Jeremy Clarkson – telly's most hated man?

Jeremy Clarkson might be the finest, wittiest petrolhead since Nigel Mansell hung up his comedy moustache, but not everyone loves the denim-enthusiast. So why is Jezza such a divisive figure? Well, because he's worked so hard at it for one...

Jeremy Clarkson

Jeremy Clarkson might be one of the most-watched men on the planet, but he's not one of the most popular - at least among people who know where to buy tofu or vegetarian shoes. Luckily Jeremy doesn't tend to waste any time trying to win round the naysayers who line up to hurl metaphorical stones or literal custard pies at his frizzy barnet: he's too busy thinking up an un-PC quip to make us laugh and them seethe even more.

In an age of touchy-feely goodwill and enviro-scares only Jez would dare to say "I don't understand bus lanes. Why do poor people have to get to places quicker than I do?" Or 'fess up to his pretty damning verdict on the state school system – "There is no end to the things I'd do to keep my children out of an inner-city state school. I'd rent my car to a minicab firm and my bottom to an internet downloader."

But then that's the beauty of this fast-driving, rock-loving, giant of a man. The green campaigners probably won't have much cared for this quip: "Supercars are supposed to run over Arthur Scargill and then run over him again for good measure. They are designed to melt ice caps, kill the poor, poison the water table, destroy the ozone layer, decimate indigenous wildlife, recapture the Falkland Islands and turn the entire third world into a huge uninhabitable desert, all that before they nicked all the oil in the world." But our Jeremy knows that, and it's like fuel to his supercar of mirth – the more the do-gooders become annoyed, the further he goes out of his way to stoke them up.

It's not just enviro-mentalists who Clarkson has managed to annoy – he isn't exactly the number one pin-up at the lorry drivers' union either, after his little quip about their fine profession on Top Gear. You know the one – "Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."

Or at Gordon Brown's retirement home, either, after he made a comment about the relative eyelessness of our once-esteemed leader. And he's unlikely to be getting any invitations to dinner at Sarah Jessica Parker's in the near future, after describing her as looking like "a boiled horse". In fact there's a fairly mammoth amount of black pen crossings out in Jezza's big book of celeb addresses in which he'd be welcome. Don't expect a Life Stories with Piers Morgan on Jezza anytime soon...

So, that's the tree-huggers and celebs irked, but surely our Jeremy puts a protective arm around his fellow car enthusiasts, and speaks nothing but kindness and...oh. He doesn't, does he? He arguably saves his most hurtful and withering put-downs for the automotive trade, whether saying he's seen "better looking gangrenous wounds" than a Porsche Cayenne or offending pretty much everyone across the Pond by saying "Tonight, the new Viper which is the American equivalent of a sports car. In the same way, I guess, that George Bush is the equivalent of a president."

So there you have it, Jeremy is a man who's always been forthcoming with his opinions whether they're controversial or not. And they usually are, it's fair to say. And that's why we love him – he has balls of steel and refuses to water himself down to win more friends and get invited to more fancy dinners. They'd only cut into time he could be spending on Keira Knightley fantasies and power-laps anyway...

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