Jeremy Clarkson: who is the former Top Gear host, how old is he - and who are his family?

The former Top Gear host has been married twice, may or may not have any A-Levels, and owes his family wealth to some knockoff Paddington Bear merchandise

Jeremy Clarkson, the television presenter best known as the lead petrolhead on Top Gear (until the fracas) replaced Chris Tarrant as the Who Wants to be a Millionaire? host in 2018.

He returned to the ITV quiz show for the latest season this month, where he will be joined by contestants hoping to win big money.

He was also reunited with his Top Gear and Grand Tour pals James May and Richard Hammond, for The Grand Tour season five opener, A Scandi Flick which landed on Amazon Prime on 16 September.

On the off chance that you’ve never heard of Jeremy Clarkson before – who, according to a YouGov poll, is the fifth most famous television personality in the country – here’s everything you need to know about the former Top Gear host.

Who is Jeremy Clarkson?

Jeremy Clarkson, sat in the host’s chair on set of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (Credit: Stellify Media)

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Jeremy Clarkson is a television personality, best known as the former host of Top Gear. He started his career as a journalist for the Shropshire Star, writing about cars and motoring news, and made the jump to television with the first iteration of Top Gear in October 1988.

Clarkson left that version of Top Gear in 1999, and the series was itself brought to a close in 2001. A year later, however, Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman convinced the BBC to reboot the series with Clarkson as the main host. Richard Hammond and Jason Dawe co-presented with Clarkson, with Dawes replaced by James May from the second series onward.

During his tenure hosting Top Gear, Clarkson attracted criticism (and, from some, praise) for frequent racism. Eventually, the BBC opted not to renew his contract after he punched a crewmember for not bringing him a steak. At the time he assaulted one of his work colleagues, Clarkson was 55.

How old is Jeremy Clarkson?

He’s currently 62. Clarkson was born on 11 April 1960 in Doncaster.

Tell me about Jeremy Clarkson’s family. Does he have a wife? A husband? Any children?

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Clarkson married his first wife Alex Hall in 1989, though they divorced after six months. In 1993, he married his manager Frances Cain; they had three children together and divorced in 2014 after twenty years of marriage.

Since 2017, Clarkson has been in a relationship with screenwriter Lisa Hogan. She does not currently have any screenwriting credits on IMDb.

What’s something that might surprise me about Jeremy Clarkson?

You won’t be surprised to know that Clarkson comes from a relatively wealthy family and went to private school, of course. What is interesting, however, is how his parents came into that money.

His parents ran a tea cosy business Yorkshire, but started to sell knockoff Paddington Bear merchandise. They became popular enough to catch the attention of Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington, who then brought a lawsuit against the family – only to drop it after a chance meeting with Clarkson’s father in an elevator.

Bond granted the family the international merchandising rights to Paddington Bear, which they profited off for some time before eventually selling them to Hamley’s Toy Store. The money they made was enough to send Clarkson to successive private schools.

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How many A-Levels does he have?

That’s an oddly specific question, I can’t think why you’d want to know that, or how it’s really relevant to anything in particular at all. To him, that may well be quite a private, personal thing that he’d rather not discuss openly. You never know!

How famous is he?

Very, realistically. Top Gear was one of the BBC’s most popular programmes, not just in the UK but internationally; even outside of that, though, he’s a high-profile individual, appearing regularly on panel shows like Have I Got News For You, and at one point hosting his own BBC Two chat show called Clarkson.

Since leaving Top Gear, he’s gone on to host The Grand Tour and Clarkson’s Farm at Amazon Prime Video, and the new iteration of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? on ITV.

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According to a YouGov poll taken earlier this year, Jeremy Clarkson is the fifth most famous television personality in the country. That puts him as slightly less famous than Gordon Ramsay, and slightly more famous than Graham Norton.

If you’re the person reading this article having never heard of Jeremy Clarkson before, please do get in touch.

What’s Chris Tarrant up to these days?

Chris Tarrant, who is now 75, is a continuity announcer for the Challenge channel.

Tarrant apparently is slightly less famous than Jason Donovan, but slightly more famous than Davina McCall. That sounds right to me, but do write in to YouGov if you’re inclined to disagree.