Jeremy Clarkson 'watched over by BBC official' to stop 'controversial' remarks on Top Gear

Phillipa Sage, who worked alongside Jeremy Clarkson, 61, James May, 58, and Richard Hammond, 51, on Top Gear for over 12 years, has claimed the former was constantly “watched over” by a BBC official during filming. Sage worked as a PA for the trio and travelled around with them to various exciting locations for the BBC show.

She has now revealed the broadcaster was so wary of Jeremy’s tendency to say and do “controversial” things, that they “would always be accompanied”. 

Sage explained the BBC’s concerns initially stemmed from Jeremy’s comments about former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The Grand Tour host branded the politician a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” at a press conference in Sydney, Australia, in 2009.

Brown lost his sight in one eye during after an accident playing rugby as a teenager.

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Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson ‘watched over by BBC official’ to stop ‘controversial’ remarks on Top Gear (Image: GETTY)

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson is known for his outspoken ways (Image: GETTY)


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Jeremy then apologised after facing backlash from politicians and disability groups.

He said in a statement: “In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the prime minister’s personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise.”

Reflecting on the criticism surrounding Jeremy at the time, Sage said: “He did eventually apologise for referring to Mr Brown’s one eye, but refused to apologise for calling him an idiot. 

“Our tours would never be the same again.


Phillipa Sage

Phillipa Sage worked alongside Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond (Image: GETTY)

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson pictured with his Top Gear co-stars (Image: GETTY)


The Top 10 most followed on Twitter (Image: EXPRESS)

“We would always be accompanied and watched over by a BBC official to make sure we never allowed Jeremy to say or do anything controversial.”

Sage went on to say that the BBC’s precautionary move was “pretty pointless”, as no one could stop Jeremy from being outspoken as a TV personality.

She argued in extracts obtained by The Sun from her forthcoming book, Off-Road with Clarkson, Hammond and May: Behind The Scenes of Their “Rock and Roll” World Tour: “This was very annoying and also pretty pointless. 

“Was anyone ever going to stop Jeremy doing or saying what he liked?”

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Jeremy, James, and Richard were no longer a part of Top Gear after Jeremy assaulted one of the producers back in 2015.

The car enthusiast punched producer Oisin Tymon and later apologised for his “regretful” actions.

James and Richard followed Jeremy in his exit after he was dropped from the programme.


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He said in a statement at the time: “I want to reiterate that none of this was in any way his fault.

“I would also like to make it clear that the abuse he has suffered since the incident is unwarranted and I am sorry too that he has had to go through that.

“I am pleased that this matter is now resolved. Oisin was always a creatively exciting part of Top Gear and I wish him every success with his future projects.”

The trio now front The Grand Tour on Amazon Prime, as well as their own respective projects.

Off-Road With Clarkson, Hammond And May, by Phillipa Sage, will be available from May 13 for £8.99.

Read More: Hollywood News