The BBC has decided not to renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the hugely-popular but divisive presenter of its motoring programme ''Top Gear.'' As David Pollard reports the show is one of the broadcaster's biggest money makers.
NOTE TO EDITORS: SOUNDBITE CONTAINS A PROFANITY Jeremy Clarkson's crossed the line, according to the BBC. It's not one with a chequered flag. The UK broadcaster's director-general is Tony Hall. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BBC DIRECTOR-GENERAL, TONY HALL, SAYING: "Physical violence followed by prolonged verbal abuse has crossed the line and that's why, with regret, I decided this morning that we will not be renewing Jeremy's contract.'' Clarkson hasn't denied leaving a producer with bruising and a bleeding lip. The incident the latest collateral damage from his controversial fronting of Top Gear. As one of the BBC's most lucrative shows ever - and sold in over 200 countries - it's seen Clarkson already given a final warning over allegations of racist language. Also on the charge sheet: a diplomatic incident between Britain and Argentina. And a list of complaints from environmental groups, mental health charities and cyclists. But he has his fans. More than a million people signing an online petition calling for his reinstatement after he was initially suspended. The show itself now off air and without its best-known face. And co-host James May giving nothing away about its future. (SOUNDBITE) TOP GEAR PRESENTER, JAMES MAY, AND REPORTER SAYING: Reporter: "And what about a possible replacement for Jeremy? Who would you be prepared to work with? Who would you like to work with?" May: "Much as I think he's a knob - I quite liked working with Jeremy." Some are glad to see Clarkson go. Others say it's worse than if his favourite soccer club Chelsea were to lose Diego Costa. Without Clarkson, Top Gear stuck very much in neutral.