A petition calling for Jeremy Clarkson to keep his job as host of ITV's Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? has now hit nearly 60,000 signatures. It comes in the wake of a controversial column he wrote for The Sun newspaper.
In it, Mr Clarkson said he "hated" Meghan and said he dreamed of the duchess being paraded through British towns and publicly shamed. The article, which has since been removed, became the Independent Press Standards Organisation’s (Ipso) most complained-about piece.
It sparked a big reaction and Mr Clarkson, 62, has since apologised, saying he emailed the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on Christmas Day to say sorry. He said his language was “disgraceful” and he was “profoundly sorry”.
However, the duke and duchess said he did not address “his long-standing pattern of writing articles that spread hate rhetoric, dangerous conspiracy theories and misogyny”. The Sun has also apologised and said it regretted the publication of the column.
Clarkson’s statement went on to say ITV and Amazon, which airs Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and The Grand Tour respectively, were “incandescent”. Alongside hosting The Grand Tour, the TV presenter also stars in Amazon Prime TV series Clarkson’s Farm, which documents his efforts to run the Oxfordshire Farm he bought in 2008.
The success of the series has seen visitors flock to the Diddly Squat farm shop in Chipping Norton Road, Chadlington, and the second series is due to launch on February 10 on Prime Video in more than 240 countries and territories. However, Variety have reported that Amazon Prime Video will not be working with Clarkson beyond seasons of The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm they have previously commissioned.
In 2018 Clarkson also took over from Chris Tarrant as the presenter of long-running ITV gameshow Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The PA news agency understands ITV is due to film a new series of the show, which was agreed prior to Clarkson’s comments, but has no further commissioning commitments beyond that.
Speaking at a Broadcasting Press Guild event in December, managing director of ITV Studios, Kevin Lygo, said Clarkson’s comments about the Duchess of Sussex were “awful” but added the broadcaster plans to keep him as the host of the gameshow “at the moment”.
The petition, which had more than 58,000 signatures at the time of writing on Saturday morning (January 28), states that "while Mr Clarkson’s remarks were considered offensive by some and provoked a record number of complaints to the press regulator, the negative reaction has been completely disproportionate". Addressed to the CEO of ITV, Dame Carolyn McCall, it adds: "The punishment is already completely disproportionate to the crime, without you compounding his humiliation."
On Friday it was reported that Mr Clarkson looks to be returning to ITV quiz show, with new episodes being filmed soon and the former Top Gear presenter apparently back in the hot seat. The Express reported that Lost in TV, a live audience service which allows fans to book tickets to sit in the studio, had shared an advert for the ITV series, confirming Clarkson as host.
It said Who Wants to be a Millionaire? is filming new episodes in the next month. Fans are currently able to apply for tickets for filming taking place at Media City, Salford, on February 10, 12 and 13.