Wednesday 18 October 2017

BBC locks Top Gear offices 'to stop Jeremy Clarkson taking souvenir' during last ever lap

Clarkson, Hammond and May - former Top Gear presenters
Clarkson, Hammond and May - former Top Gear presenters
Chris Evans

Lyndsey Telford

Jeremy Clarkson has revealed how the BBC locked the Top Gear offices to stop him taking a souvenir when he returned to the set to drive his last ever lap.

The controversial former host of the much-loved TV show described how he felt “a bit choked” as he went through the gates of the famous race track one last time.

Clarkson, who was sacked from Top Gear earlier this year and is being replaced by new host Chris Evans, took part in the “last hurrah” last week – a lap around the track for charity.

“I was feeling a bit choked as I went through the gates for the very last time,” he said of the event.

Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May
Former Top Gear hosts Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May

“The Top Gear portable office was locked to stop me taking even a small souvenir. The hangar was empty.”

However, writing in The Sunday Times, the 55-year-old added that the track was “full of enough memories” to keep him going.

“The missing lamp where Black Stig went off in an Aston Martin Vanquish. The tyre wall rendered cockeyed by the first White Stig's Koenigsegg moment. And the two furrows left by me after a quarter-of-a-mile spin in a BMW 1-series,” he reminisced.

Clarkson, who was joined by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason at the event, said he wanted to enjoy his last moment on the track – which he did with a brand new Ferrari 488 shipped over from Italy.

Chris Evans
Chris Evans

“It was time for the last lap. And I made it a good one. A smooth one. The sort of lap that would have made the Stig proud,” he said.

Clarkson's BBC contract was not renewed after an internal inquiry in March found he had assaulted Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in a row over a hotel meal.

He and former co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May are free to make a different kind of motoring show for ITV, but are thought more likely to go to an online broadcaster such as Netflix or Amazon which are not covered by a clause in their old BBC contracts that stop them making a rival car show on another UK channel.

The last lap raised £100,000 for the Roundhouse, a London-based charity which supports disadvantaged youngsters.

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