In Brief

Jeremy Clarkson says men no longer have shot at BBC top jobs

Grand Tour presenter insists ‘anyone who has got a scrotum’ can ‘forget it’

Jeremy Clarkson is claiming that men are falling victim to a BBC drive to hand all the top jobs at the corporation to female candidates.

The former Top Gear presenter also criticised the broadcaster’s decision to publish the salaries of its highest-earning staff members, telling reporters that the move “isn’t very helpful”. And he reckons the same can be said of comments like those made last year by BBC Four editor Cassian Harrison, who said that the era of “white, middle-aged and male” presenters “standing on a hill and telling you like it is” was over.

Such attitudes are driving talent away from the BBC and towards streaming services, according to Clarkson, who is promoting the return of his Amazon Prime series The Grand Tour. “That’s Attenborough! That’s probably why he’s gone to Netflix,” he said, adding that “poor old” Nick Robinson applying to host Question Time was “a waste of petrol”.

The Daily Telegraph reports that former BBC political editor Robinson was the “only man to audition for the Question Time job”, alongside candidates including Fiona Bruce, Kirsty Wark, Emily Maitlis and Samira Ahmed. Bruce got the job.

“Men just don’t get jobs there at all,” said Clarkson, whose BBC contract was not renewed after he launched an unprovoked physical attack on a Top Gear producer in 2015. “Anyone who has got a scrotum, forget it. They just aren’t giving jobs to men at the moment.

“There is an argument that it’s been all-men for a long time, so what’s wrong with it being all-women for some time? I get that. That’s fine. We just, as men, have to accept we’ve had it. Let’s just go down the bar.”

In a separate interview for Radio Times, the outspoken TV presenter also accused the BBC of catering only for about “seven people in Islington”, rather than a wider audience.

“If I ran the BBC, it would be better,” he said. “If they’d let everyone relax, and made a show that’s entertaining, or interesting, or informative, or any of the things that the BBC is supposed to be, then we’d be having a different debate about the future of TV.

“I had a very happy time at the BBC. And I care very much about it. I’d be sad if it got knackered by a few unwise Corbynites.”

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