Just a week after dropping Jeremy Clarkson from Top Gear, the BBC has announced the star will be back to host the remaining dates in the show’s live tour.
Clarkson was suspended earlier this month after executives were told that he punched producer Oisin Tymon.
The BBC also pulled the final three episodes of the show’s latest series and its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, postponed four live shows due to take place in Norway last weekend.
After an investigation found Tymon had suffered a cut and swollen lip after being punched by the presenter, Director-General Tony Hall last week said Clarkson’s contract would not be renewed.
Unlike co-stars James May and Richard Hammond, Clarkson has appeared at all of the live shows to date and his presence is seen as integral to their popularity.
Recent media reports have suggested the broadcaster could face a compensation bill of around £10m if they stopped the remaining shows from proceeding.
Citing a desire “not to disappoint the thousands of people around the world who have already purchased tickets,” BBC Worldwide has today announced the remaining shows will go-ahead.
However they won’t “feature any BBC Top Gear branding or content” and will instead be branded as Clarkson, Hammond and May Live.
A BBC Worldwide spokesperson said: “We believe this is a sensible approach in the circumstances.”
The shows are a joint venture between Worldwide and Brand Events who said in a statement: “This is a great solution for the fans. We’d like to thank our ticket holders for their continued patience.
“The fans are the most important people to Jeremy, Richard and James so we’re delighted to be able to say ‘we’re still coming’. We’re sure it’ll be something you won’t want to miss.”
Some schedule changes have been announced – the Norway shows will now take place on June 20th and 21st and the Top Gear Festival planned for Sydney in April until July will become an indoor arena show staged in Melbourne on 18-19 July and Sydney on 25 -26 July.
The live show dates are:
22 – 24 May – Belfast
5 – 7 June – Sheffield
13 – 14 June – South Africa
19 – 20 June – Norway
28 – 29 November – London O2