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BBC slammed for incompetence over Clarkson fiasco
The BBC has been slammed as demonstrating "sheer incompetence" in its handling of Jeremy Clarkson's suspension as it emerged the Top Gear star turned himself in to bosses following the row which may have cost him his job.
The presenter is being threatened with the sack after an apparent "dust-up" with Oisin Tymon over being offered a "cold platter" instead of a steak at a luxury hotel in Yorkshire.
He is said to have "smacked" the producer in the face and was described by witnesses as 'ripping into' him in an expletive-ridden rant.
While the 54-year-old has not spoken publicly about the incident, friends have claimed he feels "intensely relaxed" about the situation after turning himself in to director Danny Cohen.
He will soon face a disciplinary panel where both his and Mr Tymon's account of the story will be heard.
The BBC has faced fierce criticism of its handling of the fiasco, with former presenter Noel Edmonds lambasting its "sheer incompetence".
Today it was claimed Clarkson, who declined to speak about the row outside his London home yesterday, approached bosses himself about the row.
It is not clear whether this was done at the behest of disgruntled Top Gear staff upset with his alleged treatment of Tymon or not, though the Daily Mirror reports the presenter was "acting in self interest.'"
"There's no way he'd be putting his hand up if he didn't think it was going to get out and become a big issue," a source told the newspaper.
rmer BBC star Noel Edmonds said today the corporation had "failed appallingly" to support "mercurial talent" Clarkson, and accused bosses of "punishing" loyal Top Gear viewers by pulling the last three episodes of this series.
But Mr Clarkson, who first approached BBC bosses himself a few days after the row, is said to feel confident he will be exonerated at a disciplinary panel.
He reportedly phoned Danny Cohen to report the incident himself despite their reportedly fraught relationship.
"It is staggering that Jeremy thought it was sensible to bring this to the attention of Danny Cohen who hates his guts," a source told the Sun.
The BBC earlier declined to comment on claims it had mishandled Clarkson's suspension.
More than 750,000 fans have signed an online petition demanding the presenter be reinstated, and Prime Minister David Cameron has waded into the row, saying he hoped it could be "sorted out" without the BBC sacking him.
Meanwhile the BBC's rivals would be eager to lure him.
ITV is in urgent need of a major new entertainment show to boost its flagging ratings, especially because it has lost the rights to air the Champions League Football tournament. Sky and Netflix have also been tipped as potential new homes for him.
Andy Wilman, Top Gear's executive producer and long-term friend of Clarkson was today in talks with ITV at its central London offices, a source told MailOnline.
While ITV has not confirmed whether the meeting took place an insider insisted it was not to do with the ongoing row.
Among the BBC's critics is Noel Edmonds who told the Guardian that the Corporation had completely mishandled the situation.
He said: "You have to laugh at the sheer incompetence of BBC management.
"The BBC have failed to manage one of the best talents on TV. That is pointing the finger at Danny Cohen (head of TV), Tony Hall (Director General). Whoever is in senior management has failed appallingly to give Clarkson the support that such a mercurial talent requires.
"Over the last 20 years of appalling BBC management, viewers have come second in the BBC agenda. In the recent era (there) has been inability to manage talent. Without talent, a very large part of is worthless."
He added the Corporation was "out of touch" and "out of control" and questioned whether bosses were equipped to deal with someone of Clarkson's repute.
The presenter is being threatened with the sack after an apparent "dust-up" with one of his producers, Oisin Tymon, over being offered only a "cold platter" for dinner at a luxury hotel.
According to a witness, Clarkson demanded a £21.95 sirloin steak from the restaurant menu after a long day of filming and became irate when he was told that the hotel's chef had gone home.
A family who were in the hotel bar when the Top Gear team arrived said they were shocked by the outburst.
Speaking to Sky News, Sue Ward, who was staying in the Yorkshire Dales hotel with her family, said: "(He said) that (the man) hadn't done his job properly, that it was ridiculous there was nothing to eat, and, obviously there were lots of expletives in between all this, but that he would be losing his job," said Sue Ward.
"(He said) that he would see to it that he would lose his job."
Denise Ward, who also witnessed the incident, added: "How can someone be so rude, the swearing and the length of time... this poor guy that he was ripping in to."
Last night Mr Clarkson was seen venting his frustration at Chelsea's Champions League match and is likely to be hauled before the BBC's disciplinary panel by the end of the week.
The BBC launched an investigation into the incident on Tuesday, five days after the 'fracas', and pulled the last three episodes of this series of Top Gear off air.
Stars including Gary Lineker, Keanu Reeves and Superman actor Henry Cavill were all due to film the 'Star in a reasonably priced car' segment in the coming weeks but have been told these have been "postponed indefinitely".
The BBC could face a huge bill from the foreign broadcasters it sells the show to for failing to deliver a full series.
st night sources at the BBC suggested that its director of TV, Danny Cohen, has seized on the incident as the reason he needs to oust the controversial figure.
Insiders have said that Mr Cohen, who will help decide Clarkson's fate, is "out to get" the star.
Director General Tony Hall has today refused to speculate on Jeremy Clarkson's future and said the BBC's internal investigation would "get the people who are impacted by this together".
He said: "There is a lot of speculation, we have got to establish the facts and I intend to do that before we come to a final decision. That is what we are about to do."
Clarkson has admitted there was "handbags and pushing" over the incident, which took place at Simonstone Hall Hotel in North Yorkshire, but denies claims that he punched Mr Tymon.
The production team had been scheduled to take a helicopter to their next location after filming, and return to the hotel at 8pm last Wednesday.
However, Clarkson kept the helicopter waiting for three hours while he sat in a pub drinking rose wine, Channel 4 reported.
Co-star James May said yesterday: "I have said many times before the man is a knob, but I quite like him. It's all getting a bit ridiculous."
Asked what he could remember about the row, May said: "Not very much, I was blind drunk."
Clarkson to face disciplinary panel
Jeremy Clarkson will be summoned to a top London hotel this week to explain his part in steak-gate.
The Top Gear star, who could walk out on the BBC this month, will face the corporation's disciplinary panel, where producer Oisin Tymon could be called to give evidence.
The panel will be chaired by Ken MacQuarrie, head of BBC Scotland, who was previously called in to manage the fall-out when Newsnight wrongly branded Tory peer Lord McAlpine a paedophile.
Clarkson will be sent a summons by post today and will be asked to explain what happened by the end of tomorrow or Saturday.
Mr MacQuarrie will quiz Mr Tymon separately as well as other members of the Top Gear team.
A source confirmed that staff at Simonstone Hall would be contacted to hear their version of events.
Head of TV Danny Cohen and Director General Tony Hall will also have a final say on whether he is sacked or saved.
But Mr Clarkson may choose to walk away before any decision is made as his contract expires at the end of the month.
He has apparently told a friend that "a weight has been lifted from his shoulders" after the latest scandal.
He added: "He is an employee of the BBC, they are his boss and so if they think he has done something wrong ... then it is for them to decide."