As controversial Doncaster-born television presenter Jeremy Clarkson celebrates his 56th birthday today, he can look back on a career with a mixture of highlights and pitfalls.
Making his arrival into the world on April 11, 1960, Clarkson is now preparing for a new chapter in his career thanks to a new series via Amazon.
It comes after his highly publicised departure from the BBC last year following the infamous “fracas” which ended his Top Gear stint.
Born to teacher Shirley Gabrielle Clarkson and travelling salesman Edward Grenville Clarkson, the couple, who ran a business selling tea cosies, put their son’s name down in advance for private schools with no idea how they were going to pay the fees.
But when he was 13, they made two Paddington Bear stuffed toys for each of their children and the bears proved so popular that they started selling them through the business with sufficient success to be able to pay the fees for Clarkson to attend Hill House School and later Repton School from which he was expelled, by his own admission for “drinking, smoking and generally making a nuisance of himself.”
His first job was as a travelling salesman for his parents’ business selling the Paddington Bear toys and later trained as a journalist with the Rotherham Advertiser, before also writing for the Rochdale Observer, Wolverhampton Express and Star, Lincolnshire Life, Shropshire Star and Associated Kent Newspapers. He went on to set up his own motoring press agency.
Clarkson’s first TV role came in 1988 when he first appeared on Top Gear and since, the Burghwallis born host has become a household name along with colleagues James May and Richard Hammond, making waves around the world with his outspoken views.