Jeremy Clarkson

From Academic Kids

Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born April 11, 1960 in Doncaster) is a British motoring journalist and television presenter. He is known for his physically imposing presence, and ebulliently robust manner. He is forthright in his opinions, to the point where some consider him rude and arrogant, and others entertaining.

Contents

Biography

Clarkson was educated at Repton School. Having long been a motoring enthusiast (Clarkson passed his driving test in his grandfather's 'R' Type Bentley), after leaving school he trained as a journalist on the Rotherham Advertiser, before forming the Motoring Press Agency in 1984. During the 1980s he wrote for specialist car magazines such as Performance Car.

As a boy, he was co-recipient (with his sister) of the first Paddington Bear stuffed-toy, based on the popular children's stories. It was made by his mother Shirley Clarkson as a christmas present, but the design eventually became the most popular children's toy in Britain. As an act of rebellion Clarkson began to support Bulgarian soccer team Spartak Varna and has reputedly not missed a home match since 1987.

Television career

The television show he is most associated with is the motoring programme Top Gear, which he has presented from 1989 to 1999, before returning in 2002 when the show underwent a format change. He also presented other motoring-related series such as Star Cars and Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld.

Non-motoring shows he has starred in include:

  • Clarkson (1998): A one-series chat show.
  • Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines (1998): where he rode all manner of machines, including a plane, a submarine and an airboat.
  • Robot Wars (1997): Clarkson presented the first series of the UK version.
  • Jeremy Clarkson Meets The Neighbours: A notorious Europhobe, Clarkson travelled around Europe, confronting (and in some cases reinforcing) his prejudices.
  • Have I Got News For You: hosted two episodes, the first in 2002 and the second in 2005.

Newspaper journalism

Clarkson writes a weekly motoring column for the Sunday Times newspaper. He has a talent for sardonic prose style, and his newspaper columns invariably begin with what seems to be a massive red herring before somehow arriving at the car that is being reviewed that week.

He also has written for The Sun newspaper and Esquire magazine. Clarkson's politics are generally right-wing, and he will often write on what he sees as the interference of the 'nanny state' although unlike other columnists, he is more scornful of the United States than of the European Union. His political views, combined with his ebullient manner, usually strike a chord with his readership, while infuriating his detractors.

Other interests

Clarkson is interested not only in cars but engineering in general, especially pioneering work, as his programmes on Brunel and the Colossus computer have shown. In April 2004, Clarkson appeared on the British talk show Parkinson and mentioned that he was writing a book about the 'soul' many machines have. He cited Concorde as his primary example: when people heard it had crashed, quite aside from the sadness they felt for the loss of human life, there was also almost a sadness for the machine. The book, titled I Know You Got Soul, was published in October 2004.

Clarkson, being one of the passengers on the last BA Concorde flight on October 24, 2003, paraphrased Neil Armstrong to describe the retiring of Concorde: "This is one small step for a man, but one huge leap backwards for mankind".

Honorary Degree Controversy

Clarkson's alleged passion for quality engineering led to him being awarded an honorary degree from Brunel University in 2003. In 2005, the School of Technology at Oxford Brookes University nominated him for another honorary degree on the same grounds. This led to protests from a wide range of people, from staff and students members at Brookes, supporters of MG and Rover cars, former workers at MG Rover's Longbridge factory in Birmingham, the Oxford Green Party, environmentalist stance and the University's stated commitment to "ensuring the understanding and care of people and stewardship of environmental and public resources".

Personal life

Clarkson lives in the Cotswolds countryside near Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, with his wife Francie (who is also his agent), and their three children, Emily, Finlo and Katya. Francie's father, Major Robert Henry Cain VC, was awarded a Victoria Cross for his gallantry during Operation Market Garden. Clarkson regularly refers to his family on Top Gear or in his newspaper columns, often with humour; for example, noting how resistant to damage the trim in demonstrator cars is once his children are let loose in the back, which can be a help to readers with children looking to buy a new car. His house briefly had a jet fighter aircraft in the garden, the delivery of which was shown as part of one of his TV shows. However this was a set-up for the show and the aeroplane in question, English Electric Lightning XM172, is now back with the Farnborough preservation group.

Clarkson and his wife perform charity work, especially in his locale, that often goes unnoticed. He has recently found out that he will need a hip replacement in several years' time.

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