Jeremy Clarkson booked to host BBC's Have I Got News For You
By John Plunkett | Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | theguardian.com
Jeremy Clarkson is in line to make a sensational return to the BBC as a guest host on Have I Got News For You.
Clarkson, currently suspended from BBC2’s Top Gear following an alleged fracas with a producer, has been booked to present the third episode of the new series of the comedy panel show, due to return to BBC1 next month.
Jimmy Mulville, managing director of Have I Got News For You producer Hat Trick, said: “We always have a field day with Jeremy … Maybe we will get the producer on so he can hit Jeremy Clarkson live on television.”
But with Clarkson currently suspended and his altercation with producer Oisin Tymon the subject of an internal BBC inquiry, the presenter’s participation on the BBC1 show must be in doubt.
His appearance, understood to have been arranged before the latest controversy, has the potential to be hugely embarrassing for the BBC, and potentially even more contentious if it airs in the run-up to the general election on 7 May.
David Cameron has expressed his support for Clarkson, describing him as a “great talent” and saying his children would be “heartbroken” if Top Gear was taken off air.
Asked whether Clarkson would be allowed to take part in the BBC1 show, Mulville told a Broadcasting Press Guild breakfast: “I’m about to find out.
“As far as I’m concerned he is hosting Have I Got News For You in early May. The BBC haven’t told me what to do yet. It’ll be an interesting conversation.”
He added: “I think he’s a fantastic broadcaster and I concentrate on that. He’s due to host the third episode.”
Clarkson has been one of Have I Got News For You’s most regular guest presenters, appearing alongside team captains Paul Merton and Ian Hislop a dozen times since Angus Deayton’s departure in 2002.
Hislop revealed last week that he was left with a cut on his face after Clarkson threw a pen at him during the recording of a show in 2008.
“We had to stop recording,” said Hislop. “He refused to believe it was blood. He said it was red biro and then apologised to me afterwards.
Mulville is one of two independent producers, along with Avalon’s Jon Thoday, jointly bidding to buy BBC3 after plans were announced to close the TV channel and take the brand online only.
The BBC declined to comment on whether Clarkson’s suspension, if it were still in force, would cover an appearance on a separate show.