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Clarkson 'fracas' erupted because the host couldn't order a steak

Fracas: Clarkson is alleged to have punch Oisin Tymon over a steak
Fracas: Clarkson is alleged to have punch Oisin Tymon over a steak

The "fracas" that led to Jeremy Clarkson's suspension reportedly erupted because the Top Gear host could not order a steak.

The details emerged after David Cameron backed the star, calling him a "huge talent" and saying he hoped the situation could be resolved so his children would not be left "heartbroken".

Clarkson is alleged to have punched Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon during what the corporation officially described as a "fracas".

Reports suggest the star had been unhappy at being unable to get hot food at Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes, North Yorkshire, where the crew were staying after filming.

The Sun and Mirror reported the hotel's chef had gone home by the time they arrived and the stars were offered cold meat platters, although the presenter requested a £21.95 steak.

The papers quoted a source who claimed Clarkson blamed Mr Tymon for not arranging hot food and described the incident as a "scuffle". The hotel's general manager then cooked the meal for the star, the source claimed.

The BBC's director-general Tony Hall yesterday said he was a "fan" of Clarkson, but added that allegations of a fracas were "serious".

More than 650,000 people from across the world have signed an online petition demanding that the outspoken host be reinstated.

Yesterday, the 54-year-old joked as he left his flat in Kensington amid a media scrum.

He said: "I've been suspended haven't I? I'm just off to the job centre. At least I'm going to be able to get to the Chelsea match tonight."

Asked if his suspension was over a row about food he said "no, no, no" but said "yes" when asked if he had any regrets about what had happened.

Clarkson was photographed in the crowd at Stamford Bridge for Chelsea's game against Paris St-Germain last night.

It was reported that a BBC disciplinary panel has already been convened to decide his fate.