Jeremy Clarkson is a controversial English motoring journalist and television presenter best known for co-hosting the BBC motoring magazine programme Top Gear.
Clarkson is one of the best-known and most controversial personalities in Britain. His opinionated but tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public.
Clarkson was born in Doncaster (a town in the North of England). His mother was a teacher and his father a travelling salesman.
He was educated at Repton School (a public school) and as a pre-pubescent youth Clarkson played the role of the popular fictional public schoolboy JCT Jennings in a BBC radio Children's Hour serial adaptation of Anthony Buckeridge's novels until his voice broke.
He was later expelled from Repton for "drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself".
Having long been a motoring enthusiast (Clarkson passed his driving test in his grandfather's 'R' Type
Bentley), after leaving school he trained as a journalist on the Rotherham Advertiser, before forming the Motoring Press Agency in 1984. During the 1980s, he wrote for specialist car magazines such as Performance Car.
Clarkson is most famous for Top Gear, which he presented from 1989 to 1999, and then returned to in 2002 when the show underwent a format change. He is the tall (6 ft 5 in), larger-than-life one in denims who is always teasing the others. His outspoken opinions are the only reason for some people tuning into the show.
Clarkson has also presented other motoring-related series such as Star Cars, Clarkson's Car Years, Speed and Jeremy Clarkson's Motorworld. He also writes weekly columns for The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers.
In addition to cars, Clarkson has a keen interest in the British Armed Forces (he once had a jet fighter in the front garden of his country home until the council ordered him to remove it) and is passionate about engineering, especially pioneering work, and has presented several TV shows on these subjects.
His non-motoring shows include his own chat show Clarkson (1998); Jeremy Clarkson's Extreme Machines (1998); Robot Wars (1997), he presented the first series of the UK version; Jeremy Clarkson Meets The Neighbours – a notorious Europhobe, he travelled around Europe, confronting (and in some cases reinforcing) his prejudices; Have I Got News For You (guest host three times); Inventions That Changed the World; and Great Britons, in which he championed Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
He has frequently been a guest on various chat shows, he has also contributed to Grumpy Old Men, guest hosted Top of the Pops and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, appeared as a contestant on celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay's show The F Word, traced his ancestry on Who Do You Think You Are? (his great great-great grandfather invented the Kilner jar) and even appeared as the car driver in Mr Blobby's Christmas UK number 1 music video in 1993.
He has written a number of books, including Motorworld (1996), Clarkson on Cars (1996), Jeremy
Clarkson's Hot 100 (1997), Jeremy Clarkson's Planet Dagenham (1998), Born to Be Riled (1999), Jeremy Clarkson on Ferrari (2000), The World According to Clarkson (2004, number one in the charts for eight weeks), I Know You Got Soul (2004), And Another Thing: The World According to Clarkson:volume 2 (2006), Don't Stop Me Now (2007) and For Crying Out Loud: The World According toClarkson: volume 3 (2008).
He has an honorary degree from Brunel University (2003), and an honorary engineering doctorate from the School of Technology at Oxford Brookes University (2005). At the photo call following the latter ceremony, a green protester threw a banana meringue pie in his face. His response was good humoured, "Good shot!... Delicious... kind of banana taste but too much sugar."
Clarkson married his agent/manager, Frances Cain, in May 1993. They currently live in Chipping Norton, in the English Cotswolds, with their three children (born 1994, 1996 and 1998), plus chickens and three donkeys. They also have a lighthouse as a second home on the Isle of Man.