He likes cars, hates Australia and has a face so big and craggy it could be an Easter Island statue. He's the one and only Jeremy Clarkson, the man people love to hate, and hate to love. Well that's what you get when you don't give two hoots what anyone thinks of you.
Where motors are concerned, there's no room for subtleties or flowery verbosity. Outrageous, outspoken and quite often out of order, Clarkson boasts an onscreen persona the equivalent of a sledgehammer: a no-nonsense tool, verbally bludgeoning its way through any artifice that stands in its way. He hates vegetarians, the smoking ban, Greenpeace, the congestion charge, fox hunting, the government and unnecessary laws - he’s a champion of the people, tirelessly moaning in his tirade against pointlessness.
As you might expect from one so opinionated, the bear-like, bouffant-haired boy-racer comes from affluent middle-class stock. His parents ran a business selling tea cosies – you don't get more Middle England than that, unless they did it while kitted out in tweed and eating scones. Born in Doncaster in 1961, Jezza's crush on cars was not immediately evident. Maverick behaviour, however, was more apparent, in which his redoubtable magistrate mother may have been an influence. His claims of being expelled from public school for drinking, smoking and copping off with girls, while perhaps not being necessarily true, all add to the larger-than-life legend. This is a man that punched Piers Morgan in the face, attacks the paparazzi and generally deserves a medal for being absolutely awesome.
Despite the fact he always seems to have looked the same, Clarkson was only 28 when he first presented Top Gear way back in 1989. Not bad for a former journalist who learnt his trade in the humble surroundings of the Rotherham Advertiser. The car calling came when he passed his driving test at the wheel of his grandfathers 'R' type Bentley. It wasn't long before pen mixed with passion, which lead to him forming the Motoring Press Agency in 1984, as well as contributing to most of the specialist car magazines over the forthcoming years.
In spite of that hair and those jeans, our Jezza has, of course, gone on to pursue a highly successful TV career, even though most screens struggle to contain his hulking ego. His love for jeans caused a drop in denim sales in the 90’s as they became associated with middle-aged men. It’s called the Jeremy Clarkson effect and is something we’re sure he’s very proud of. Even Trinny and Susannah failed to change his style, and he’s regularly topping worst dressed lists. He’s also a massive Genesis fan which is about as uncool as it gets. Essentially he's the nation's embarrassing uncle but that’s why we love him so.
Our Jeremy He also has regular columns in The Sun and The Sunday Times where he inflicts his venomous opinions and grumpy observations upon the general public. He’s also a regular guest host for Have I Got News for You, the mark of any established comedian. But perhaps his most interesting job was actually way, way back, when he was a salesman for a company that made Paddington Bear toys. And why is this so fascinating? Well, believe it or not his mum actually made the very first Paddington Bear for Clarkson when he was a toddler - and later formed a company mass-producing the cuddly toys.
With Top Gear going strong, Jezza continuing to offend and upset the nation and no sign of him mellowing as he edges towards his mobility scooter years, he's still top dog when it comes to motors, and long may he reign. All hail Clarkson.