While tanks and protesters form ranks around Jeremy Clarkson, the detractors are growing in force too. Greg Dyke, a former director general of the BBC, has branded besieged Top Gear presenter Clarkson an accident waiting to happen.
The BBC, said Dyke, is in a tough spot and cannot really win either way when its official inquiry winds up. Speaking to ITV news, Dyke, now the chairman of the Football Association, said:
First of all, I’d say that I don’t think Jeremy Clarkson is the first presenter I’ve met who would have liked to have thumped his producer – but in truth he is a disaster waiting to happen really for the BBC.
I’m glad I’m not the executive who has to take that decision because if you were, you can’t win either way now.
The results of the BBC’s inquiry are expected this week, perhaps as soon as Tuesday. The inquiry is headed by the head of BBC Scotland, Ken MacQuarrie, who was also at the helm of the investigation into the Newsnight programme that erroneously implicated the Conservative peer Lord McAlpine in a child abuse case.
Clarkson has been suspended since 10 March for punching a producer, but has enjoyed strong support and a petition demanding his reinstatement.
It can of course be argued that Clarkson is an accident that has already happened: he was caught on camera allegedly reciting a racist version of a nursery rhyme. He also used a derogatory term to describe a man crossing a bridge during filming in Myanmar, an incident deemed to be racist by Ofcom.