Sydney Top Gear Festival fate known next week

Gordon Lomas

Friday 27th March, 2015 - 1:10pm

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Jeremy Clarkson's sacking from the BBC has cast doubt over whether the Top Gear Sydney Festival will proceed next month

Jeremy Clarkson’s sacking from the BBC has cast doubt over whether the Top Gear Sydney Festival will proceed next month

The decision on whether the Top Gear Festival in Sydney will proceed remains in the balance as high level talks continue in England.

The popular Top Gear Festival live show was slated to return to Sydney Motorsport Park from April 18-19 however its fate remains in limbo following the BBC’s firing of main host Jeremy Clarkson.

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are booked to appear together for the first time in Sydney next month

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond are booked to appear together for the first time in Sydney next month

Discussions over who will be involved if the show proceeds in Sydney are being held between UK-based event company Brand Events and the BBC.

Presently the official statement from the organisers of the Sydney event reads:

“The Organisers of Top Gear Festival Sydney would like to acknowledge the concerns of both visitors and fans given the recent announcement regarding Jeremy Clarkson.

“We are working through the implications of the current situation with all involved parties and hope to have more answers soon.

“We are working as quickly as we can and will have further updates no later than next week.”

The future of other Top Gear Live shows around the world is also expected to be clarified next week.

The tricky situation was brought about due to the BBC terminating Clarkson’s contract after the broadcaster’s investigation found the presenter had verbally and physically attacked producer Oisin Tymon.

The Top Gear Festival Sydney had been advertising next month’s show as the first time the show’s three hosts Clarkson, James May and Richmond Hammond would be together in Australia.

See below for the full statement on Clarkson’s sacking by BBC’s director general Tony Hall:

It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract. It is not a decision I have taken lightly.

I have done so only after a very careful consideration of the facts and after personally meeting both Jeremy and Oisin Tymon.

I am grateful to Ken MacQuarrie for the thorough way he has conducted an investigation of the incident on 4 March.

Given the obvious and very genuine public interest in this I am publishing the findings of his report.

I take no pleasure in doing so. I am only making them public so people can better understand the background.

I know how popular the programme is and I know that this decision will divide opinion. The main facts are not disputed by those involved.

I want to make three points.

First – The BBC is a broad church. Our strength in many ways lies in that diversity.

We need distinctive and different voices but they cannot come at any price.

Common to all at the BBC have to be standards of decency and respect.

I cannot condone what has happened on this occasion.

A member of staff – who is a completely innocent party – took himself to Accident and Emergency after a physical altercation accompanied by sustained and prolonged verbal abuse of an extreme nature.

For me a line has been crossed. There cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another dictated by either rank, or public relations and commercial considerations.

Second – This has obviously been difficult for everyone involved but in particular for Oisin.

I want to make clear that no blame attaches to him for this incident.

He has behaved with huge integrity throughout. As a senior producer at the BBC he will continue to have an important role within the organisation in the future.

Third – Obviously none of us wanted to find ourselves in this position.

This decision should in no way detract from the extraordinary contribution that Jeremy Clarkson has made to the BBC.

I have always personally been a great fan of his work and Top Gear.

Jeremy is a huge talent.

He may be leaving the BBC but I am sure he will continue to entertain, challenge and amuse audiences for many years to come.

The BBC must now look to renew Top Gear for 2016.

This will be a big challenge and there is no point in pretending otherwise.

I have asked Kim Shillinglaw [Controller of BBC Two] to look at how best we might take this forward over the coming months.

I have also asked her to look at how we put out the last programmes in the current series.

 

 

 

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