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Sunday 15 March 2015

Mail Clarkson Intervention Fail

As if there have not been enough opinions ventured on the controversy surrounding Jeremy Clarkson, the Mail On Sunday has waded in to the fray. Clearly, the absence of inside information - most of which seems to have found its way to the Mirror titles - has irked those in the Northcliffe House bunker, and so they have asked the BBC for what the paper says was an “official briefing” by a “senior executive”.
Exactly how “senior” the “executive” is we are not told, but the screaming headline is unequivocal: “TV Chief’s astonishing remarks on Top Gear affair … TOP BBC BOSS: ‘CLARKSON IS LIKE SAVILE’”. Yes, the hated Beeb had compared Jezza, who is just a bit of a lad, as well as being a Legurnd, to predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile. This would be shocking if it were true. Which, it seems, it is not.

Let us first consider the headline: ‘CLARKSON IS LIKE SAVILE’. Why the quote marks? That, folks, is to prevent the Corporation and/or the person who spoke to the MoS taking the paper to the cleaners. Yes, the teensy problem the MoS has is that the “senior executive” who spoke to them did not actually say that. Nor, and not for the first time, did the MoS put the quotes they attribute to this person in context.

So what did the BBC person say? “The pressure this guy [Tymon] is under is so Savilesque in a way … If you look at what David Cameron says or what Maria Miller says and you swap Clarkson for Savile, you get this: David Cameron is effectively saying that Savile’s a real talent, Maria Miller saying Savile will be Savile”. There’s more.

People keep saying that this is a case of Danny Cohen v Jeremy Clarkson. It is not. This is Jeremy Clarkson v Jeremy Clarkson … Jeremy is self-destructing. Danny is not the person who is driving this, it is Jeremy … If I was advising him I would take one of two options. Do what he is doing now and continue to try to play it down – or I would go into rehab and show the world I am trying to change … The BBC has stood by him before when he has been in hot water… But this is more serious”. But still no context.

From which we can see that nobody has said that “Clarkson is like Savile”. The MoS admits that the context of the “Savilesque” quote was the way in which the immediate reaction of those in power - if only to bash the BBC - is to effectively say that, whatever Jezza did, he was right. What the MoS does not do is address the suggestion that the rest of the Top Gear team is becoming disenchanted with Clarkson’s behaviour.

Instead, there is no context given to the quotes used, the usual attack on Danny Cohen for, it seems, the crime of Working At The BBC With Malice Aforethought, and no shortage of Jezza’s pals ready to defend him, such as Murdoch pundit Jane Moore, who appeared this morning on The Andy Marr Show (tm) to tell how the BBC could be in serious trouble, and that her pal had reported himself, suggesting that that was all right, then.

Meanwhile, those of us in the real world await the outcome of the Beeb’s disciplinary hearing. After that, we will know what really happened. And on the basis of what’s coming from the Corporation’s staff, it might not be the outcome Jezza’s fans want to see.


AndyC said...

As the Beeb appear not to have invited any staff from the hotel nor any other non-crew witnesses of the incident to give evidence to the inquiry, I'm not too hopeful of the result.

Anonymous said...

"the hated Beeb had complained Jezza … to predatory paedophile Jimmy Savile"
S/complained/compared ??

Tim Fenton said...


Correct, and corrected.