Childhood & Early Life
Jeremy Clarkson was born on April 11, 1960, in Doncaster, Yorkshire. His mother, Shirley Gabrielle, worked as a teacher. His father, Edward Grenville Clarkson, was a traveling salesman. The family also had their own business, selling tea cosies, which was going nowhere. They had no idea how they would pay for Jeremy’s education.
When Jeremy was 13, he received a Paddington Bear stuffed toy as a gift from his parents. This was the beginning of business enterprise their family started soon after. The business turned profitable, and their financial crisis ended. Jeremy attended the ‘Hill House School’ in Doncaster and then joined ‘Repton School.’
Initially, he was a shy and silent child. He was subjected to extreme bullying at ‘Repton School.’ He became suicidal and contemplated killing himself on many occasions. However, he then decided to loosen up and eventually found himself in bad company.
The school was far away from his house. Living alone had a drastic impact on his mind, and he soon turned into a mischievous young kid. He smoked, drank, and created a ruckus in his school. Although he was good at academics, the school management grew tired of his behavior. He was expelled from the school shortly before his A-level exams.
He moved back with his parents and joined the family business of making and selling toys, as a traveling salesman. After a few years, he lost interest in the business and focused on his real interest, cars.
In 1984, from the savings that he had accumulated while working with the family business, he started the ‘Motoring Press Agency’ with journalist Jonathan Gill. They conducted road tests on cars and wrote about them in local newspapers and magazines. The business started to boom. He then trained himself in journalism with ‘Rotherham Advertiser.’
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In the mid-80s, his witty reviews and remarks found their way into major publications such as ‘Performance Car.’ In 1987, he worked briefly for ‘Amstrad Computer User’ and wrote ‘Amstrad CPC’ game reviews. As his popularity grew, he started writing for ‘The Sun’ and ‘The Sunday Times.’ In 1988, he became a TV presenter for the British motoring program ‘Top Gear.’ ‘Top Gear’ magazine was launched in 1993 and Jeremy was associated with it as a reviewer since its initiation, until 2015.
Clarkson’s signature style of being sarcastic in his reviews brought him wide mainstream fame. In 1997, he appeared on the comedy show ‘Room 101.’ Soon, he became a celebrity and appeared on shows such as ‘Friday Night with Jonathan Ross’ and ‘Parkinson.’ He presented ‘Robot Wars,’ a unique series that showcased robot combat competition.
Jeremy presented his very own talk show, ‘Clarkson.’ The show consisted of 27 episodes that ran for 30 minutes and aired between late 1998 and late 2000. The show’s format had Jeremy talking to celebrities belonging to different areas such as politics, entertainment, and music. Jeremy also kept himself busy with several non-motoring ventures, such as producing documentaries on engineering and history.
In 2002, ‘BBC’ presented ‘Top Gear’ in an entirely new format, where Jeremy appeared regularly with James May and Richard Hammond. The golden trio made the show one of the most-watched ‘BBC’ programs of all time. The show was later broadcast in more than 100 countries around the globe. Jeremy then established a company known as ‘Bedder 6,’ which dealt in merchandising and international distribution of the show.
In 2003, he made an appearance on ‘Grumpy Old Men,’ a series in which middle-aged men talked about the things they hated about the modern generation. In addition, he made regular appearances on the shows ‘Question Time’ and ‘Have I Got News for You.’
In 2004, he featured in the ‘BBC’ show ‘Who do You Think You Are?’ The show made the participants track back their ancestors to find out about their remarkable deeds. Jeremy’s great-great-great grandfather was found to be the inventor of the “Kilner jar,” a container used for preserving food.
In 2007, he was awarded the ‘Special Recognition Award’ at the ‘National Television Awards.’ Later that year, an announcement claimed that in 2007, Jeremy had made more than £1 million, owing to his stint with ‘BBC’ and ‘Top Gear’ and the sales of his books and DVDs.
In 2008, Jeremy met with an accident while shooting for ‘Top Gear.’ He crashed a car into a brick wall. Fortunately, he managed to get away with minor injuries.
In 2014, ‘BBC’ acquired ‘Bedder 6,’ Jeremy’s merchandising company. This led him to earn more than £14 million that year.
In July 2015, when Jeremy quit ‘BBC,’ he made an announcement regarding a new show for ‘Amazon Prime’ that was supposed to feature him and his former BBC co-hosts, Richard Hammond and James May. The series, titled ‘The Grand Tour,’ premiered on the video-streaming website in 2016. In March 2018, an announcement stated that Jeremy was to host a revamped version of ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’
Jeremy Clarkson’s exuberant and outspoken personality has landed him in trouble more than once. In a ‘Top Gear’ episode in November 2005, he performed a Nazi salute while reviewing a design that was “quintessentially German.” He also referred to Nazi Germany’s invasion of Poland by saying that the GPS system in the car “only goes to Poland.”
In July 2009, he called the erstwhile British prime minister, Gordon Brown, a “silly cunt.”
It is said that he quit ‘BBC’s ‘Top Gear’ due to a verbal spat he had with one of the show’s producers.
Jeremy Clarkson got married to Alexandra James in 1989. However, the marriage ended in a debacle six months later, when she left him for one of his friends.
In the early 1990s, Jeremy dated his manager Frances Cain. He got married to her in May 1993. The couple had three children. In 2014, reports claimed that the marriage was going through a rough patch.
In August 2017, Jeremy fell critically ill. He was hospitalized and was diagnosed with pneumonia. However, he recovered soon.