‘Often, things turn mildly physical’ Jeremy Clarkson opens up on being mobbed by fans

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In light of the reaction to the young lads who videoed themselves “harassing” Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Jeremy Clarkson, 61, wondered whether the nation had been a little bit harsh on their punishment. It comes as he revealed that when he’s been accosted in public, things “often turn mildly physical”.

I’ll be surrounded almost immediately by a gang of young men shouting

Jeremy Clarkson

The two men involved in the video were branded “despicable thugs” by Boris Johnson, leading to one losing his job as an estate agent and now being charged with assault.

But The Grand Tour host admitted he doesn’t think it is “entirely fair”, noting that if you’re in the public eye, you “have to expect attention” when out and about in public.

“Especially if you look like a human turtle,” he joked in his latest column for The Sun, before adding: “I don’t look like a turtle, or a human.

“But even so, if I walk past a building site, or a pub, I can pretty much guarantee that I’ll be surrounded almost immediately by a gang of young men shouting ‘One photo. One photo’.

“I could be on my way to a funeral. Or an important meeting. But it doesn’t matter.

“They never take “no” for an answer and often, things turn mildly physical.”

But he reasoned with those wanting to experience his company, continuing: “It’s not thuggery, though.

“It’s just a group of usually good-natured lads, who want a picture.”

Having been in the public eye himself since 1988, the presenter went on to discuss another time he was pestered by fans in a rather crude way.

“I was once accosted at a motorway service station urinal,” he sighed.

“A group of guys seemed very determined to take a photograph of my penis.

“And there’s no point using the cubicles instead because if they know you’re in there, camera phones will soon appear under the door and over the side of the stalls.”

It prompted him to think about how people nowadays seem to live their lives as a series of ten-second movies, pointing out: “All of them are competing for an Oscar.

“That’s why Chris Whitty was accosted as he tried to walk down the street.”

And despite his own trying experiences with fans, Jeremy sympathised with the men’s recent condemnation.

“I doubt they wanted to hurt him or humiliate him,” he shrugged.

“They just wanted some footage which would make their Instagram account more interesting than Gaz’s and Shaz’s. And that doesn’t make them ‘despicable thugs.'”

He added: “Certainly, I don’t see why someone should be sacked for being what? Young?”

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