Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Tuesday, 13 October 2009 09:39 UK

Clarkson - 'talking money is vulgar'

by Fiona Pryor
BBC News reporter

Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson (centre) with Richard Hammond and James May.

"Sometimes a little voice in my head goes 'maybe I shouldn't have said that' but then it's too late," says Jeremy Clarkson.

Known for his controversial remarks and outspoken views, the Top Gear presenter adds: "My mouth isn't connected to my brain, it's just ears, mouth and speak. That's the trouble."

Despite that, the 49-year-old, who was at the launch of the Top Gear Live show, seems to want to steer away from controversy.

When asked about his thoughts on the Strictly Come Dancing ageism row, involving Arlene Phillips, he insists he has never heard of the former judge.

Instead, he tells everyone has is an X Factor fan, but cannot comment on the new format as he is yet to see any of this series.

Fronting the ever-popular BBC show Top Gear, Clarkson is one of the corporation's most high-profile stars.

Unashamed to voice his opinions, when it comes to talking money, he refuses to be drawn on the subject.

Jeremy Clarkson
I'm literally not the slightest bit interested in money. I just don't pay any attention to money, it's rather vulgar
Jeremy Clarkson

Despite Chris Moyles and Jonathan Ross admitting they have taken a pay cut along with the rest of the BBC's top earners, Clarkson claims he has "no idea" whether his pay cheque has also been slashed.

"I read in the papers how much I'm earning and fall about laughing because I'm sure it's not that much, otherwise I'd have an enormous boat," he laughs.

"I'm literally not the slightest bit interested in money. I just don't pay any attention to money, it's rather vulgar."

The only finances he claims he wants to hear about are the yearly budgets for Top Gear.

"I have a big interest in how much money we can spend on the programme because obviously the more money we can spend on the programme, the better it is," he says.

With the BBC recently announcing plans to employ an older female news presenter, thoughts turn to whether a woman would be greeted on Top Gear.

"Well that means one of us [James May or Richard Hammond] would have to go, and none of us is really ready to give it up just yet," he says.

Strength to strength

Indeed, why would either of them be in any hurry to move on to other projects?

They spend their days racing fast cars, critiquing engines and travelling to different parts of the world; some might say they are living every man's dream.

"The fact of the matter is, I don't think anyone watches Trinny and Susannah and says 'do you know it would be better if a man was on there'," Clarkson says.

"But everybody seems to look at Top Gear and say 'why's there no woman?'

"The viewing figures suggest that no-one really cares, it's a good show, just leave it alone."

In fact, the show does seem to go from strength to strength and even Clarkson cannot believe its popularity.

"I just do not understand it," he says.

Everybody seems to look at Top Gear and say 'why's there no woman?'

"I used to put it down to Richard Hammond's looks but they've gone off quite badly, so it isn't that any more," he laughs.

"The last series was something like its 13th and had even bigger viewing figures than ever before. Most programmes have had it after five or six."

It is because of its strong fanbase that the format of the programme was made into a live show, which is now going global.

"It's a live show, think of a circus, but instead of men with big shoes, it's cars on fire, going upside down, the Stig clowning around, it really is an hour-and-a-half of just bonkers entertainment," Clarkson says.

Producers are expecting over 340,000 fans to go and see the show, across four continents.

Each leg will consist of 10 performances and over the course of the entire tour, 135 trucks will used, three ships and 84 cars.

The fact it is live does not faze him either, as he "absolutely loves it".

He adds: "You can do it, get it finished, then go to the pub and get drunk."

The first Live Show starts on 5 November in London and ends in Auckland, New Zealand on 18 February.



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