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BBC: “We never asked for Jeremy’s return”

BBC: “We never asked for Jeremy’s return”

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has denied a claim by former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson that a senior executive at the broadcaster offered him the opportunity to reclaim his old job following his firing in March for punching Associate Producer, Oisin Tymon.

In a reported interview with Britain’s Sun newspaper, Clarkson stated that the unnamed executive had approached him days before Tuesday’s announcement that BBC Radio 2 Breakfast DJ and television personality, Chris Evans, would take over the role as lead presenter of the smash-hit motoring show.

“I had a meeting with a BBC executive last week and they asked if I'd come back to Top Gear. But it was never an option, even with the one million people signing the Bring Back Clarkson petition – for which I was extremely humbled,” Clarkson said, adding that he rejected the offer after being compared to late former DJ and alleged sex offender, Jimmy Saville.

“The spotlight would have been on me and the show would end up being neutered. It would be difficult to do anything without interference. It would have been impossible to make the show I'd want to make”.

The broadcaster has however stated that it is not aware of anyone asking Clarkson to return, and that they wished him well for his future endeavours.

It has meanwhile been reported that Clarkson, who is rumoured to have signed a deal with online streaming service Netflix to host a motoring show with fellow presenters Richard Hammond and James May, stirred further speculating after quipping, “I hope Chris enjoys running what, for the next couple of weeks, is the world's biggest car show”.

Evans, who appeared on Top Gear twice before as the “Star in the Reasonably Priced Car” and is known for his collection of Ferrari’s, has revealed that the broadcaster’s auditioning for co-presenter slots would be open to the public and not “just famous people”.

“Male, female, old, young, it doesn’t matter. The one thing that does matter if you’ve got to have a real appetite for cars, and you’ve got to know something about cars,” he said in an interview.

“The way James and Richard were found was by auditioning, so we are going to hold auditions, not just for famous people, for people who are watching the show. If nobody’s good, nobody is going to get the job”.