Jeremy Clarkson clearly fancies himself as a bit of a heavyweight posh ruffian, not afraid to use his fists if the occasion merits. A BBC producer, even my friend Piers Morgan, have felt the force of his flying fists.
But the moment I saw that my one-time late night drinking pal Ken McQuarrie, the witch finder general and BBC Scotland Controller, had been put in charge of the inquiry, Clarkson was out for the count.
Safe pair of hands? McQuarrie is the quiet assassin. He was never marked for greatness but has achieved immense power and standing in the BBC. They rolled him out over the Savile/Newsnight debacle. His interim report on Clarkson nailed the presenter on the accusation of violent conduct. It is a classic of HR correctness. From that moment on Clarkson was a dead presenter walking.
The days of “creative brawling” in the media are long gone. A sports sub on one of the nationals I worked on kept a brick in his bottom draw. Just in case. Another Editor consorted with prostitutes and would regularly drunkenly snooze through his own evening conference. Fine while the figures were heading north. These days the talent had better conform. Just ask Chris Evans.
Clarkson is one of those rare presenters who could host Jackanory and pop up later on election special. He hasn’t lost his SUN column or The Sunday Times. He will walk into a brand new series next year in a new wholly owned private venture. He will make even more money than before.
The only thing that will stop cigarette-devouring Jeremy is the mother of all heart attacks. Doubtless Ken MacQuarrie will have seen that coming as well.
Steve Sampson – Media ■ Innovator ■ Journalist ■ Broadcaster ■ Venturist ■ Founder and CEO Various Digital Companies