Sunday, 22 July 2007

Biography 2: Jeremy Clarkson

The second biography was a choice between the two men who have both made 6 appearances on QI: Jeremy Clarkson and Dara O’Briain. Naturally, as QI works alphabetically, so will the biographies, and this week’s focus is the living legend that is Mr Jeremy Clarkson.

Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson was born on April 11, 1960, in Doncaster. He was educated at Repton School, although he claims to have been expelled for drinking and smoking. In 1984, he combined his writing skills with his love of cars, and together with business partner Jonathan Gill, they formed the Motoring Press Agency (later MPA Fingal), conducting road-tests for local newspapers. He first began presenting the BBC motoring show Top Gear, in 1989, doing so until 1999 and again from 2002. It is for this show that he is most well-known. His current co-presenters are James May and Richard Hammond. Stephen Grant, the warm-up comedian at QI recordings, could have replaced James May as a co-presenter. In auditions to replace Jason Dawe he reached the final two. Producers chose James May because Stephen was too similar to Richard Hammond. Top Gear is now the most watched TV show on BBC Two, with about 350 million viewers around the world. It won an International Emmy in 2005, for the best non-scripted entertainment show that was not broadcast in the U.S. In spite of his penchant for fast driving and high-perfomance automobiles, Clarkson has remarkably been reported as having a clean driving licence record.

Clarkson is known to be opinionated and forthright in his views. He was once described by Tony Parsons in the Daily Mirror as a "dazzling hero of political incorrectness". He has criticised Piers Morgan, America, Hyundai, Rover, BMW, Politicians, cyclists, bus drivers, Wales and students at Oxford Brookes University (after a talk, a student threw a meringue pie in his face, but took it in good humour, claiming the pie had too much sugar). He has also championed Isambard Kingdom Brunel as the Greatest Briton. He has taken a keen interest in engineering, presenting programmes on British inventions like the Colossus computer.

He appeared briefly in the British version of the Pixar movie Cars as Lightning McQueen’s manager Harv. He has been blamed for poor denim sales in the UK, being called one of the “world’s worst-dressed celebrities” in an edition of What Not To Wear. He has also driven the London Marathon course in normal traffic, with a runner beating him by 8 minutes.

On QI Jeremy has won 2 episodes. When Stephen asked the panelists to predict their own scores Jeremy made a prediction of –29. However, he scored 0 prompting Stephen Fry to say he “did a lot better than he thought”. He was criticised by the RSPCA for his explanation on QI of the taste of whale and a seal flipper with grated puffin (which taste like “steak but with an irony texture” and “like licking a hot Turkish urinal” respectively).

No comments: