BBC will not renew suspended presenter Jeremy Clarkson's contract

BBC will not renew suspended presenter Jeremy Clarkson's contract
British television presenter Jeremy Clarkson leaves his home in London March 24, 2015.

LONDON - The BBC said on Wednesday it would not renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the lead presenter of its popular motoring programme "Top Gear" who was suspended after a "fracas" with a producer.

Clarkson, 54, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.

"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract," Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, said in a statement.

Top Gear, which is aired in more than 200 countries, is one of the BBC's most profitable shows but its lead host, a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, has offended, among others, environmental groups, mental health charities and cyclists with his forthright manner.

Last October the show sparked a diplomatic incident between Britain and Argentina, two countries 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.

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