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Top Gear Live event canned as BBC weighs Clarkson's future
The BBC has cancelled a Top Gear Live event that was scheduled in Norway next week with Jeremy Clarkson as its star.
In another indication the corporation may be about to sack the controversial presenter, a spokesman apologised to fans and said the four shows would need to be rescheduled.
Only last week, the BBC insisted the events would go ahead, despite Clarkson's suspension for allegedly punching a producer in a row over hot food. At the time, insiders said Top Gear Live's producers did not want to disappoint the 20,000 fans who had booked tickets. But the last-minute cancellation suggests a change of heart and that Clarkson's days at the BBC may be numbered.
A Top Gear Live insider insisted the decision to cancel the show had been taken because of the obvious uncertainty around Clarkson's immediate future, and that producers had been given no indication of whether he would be sacked.
His fate is expected to be announced this week after he gave evidence to an inquiry headed by Ken MacQuarrie, head of BBC Scotland.
Clarkson, who is paid a seven-figure salary to present Top Gear, has a separate seven-figure contract with BBC Worldwide to host the Top Gear Live events around the world.
And while his contract with the BBC is due to expire at the end of this month, his BBC Worldwide contract runs until September, with live shows booked for Australia, South Africa and Britain.
The presenter was suspended by the BBC on March 10. Clarkson is alleged to have punched producer Oisin Tymon after being told he could not have steak and chips for dinner because the hotel they were staying in had stopped serving hot food.
10 Jeremy Clarkson gaffes
1 July 2008: Drink-driving
BBC bosses told Clarkson off for sipping a gin and tonic while behind the wheel of a pick-up truck.
2 November 2008: Truckies
With reference to Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, Clarkson joked on the show about how truck drivers "murder prostitutes".
3 February 2009: Gordon Brown
The then British Prime Minister was dismissed as a "one-eyed Scottish idiot" during a press conference in Australia.
4 October 2009: Black Muslim lesbians
Clarkson said the BBC was obsessed with hiring black, Muslim lesbians to counter the number of white heterosexuals in its ranks.
5 July 2010: Burqas and lingerie
During a Top Gear discussion on distractions while driving: "Honestly, the burqa doesn't work. I was in a cab in Piccadilly the other day when a woman in a full burqa crossing the road in front of me tripped over the pavement, went head over heels and up it came, red G-string and stockings."
6 August 2010: Special needs
Clarkson referred to a Ferrari as "special needs" and a "simpleton" as a way of giving it a bad review.
7 February 2011: Mexico
Clarkson sparked a diplomatic incident, and was forced to apologise to the Mexican ambassador.
8 January 2012: India
Viewers complained about Clarkson's provocative remarks concerning the country's clothing, trains, food and history
9 May 2014: The 'N'-word
Clarkson was forced into an apology after appearing to mumble the word as he sang a nursery rhyme on Top Gear.
10 July 2014: Slope
Communications regulator Ofcom said he had breached its guidelines, when he referred to an Asian person as a "slope".