Clarkson 'will return to BBC'
Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson "will be back on the BBC", according to one of the corporation's leading executives.
BBC2 boss Kim Shillinglaw, who has been tasked with finding a replacement for Clarkson on the hit motoring show, said the presenter would return at some point.
She said: "Je remy will be back on the BBC.
"It's serious and unfortunate what happened but there is no ban on Jeremy being on the BBC. It's a a big deal what happened and Jeremy, as any human being would, needs some time."
Referring to his decision to pull out of host ing Have I Got News For You, she said: "T he BBC was prepared to have him on Have I Got News For You, it wasn't the BBC's decision not to go ahead with that particular show."
Ms Shillinglaw said the process of reinventing the show without its main star was " creatively exciting".
She confirmed Clarkson's final Top Gear scenes will be screened later this year and she was not thinking of his replacement "in terms of gender".
She said the scenes filmed before Clarkson was suspended for his attack on Oisin Tymon were likely to air this summer, saying: " No way would I want the available material not to be seen by viewers."
Asked about drafting in a woman to replace him, she said: "I worked a lot with female presenters and when I used to work in science that was something across the piece that I really wanted to tackle, but I don't think I've ever approached an individual show thinking that was the way I want to cast it, so I think it's an open book on that.
"We'll definitely look at some women, but it's not a driving priority."
Clarkson was suspended by the BBC last month during an internal investigation after he attacked Top Gear producer Mr Tymon, splitting his lip and verbally abusing him.
Clarkson's contract was not renewed, with director-general Tony Hall saying ''a line has been crossed'' and ''there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another''.
But the broadcasting veteran received widespread public support, including from friend David Cameron.
Earlier this month, North Yorkshire Police said Clarkson would face no further police action over his attack on the producer at a hotel.
Clarkson has said he is already thinking about his next television project.
He wrote in his column for the Sunday Times: ''I have lost my baby but I shall create another.
''I don't know who the other parent will be or what the baby will look like, but I cannot sit around any more organising my photograph album.''
Clarkson also revealed he was told he ''probably'' had cancer two days before the ''fracas'' with Mr Tymon, although he has since been given the all-clear.
He said he considered turning his back on presenting altogether in the immediate fall-out from the incident.
He told the Sunday Times: ''Let's stop being silly and pick up the pieces and start again ... I just know I'm going to do another car show.''