TONIGHT: Richard is mute, James talks nobs, and Jeremy has a death army

Illustration for article titled TONIGHT: Richard is mute, James talks nobs, and Jeremy has a death army

The death threats are already circling the offices of the BBC after the national broadcaster's Tony Hall dropped the axe (presumably from a ladder) onto aphoristic fisticuffsman Jeremy Clarkson.

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In case you haven't seen the Top Gear presenter's not exactly famously active Twitter account lately, his newest news is no news, but the even newer news is far worse than nothing. He's fired for his part in an on-set presenter-on-producer fracas that included a more creative use of his fists than usual.

That doesn't mean he's not coming back, but it does mean that other people can sharpen their internet pens and prepare for war, and the avalanche of murder-related how-do-you-do's has caused the Hall household to adopt some new rather extreme security measures.

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But that might be a bit hasty considering how Titanic Clarkson's following is. Sure he may be sinking, but many appear at the ready to go down with him. The viral petition demanding Clarkson's Freedom to Fracas has long since hit a million signatures.

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That surely the BBC has been made aware of Clarkson's drawing power will help him a lot here, even if it's not immediately. The American ideal of everyone deserving a second (or twentieth) chance is a concept ripe for crossing the pond, and that certainly applies to Jeremy Clarkson. The more famous the fallen idol, the more likely we've been to Robert Downey Jr. them back up onto a pedestal.

Of course Clarkson has done this sort of thing before, though he tends to use wit or boorish churlisms rather than his five-fingered drunken friends to settle arguments. He's made himself out as a born antagonizer. He knows his enemies, he knows his friends, and he uses that knowledge to push their buttons for our amusement.

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And until recently, he seemed to know his limit. Now we all know that limit is a cold plate of meat after a hot day of filming. Will his reaction (and the BBC's reaction) to that ill-temperate meat be a bloodbath? With at least James still taking Clarkson's side (and calling him a nob) let's wait and see rather than breaking out the whiskey, bagpipes and shovels for 'ol Jezza.

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