Jeremy Clarkson has gained millions of fans across the globe after his huge success as presenter of one of, if not the largest motoring show in the world, Top Gear. And if he wasn’t a household name for that, he certainly became one in 2015 after the BBC chose to not continue his contract after the ‘fracas’ between Clarkson and producer Oisin Tymon.
But while this fame means a higher income than most, travelling around the world and fancy cars, it also comes at a price. The ex-Top Gear presenter explained in a recent interview on the Andy Jaye podcast that “you are expected to give over your entire life”.
When asked about how he deals with this level of fame, he answers simply:
“I’m very fortunate in that I’ve sort of developed a curmudgeonly image I suppose, which means that when I tell people to ‘Go away,’ let’s say, when they ask for a selfie, some people are actually quite pleased that I’ve been rude to them because it’s what they were expecting.
“They’re like, ‘Oh he’s just told me to…’ I won’t say the word.
“They actually want to be told to ‘Go away’ by me, so they’re pleased that I crossly tell them to ‘Get lost’.
“I try not to with children obviously, but when a fully grown man says, ‘Can I pose with you for a photograph?’
“I think Oh, for heaven’s sake, what are you going to do with it?
“So yeah, I don’t really do selfies, that’s one of the great things about Covid, you can go out with a beanie on and a face mask and if they do recognise you, you can also go, ‘Sorry I can’t be within six metres, go away’.”
But reactions to Clarkson from the public reached a new level as he admits the one time it was taken too far.
“People listening will think, ‘Oh he’s stuck up’ and I get that but the fact is, when it is every single minute, or for example, you’ve come out of your mum’s funeral and they are like, ‘Let’s have a selfie’.
“This is what people don’t understand, there are times where you can be in a desperate hurry or sometimes people can just be b****y rude.”
Fame is a difficult thing. It comes in many ways and can negatively affect a life regardless of whether it comes in a positive or negative way. Chris Harris, now-presenter of Top Gear, admitted earlier this year that he was severely affected by the hate he received from fans of the original Top Gear. He pushed himself to talk to a professional and has been since then.