Speculation is mounting that Jeremy Clarkson’s new Amazon Prime show be called Gear Knobs, after BuzzFeed discovered a trademark application for the cheeky title by Clarkson’s lawyers, Olswang.
The application was made a fortnight before the former Top Gear presenter announced a deal worth a reported £160m to make a new series with Amazon. It was filed through a shell company, which has also registered the title “Gear Knobs”.
A third title – Speedbirds – was also registered by the lawyers. The Daily Mirror wonders if this name could be new moniker for “a Stig-like character in Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new show”. The filings mean the titles can be used for TV shows and merchandising.
The Top Gear brand was worth an estimated £150m a year in sales to the BBC through a lucrative combination of live shows, DVD sales, and all manner of branded merchandise, including Stig bubble bath and Top Gear birthday cakes.
However, the risqué names may not be what Amazon has in mind. Although the applications were made in the middle of July, at the end of August the company’s boss Roy Price said the team were still struggling to find a name for the show.
When asked about the reported new title, an Amazon spokesman said: “Amazon does not comment on speculation.” Clarkson himself was unavailable for comment on the story.
Earlier this week, his sidekick James May tweeted a photograph of himself with the caption “Here I am again, looking like a nob.”
Before he begins work on his new show, Clarkson will return to the BBC as host of an episode of the satirical news quiz Have I Got News For You.
It will be his first appearance on the BBC since he was dropped from Top Gear after punching producer Oisin Tymon, says BBC News.
After a protracted investigation into the incident, BBC director-general Tony Hall decided not to renew the presenter’s contract, saying that “a line has been crossed” and “there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another”.
Clarkson’s appearance on Have I Got News For You will coincide with the start of the show’s 50th series.
The 55-year-old presenter had been due to host an episode of the show in April, but pulled out after the so-called ‘fracas’ that cost him his job at Top Gear.
At the time, a statement from production company Hat Trick said: “On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year.”
Meanwhile, Sky has taken a much firmer line on the prospect of working with Clarkson in the future.
Stuart Murphy, the broadcaster’s entertainment chief, said that he had a ten-second conversation with his colleagues about whether they would like to employ Clarkson after he was dropped by the BBC. But “who nowadays is happy” working with someone who used the n-word, he asked an audience at the Royal Television Society convention last week, The Guardian reports.
Clarkson once mumbled the word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, meeny, miny, moe during an episode of Top Gear.
“His view was it wasn’t transmitted,” said Murphy. “Come on. There’s no need to say that. For him to be so tentative about his apology and loving the fact that he’s a naughty schoolboy. Grow up. It’s a different age, grow up.”
The upshot of Murphy’s short conversation with his colleagues was that none of them were happy to employ Clarkson.
“We are a family brand,” said Murphy. “It would have been short-term gain for long-term mess. He’s not someone we want to work with.”
Clarkson is currently on holiday, but is expected to begin preliminary work on his Amazon show in the next few months.