Jeremy Clarkson is said to be "intensely relaxed" about the inquiry into his "fracas" with a 'Top Gear' producer, amid suggestions that the victim of the suspended BBC presenter's alleged punch has yet to lodge an official complaint.
Clarkson is alleged to have thrown a punch at Irishman Oisín Tymon over the producer's failure to secure a late-night steak dinner for the presenter during filming at a Yorkshire hotel. However, friends of Clarkson say there is "no bad blood" between the pair and no official complaint has been made after the presenter offered his apologies.
The BBC inquiry may fail to produce sufficient evidence to demonstrate sackable misconduct on Clarkson's part, if Tymon's account spares the presenter of blame.
Richard Littlejohn, the 'Daily Mail' columnist and a long-standing friend of Clarkson, wrote: "My understanding is that Tymon hasn't made an official complaint. Clarkson denies punching him, but admits there was 'contact' and has apologised profusely.
"It's the kind of thing which happens when people are living under pressure in each other's pockets. Dressing room fisticuffs are not unknown among rock stars or on rugby tours. Normally what happens on tour stays on tour."
Mr Littlejohn accused Danny Cohen, the BBC director of television, who has previously clashed with Clarkson, of seizing upon "an irresistible opportunity to dispose of his bête noire once and for all".
Clarkson is said to be confident about the outcome of the disciplinary process.
His BBC critics believe Clarkson is seeking to use his supporters in the media to try to smooth over a bout of unacceptable behaviour.
This Sunday's 'Top Gear' has been cancelled along with the remaining episodes of the current BBC2 series. The failure to deliver episodes of the BBC's most lucrative factual entertainment format to overseas broadcasters could cost the corporation millions of pounds.
Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, who admitted he is a "fan" of Clarkson, said there was no timetable for the internal investigation. "We have got to get the people who are impacted by this together. We began that work yesterday," he said. "We have got to establish the facts and I intend to do that before we come to a final decision. That is what we are about to do." (© Independent News Service)