Jeremy Clarkson has appeared in every QI series since the second, and – consummate TV professional that he is – he always delivers. Of course he’s controversial – that’s why we invite him. He says what he thinks, and he says it forcefully, colourfully and knowledgeably. And although he always claims publicly he isn’t, he’s very, very funny on the show. He’s the only guest to get an episode of QI withdrawn (for a clearly comic observation about vets), and his monologue about the dire consequences of hitting a carrion-filled wedgetail eagle on an Aussie highway (in the 'Bible' episode) is a comic masterpiece. Plus he once said QI was the best show on television - in the Sun, which is the newspaper that once bracketed us with University Challenge and Mastermind as the three worst shows on the box. So, controversial or not, Clarkson’s here to stay.
His profile is now so high it’s salutary to remember that he has once a junior reporter for the Rotherham Advertiser and has been presenting Top Gear since 1988, when only the most devoted of petrolheads watched it. Now it is a global phenomenon, shown in more than 100 countries. Much of its success comes from Jeremy’s unfailing grasp of what the average punter likes and wants. He combines a boyish enthusiasm for machines with the middle-aged man’s disgust at modern life. This exasperation is what makes his columns in the Sunday Times and the Sun such a guilty pleasure. It has also helped made him the UK’s 24th most successful author ever.
Other TV appearances include his own talk show Clarkson, a record number of times as guest host for Have I Got News for You and two appearances on Question Time. In 2007 he won the National Television Award’s ‘Special Recognition’ award. But what’s he really like? His friend AA Gill will tell you that, against all the odds, he hates America and loves the French. Wikipedia says he’s keen on birds, particularly Peregrine falcons. And, surprisingly perhaps, he suffers from nerves: ‘I've flown upside down in jet fighters and driven a million miles an hour in drag racing, driven 200mph speed boats, but nothing is as frightening as David Dimbleby saying, 'Jeremy Clarkson'.
Speed has never killed anyone. Suddenly becoming stationary, that's what gets you.
Born To Be Riled
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I Know You Got Soul
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If a grown man drives around with the top down, he looks like the central character in an advertisement for Viagra.