Sunday 18 March 2018

'Finger wagging' watchdog will keep an eye on Clarkson's new show

Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson

Patrick Foster

When Jeremy Clarkson and his former Top Gear sidekicks agreed to make a new online motoring show for Amazon Prime, the presenter proclaimed that he was free from the "finger wagging" of broadcasting rules and could feature as many off-colour jokes as he desired.

Now, however, it has emerged that the new show, which has a budget of £160million, will come under the scrutiny of Ofcom, the UK broadcasting watchdog, after the regulator announced changes to how online video content will be overseen.

Ofcom, which has previously censured Clarkson for using the word "slope" to refer to an Asian man, announced that it will begin to oversee content broadcast via video-on-demand services, including Amazon Prime, from January 1.

Clarkson's new series, rumoured to be called Gear Knobs, is expected to launch in the new year.


The news will come as a surprise to Clarkson, who wrote in his 'Sunday Times' column that "in the dizzying world of modern narrowcasting … you can say what you want".

He added: "Out there, in the free world, there's no finger wagging."

In a reference to the Netflix series House of Cards, he added: "Kevin Spacey spat on Jesus and no one batted an eyelid. Because the internet, let's face it, is also showing a gentleman and a lady making sweet love in extreme detail."

Netflix, however, will still escape regulation, as unlike Amazon Prime it does not have a British subsidiary.

The change comes after Ofcom moved to abolish the little-known Authority for Television on Demand which was set up to oversee television-style content on the internet. The media regulator will now oversee on-demand programming itself.

Clarkson, along with Richard Hammond and James May, have signed a three-year, 36-episode deal with Amazon Prime. (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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