Jeremy Clarkson Has Been Suspended From Top Gear, Next Episode Cancelled [Updated]

So we're not sure this is going to end well. Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended from Top Gear, and this week's episode isn't being broadcast. Yikes!

In a brief statement, the BBC has said that Clarkson was suspended following a "fracas" with a producer. Clarkson's producer-baiting is legendary on the show, but whether the fracas involved one of his infamous verbal gaffes or a more physical altercation isn't yet clear. Clarkson was said to be on his final warning after an incident involving a racial slur last year. On the other hand, Top Gear is one of the BBC's most profitable productions, and thrives in part on controversy.

The immediate impact is that this week's episode isn't being broadcast -- a decision that will impact BBC Knowledge in Australia, which has been fast-tracking each broadcast on Mondays. We imagine there'll be a repeat instead.

The suspension appears to cover two episodes; there's no telling what happens after that, but it's hard to imagine the current format without Clarkson, who normally takes the lead in hosting. [Guardian]

Update: the Radio Times reports that the suspension was due to Clarkson allegedly "punching a producer", and that the remaining three episodes of this season have been cancelled.