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Jeremy Clarkson: Panto Villain or Just Plain Villain?

The mass walkout of public sector workers last week has apparently not been in vain and has achieved an important goal – they highlighted the release of Jeremy Clarkson’s new book (probably not the result they were looking for).

Having been asked for his opinion of the strikes on BBC’s The One Show, Clarkson said of the strikers ‘they should be taken out and shot in front of their families’ causing a furore to erupt and leaving the BBC to once again apologise for the antics of one of its favourite sons.

But were Clarkson’s comments naively insensitive or a brilliant publicity stunt to advertise the release of his latest book?

Clarkson has built a career out of being a controversial panto villain figure and this is the latest in a long line of gaffes that have been the foundation of his career. At the beginning of the year the BBC had to apologise after Clarkson and his cronies were accused of anti-Mexican rants after referring to Mexicans as often being ‘lazy and flatulent’.

But this is all part of the character that Clarkson has developed which has made him a millionaire. The privately educated Top Gear presenter thrives off controversy and understands the value of creating a media storm. Brandwatch has already speculated that Clarkson’s publishers will be ‘rubbing their hands with delight’ over his latest antics as his comments have dominated the media surrounding the strikes. This will undoubtedly do wonders for the sale of his book (admittedly probably not with public sector employees).

Ultimately, like him or loathe him, Clarkson knows how to work the media to his advantage and this latest escapade will probably do little lasting damage to his reputation. While the BBC scramble to apologise and the strikers look to return the spotlight onto the initial issues, Clarkson will undoubtedly see in the New Year with soaring book sales.