Why Clarkson fills a gap no one else can

Andrew Mulholland
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Clarkson: he may offend, but people like his unapologetic style (Source: BBC)
I love BrewDog. It’s not just that I’m an ale drinker - I love the brand’s attitude, and refusal to conform or bow to public pressure.
Last year, in response to criticism from industry regulator the Portman Group – a body James Watts (the brand’s co-founder) described as a “gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths” - BrewDog issued a corporate statement saying, “we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say”.
In this day and age of bland corporate giants, it’s refreshing to see there are still brands out there sticking to their guns and refusing to play by the rules. The message is clear: BrewDog is what it is. If you don’t like it, don’t drink it.
And so it is for Jeremy Clarkson. I can’t find a single female friend who thinks he’s anything other than the anti-Christ. A racist dinosaur from a bygone era who has no business on our television screens - his alleged punch being the final straw.
Except, and whisper it quietly, I really like him. I like that he makes no effort to be anything other than who he is, and if you don’t like it, don’t watch him - there are after all, plenty of other channels to chose from these days if you’re not into his brand of entertainment.
In a tweet he wrote “It’s an old skool (sic) Top Gear tonight. Nobody falls over and no-one is fired by canon into a hospital. I’d watch something else frankly”.
And it would seem I’m not alone, the petition to reinstate him has already gathered over 875,000 supporters, his Twitter has over 4.5 million followers, and the Top Gear Facebook site has 15.3 million fans (that’s more than the BBC’s own site).
To confound those who think he offends anyone outside of the Home Counties, Top Gear plays in 214 territories around the world (yes, that includes Mexico and Argentina). In the process Mr Clarkson has helped make the show one of the BBC’s most powerful brands, making an estimated £150m for the corporation to boot.
Sure, there are things Clarkson says and does which make me wince, and clearly no-one condones violence. But in this day and age of beige, boring brands, it’s a breath of fresh air to find some that add a little colour and spice into an otherwise politically correct world.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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