Monday 11 December 2017

Hammond and May out of contract on 'Top Gear'

James May and Richard Hammond with Jeremy Clarkson
James May and Richard Hammond with Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson

Anita Singh

James May and Richard Hammond are out of contract with the BBC from midnight, after declining to sign new deals for the next series of 'Top Gear'.

The pair are now free agents, meaning rival broadcasters can approach them with job offers.

Hammond has tweeted that he is "not ready for retirement". May does not seem in a great hurry to find new employment.

Asked yesterday what he was planning to do with his new-found leisure time, he replied: "I'm going to cook a shepherd's pie and make a film for YouTube."

May said he hopes to work with Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson again, but in a different sphere.

"One day the three of us may do something - but it may just involve a pub and a restaurant rather than a TV programme."

The BBC remains hopeful that it can persuade the pair to continue on 'Top Gear', with a new presenter replacing Clarkson. They could sign a contract at any time in the coming months. Clarkson, however, has no way back after he was sacked for assaulting Irish colleague Oisín Tymon.

Meanwhile 'Top Gear' producer Andy Wilman has denied reports that he has quit the hit show in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson's sacking.

An email he sent to staff on the show, congratulating them on making "one of the most iconic programmes in TV history", was published on Monday and widely reported as a resignation statement.

But yesterday Mr Wilman, whose friendship with Clarkson dates back to their school days, said: "The email I wrote yesterday was not a resignation statement, and nor was it meant for public consumption." (© Daily Telegraph London)

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