So there are two questions in light of Clarkson being ‘sacked’.
1. Can the BBC win back the fans whilst reinventing a format for Top Gear without the key constituencies at the heart of the show. Is there a creative genius still throbbing inside the BBC to triumph with a new show and gather a new Global audience?
2. Can Clarkson take his own particular genius to a different channel and start again with the same success?
Only time will tell now.
Still, the handling of this affair, given the strength of the social media support for Clarkson, proves the Corporation has shown robust leadership, taking control by not reacting to the media agenda or influences all over Twitter.
Whether or not the format can survive in the long run without Clarkson is another question, such is his undoubted charisma. He may well be a Marmite brand, but many people loved his brash and schoolboyish antics, his quick wit and two fingered salute at liberal mentalities. In the short term at least, any new presenter will gather noise and then more than likely suffer the torment of comparison!
Whether Clarkson can survive without Top Gear is another matter. Can he live without the programme and will this latest set back challenge him to put some of his well documented demons to rest and come back smarter than ever. And what about the million people who signed the petition to keep Clarkson in a job. Perhaps they are an insignificant minority in the eyes of the BEEB?
Top Gear, which began as a straight show about cars, has in its current incarnation become popular worldwide, watched by about 350 million viewers in 170 countries. It has been called the world’s most popular fact-based program, and it earns millions for the BBC and up until now, the hapless Mr Clarkson. So the BBC must pray they can save it, and that ‘insignificant’ million that Clarkson emerges stronger elsewhere.