'Top Gear' producer follows Clarkson out: BBC

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 23, 2015 3:02 PM

LONDON (Reuters) - There was further fallout on Thursday from the BBC's sacking of "Top Gear" presenter Jeremy Clarkson, as Britain's public broadcaster confirmed the producer of the top-rated motoring show was also leaving.

The BBC said on its website Andy Wilman "has quit the BBC show in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson's departure".

It added that Wilman "was an old schoolfriend of Clarkson, helped reinvent the show and oversaw its growth into a globally successful program".

Wilman had previously denied he was leaving when a leaked email suggested he was, the BBC said.

Clarkson, an opinionated and outspoken media figure, was suspended by the BBC in March after he was involved in a "fracas" while on a shoot for the show, which is syndicated around the world and is one of the BBC's most successful and lucrative programs.

Just over two weeks later, the BBC announced it had dropped Clarkson, saying he had been responsible for an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” that left a colleague bleeding and in need of hospital treatment.

A BBC investigation found that Clarkson had subjected Oisin Tymon to a 30-second physical attack following a sustained verbal tirade, after which Tymon sought medical help.

Clarkson, who had generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly-funded broadcaster, had been on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

Last October the show sparked a diplomatic incident between Britain and Argentina, which went to war in 1982 over the Falkland Islands.

A Top Gear television crew was forced to flee Argentina after driving a Porsche 928 GT with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict.

(Reporting by Michael Roddy; Editing by Andrew Roche)