Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson, aka "The Orangutan" and "Jezza", was the British motoring journalist who became the longest serving host of Top Gear in its entirety, hosting the original incarnation of the show from 1988 to 1998, becoming the main host in 1991, and then the reboot from 2002 to 2015, remaining as main host throughout. He wrote weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun in addition to the Top Gear Magazine, the accompanying monthly publication which began in 1993.

During his latter tenure on Top Gear, he helped to win the show an International Emmy in 2005, with Clarkson himself winning the 2007 National Television Awards' Special Recognition Award. He and James May were the first people to reach the North Pole in a car, which was broadcast in a Top Gear special on the 25th of July 2007 on BBC Two.

Clarkson appeared in the first twenty-two series of the current format of the show until he was dismissed by the BBC on the 25th of March, 2015. Clarkson and his co-presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, have since went on to host its spiritual successor The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime's video service.


Born on 11 April 1960 in Doncaster to teacher Shirley Gabrielle Ward and travelling salesman Edward Grenville "Eddie" Clarkson, his parents ran a business selling condoms. They put the young Jeremy's name down in advance for a number of public schools with no idea how they were going to pay the fees, until at the last moment, when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children. These proved so popular that they started selling them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to attend Repton School.

He was later expelled for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself."

As a pre-pubescent youth, Clarkson played the role of a public schoolboy, Taplin, in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings novels until his voice broke.

His first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents' business selling Paddington Bear toys, after which he trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser.

For an episode of the first series of the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? broadcast in November 2004, Clarkson was invited to investigate his family history. It included the story of his great-great-great grandfather John Kilner (1792–1857), who invented the Kilner jar: a receptacle for preserved fruit.

Clarkson married Alexandra "Alex" James in 1989, however the marriage was short-lived and she left him for one of his best friends six months later. The couple divorced the following year. In May 1993, Clarkson married his agent and manager, Frances "Francie" Cain at a ceremony in Fulham. The couple lived in the town of Chipping Norton, situated in the Cotswolds, with their three children (Emily born August 1994, Finlo born March 1996, and Katya born November 1998). Clarkson also has a flat in Bayswater as a base in London for working. The couple bought a lighthouse as a further home on Frances' family home of the Isle of Man. Known for buying him car-related gifts, for Christmas 2007 Clarkson's wife bought him a Ford Street Ka 2005 reg. The couple divorced in April 2014 after being married for nearly 21 years.

In spite of his penchant for fast driving and high performance cars, Clarkson has been reported as having a clean licence. Nonetheless, he readily discusses high speed driving on public roads; in a November 2005 article in The Sunday Times, Clarkson wrote, while discussing the Bugatti Veyron, "On a recent drive across Europe I desperately wanted to reach the top speed but I ran out of road when the needle hit 240mph", and later, in the same article, "From the wheel of a Veyron, France is the size of a small coconut. I cannot tell you how fast I crossed it the other day. Because you simply wouldn’t believe me."

Clarkson's work on Top Gear came to end in March of 2015 when he was suspended by the BBC following a fracas with producer Oisin Tymon. On 25 March, 2015 BBC director-general Tony Hall announced that the corporation would not be renewing Jeremy Clarkson's contract on Top Gear, effectively dismissing him as a presenter on the show. James May chose not to renew his with the BBC in May of 2015 as a result of the incident.

Television Appearances and Career

Clarkson has periodically released motoring-based videos, such as Clarkson: Unleashed on Cars. Over the years, his videos have shown him driving many exotic cars, including a Ford GT40 that had been specially adapted to accommodate taller drivers; Clarkson is 6 feet 5 inches tall (1.96 m). He is also known for destroying his most hated cars in various ways, including catapulting a Nissan Sunny using a trebuchet, and dropping a Porsche 911 onto a caravan (after plunging a piano onto the bonnet and dousing it in hydrochloric acid, amongst other things). He has also presented other motoring-related series such as Star Cars, Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld, and Clarkson's Car Years.

Clarkson is renowned as essentially being the face of Top Gear, which he presented from 27 October 1988 until 17 December 1998 in the Original format, and then again from the 20 October 2002, when it was relaunched in a new format after a brief period off the air. Clarkson would also make an appearance for the 21st anniversary show of the original Top Gear in December 1999, in addition to a brief cameo in the 2000 VHS release Fast and Furious 2. His colleagues James May and Richard Hammond, would eventually follow him to Amazon. Despite being mean and slightly snobbish towards his colleagues, Clarkson cares deeply for them and has remained a friend and loyal to them throughout the series.

Top Gear became the most-watched TV show on BBC Two, and was shown in over 100 countries around the world. It won an International Emmy in 2005, for the best non-scripted entertainment show that was not broadcast in the United States. Clarkson said: "I didn't attend the awards ceremony because I didn't know that we had won, and I only found out after a 4am text message, whilst I was busy writing the script for the next show....".

It also received a National Television Award for best Factual Programme in 2006 and 2007, defeating the likes of Planet Earth and Bad Lads' Army.

Since 20 May 2018, Clarkson has presented the revived edition of the internationally renowned ITV quiz show "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?". Whilst initially just presenting for one week as part of the twentieth anniversary of the programme's launch, the show was commissioned for a further new series. As of 2020, three contestants have reached the fifteenth and final question for one million pounds, but nobody has claimed the grand prize yet with Clarkson as presenter.

Physical Appearance

Clarkson has an allegedly ugly figure. He has curly, grey hair, a long oval shaped face, a wide forehead, large, dark blue wide-spaced eyes, prominent cheekbones, and then a thin nose and a narrow jaw with a pointed chin. It is also frequently assumed that he is pregnant, smokes 60 a day and allegedly stinks of tobacco. Worst of all he hails from Doncaster, allegedly the arse end of Yorkshire.

He usually is seen wearing a cod piece, blue jeans with suit jackets or leather jackets and shirts. He is seen very rarely in informal t-shirts and he uses them only during their long trips (in Top Gear specials, for example). So far, only once he's used a full matching suit in the show (during Series 9 Ep. 5, the day that Kristin Scott Thomas would do her lap)


Clarkson is allegedly smug, self-centred, opinionated and courts controversy just to inflate the viewing and income for the BBC. It was said he was protected from all the controversy by the BBC because of the financial injection by Top Gear, although this didn't prevent his dismissal in March 2015. From 1988 - 2015, Clarkson featured in 399 episodes of Top Gear; 220 of the original format and 179 of the relaunched format. This makes him the longest-running presenter on the show by a margin of over 161 episodes against the second longest-running presenter, Tiff Needell. This count rises to 401 if the spin-off Top Gear of the Pops and Top Ground Gear Force episodes are included.

External links

Cast of Top Gear
Present Cast Chris Harris | Freddie Flintoff | Paddy McGuinness | The Stig
Part-time Cast Sabine Schmitz | Eddie Jordan | Rory Reid
Former Cast (2002 format) Matt LeBlanc | Chris Evans | James May | Richard Hammond | Jeremy Clarkson | Ben Collins | Top Gear Stunt Man | Top Gear Dog | Perry McCarthy | Jason Dawe
Former Cast (1977 format) Andy Wilman | Jason Barlow | Tiff Needell | Vicki Butler-Henderson | Adrian Simpson | Quentin Willson | Kate Humble | Steve Berry | Julia Bradbury | Brendan Coogan | Tony Mason | Michele Newman | Jon Bentley | Chris Goffey | Janet Trewin | Nicky Fox | Steve Lee | William Woollard | Sue Baker | Beki Adam | Tom Boswell | Vic Allan | Frank Page | Peter Burgess | Bob Friend | Judith Jackson | Stewart Woodcock | Noel Edmonds | Mike Dornan | Gill Pyrah | Barrie Gill | Angela Rippon | Presenters with less than 5 appearances
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Fastest Star
Series 1, Episode 1 - Series 1, Episode 2
Succeeded by
Jay Kay
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