AA Gill says Clarkson apologised for "fracas" when BBC producer was punched

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson

AA Gill, a friend and colleague of Jeremy Clarkson has labelled the BBC's investigation into the infamous row between the Top Gear presenter and a BBC producer "preposterous and ponderous".

Gill, writing in the Sunday Times, praised the 54-year-old as hard-working, and claimed he apologised in an attempt to draw a line under the matter.

"Jeremy reported the incident,” Gill writes. “It was over the absence of hot food at the end of a long and frustrating day with the prospect of another early start in the morning.

"The producer, Oisin Tymon , had not made a complaint. Jeremy called Danny Cohen, the director of BBC television, directly and explained he had lost his rag.

"Sources close to Top Gear say the reasons were that he wanted to apologise and make an amend, not least for the sake of the hundreds of people standing by to carry on with the rest of the show.

"Cohen had a choice: to do the right thing or the bureaucratic thing, but at the BBC no good intention goes unquestioned."

Defending Clarkson, he went on: "People work long hours with a great deal of stress, and small things - almost invariably food - are tetchy trip-wires. Whatever did happen, in mitigation to Jeremy , nobody works harder or under more stress than he."

It comes after reports suggested the row erupted because no hot food was laid on at Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes, North Yorkshire, where the crew were staying after filming and Clarkson 'punched' Tymon.

In his column for The Sun newspaper, Clarkson wrote yesterday: "We read often about active and busy people who die the day after they retire because they simply can't cope with the concept of relaxation. So as I seem to have a bit of time on my hands at the moment, I thought it would be a good idea to take up some kind of hobby.

"I began by watching daytime television, and soon felt myself starting to slip away. So I turned over to the news and it was all about a not very interesting fat man who had been suspended from his not very important job. But watching the fat man made me hungry and that's when the penny dropped: I'd take up cooking."

The star then joked: "So my new hobby is called 'going out to restaurants and letting people who know what they're doing cook my food'."

Shortly after news of the suspension broke last week, the presenter's daughter Em Clarkson tweeted: "Oh God, BBC please take him back... He's started cooking..."