Organisers of the Australian leg of the Top Gear Festival have confirmed that the event will be postponed in the wake of Jeremy Clarkson’s sacking by the BBC.
The forthcoming event was originally scheduled to occur on April 18-19 at Sydney Motorsport Park before Clarkson was fired for punching one of the TV show’s producers in an argument after catering.
The event has subsequently been delayed until July with a significantly altered format, as well as being stripped of all branding and content associated with the BBC and Top Gear. The shows will now take place as indoor arena events in Melbourne on July 18-19 and in Sydney on July 25-26; they will be renamed ‘Clarkson, Hammond and May Live’.
“So as not to disappoint the thousands of people around the world who have already purchased tickets, BBC Worldwide has agreed with our joint venture partner Brand Events that the remainder of the tour can continue. These events will not however feature any BBC Top Gear branding or content. We believe this is a sensible approach in the circumstances,” a statement from BBC Worldwide reads.
“The live shows that were due to have taken place in Stavanger, Norway last weekend have been re-scheduled to 20-21 June. We are confirming the full details directly to ticket holders in their local markets.”
The full extent of the shows’ format changes is not yet known, although it appears unlikely they will be able to use any personalities or segments from the TV show, such as The Stig or the ‘Star in a Reasonably Priced Car’.
The decision came from crisis talks between the BBC and its partners to avert millions of dollars in damages from cancelling the shows.
Ticket holders for the original Australian event will be able to exchange their original tickets once the new-look show’s seats go on-sale – the sale date will be announced next week – and will be given a priority dedicated period to exchange or refund their originally-purchased tickets, organisers of the Australian tour leg have confirmed to RichardsF1.com.
The future of the Top Gear TV show remains under a cloud. The final three episodes of the series’ current season were pulled from the BBC broadcasting schedule when Clarkson was first suspended while the investigation into the assault allegations got underway, and no further announcement as to whether they will be aired has been forthcoming.
Clarkson’s former co-hosts, James May and Richard Hammond, are both understood to be contemplating their future at the network. The show’s longstanding head of production, Andy Wilman, has already announced his resignation to staff in a leaked internal email.
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