Clarkson may be challenged for his position as Top Gear presenter
Clarkson may be challenged for his position as Top Gear presenter INM

Jeremy Clarkson confesses about divorce and war with BBC

PIERS Morgan has already declared his interest in filling the perhaps soon to be vacant post of Top Gear presenter.

If, that is, the BBC decides Jeremy Clarkson finally went too far when he allegedly punched a show producer during a disciplinary inquiry.

"Having started the rumour myself, I'm happy to fuel it," he said on talkSPORT last week.

"I'm younger than Clarkson, I'm obviously better looking than Clarkson. I think I know about cars and can bring a bit of pizazz to Top Gear, so why shouldn't I be in the frame?"

He was probably joking. But that didn't stop the Daily Mail's US Editor-At-Large from penning a tell-all column about the conversations that took place between him and his former foe during the five-hour pub session that eventually led to the end of their 10-year feud last year.

"Part of me, I confess, wanted to run straight into the streets of Beverly Hills and do a one-man conga while chanting 'Bye bye Jeremy, baby goodbye, bye bye Jeremy, don't make me cry (with laughter)'," he writes, before remembering they were friends now, having met to talk through their issues at a Kensington pub last summer.

"He arrived on a bicycle, me on foot, and we marched to the bar like gladiators who had just emerged from the carnage of the Colosseum, bloodied, speared, stabbed and bitten by lions - but alive.

"I ordered a pint of London Pride bitter, he asked for a large glass of rosé wine, then sat at a table in the patio garden.

"For the first half an hour, it was excruciatingly awkward. When you've spent a decade publicly abusing, denigrating and brawling with someone, it's quite hard to hit the STOP button and pretend like nothing's happened.

"There were several tense moments early on when I feared the forced bonhomie might suddenly disintegrate into a scene reminiscent of Hugh Grant and Colin Firth's absurd fountain fight in Bridget Jones 2. But alcohol slowly alleviated the tension."

"'Morgan,' he sighed, 'I'm going through a difficult divorce, my first ex-wife has also came out of the woodwork to give me hell, I'm smoking too much, drinking too much, my back hurts, I'm all over the papers with this N-word scandal, I'm at war with my BBC bosses, and my mother has just died. I simply don't have the energy for you any more.'

"I'm actually relieved,' I replied, 'because I've run out of vile epithets in the English language to deploy about you. There are only so many ways I can call you a fat, useless ****."

Clarkson separated from wife of 21 years, Frances, who also managed his career, in May last year.

Elsewhere, Morgan describes one particularly harrowing scene at a party in Venice the pair attended recently, at which they "'danced' together to a live set from Duran Duran, both punching the air to 'The Wild Boys' and 'Notorious'".

Clarkson and Morgan first fell out during his time as the editor of the Daily Mirror, after he published a string of "compromising" photographs of the Top Gear presenter with a senior female BBC executive.

Clarkson is yet to hear his fate as a BBC employee. Four live Top Gear performances in Stavanger, Norway were due to be held on 27 and 28 March, but have since been cancelled.

About 18,000 tickets, costing up to £100, for the shows had been sold.

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