spoke of the detrimental effect the transfer might have: “Every good team needs balance. It is no use having a cultured left side if you don’t have a hard right side to stick in there too.” Hammond also denied that he may be involved in a potential 1 and a half for 1 exchange deal to bring Jonathon Ross back to the BBC.