Jeremy Clarkson criticises Covid scientists, saying ‘if you die, you die’

Broadcaster complains about caution shown by ‘communists at Sage’ over reopening society

It is a long list that includes travellers, cyclists, animal rights activists, lorry drivers, George Michael and Liverpool. Now Jeremy Clarkson has opened himself up to more anger after he criticised “those communists at Sage” preventing opening up because, he argues, “if you die, you die.”

In an interview with the Radio Times, Clarkson gives his views on the pandemic and what should happen next. Many will find his thoughts typically boorish and insensitive.

“When it started, I read up on pandemics and they tend to be four years long,” he said.

“I think the politicians should sometimes tell those communists at Sage to get back in their box. Let’s just all go through life with our fingers crossed and a smile on our face. I can see Boris doesn’t want to open it up and shut us back down again. But if it’s going to be four years … and who knows, it could be 40 years.”

Or it could be for ever. “Well, if it’s going to be for ever, let’s open it up and if you die, you die.”

Clarkson’s comments come as he was on Monday labelled the “Grand Bore” by, of all publications, the Daily Star. It published on its front page an unflattering photograph of a topless Clarkson and asked: “Why is it the tubs of lard who are so critical of our Olympic heroes?”

That backlash came after a newspaper column in which he dismissed shot putting, diving and dressage as pointless fringe sports. Why do we care, he asked. “Nothing marks out a country’s minor-league standing more effectively than its pride in things that really don’t matter.”

Clarkson was being interviewed with producer Andy Wilman and presenters James May and Richard Hammond to talk about their special lockdown edition of the Amazon Prime show The Grand Tour.

Filming in a pandemic was challenging, they tell the Radio Times, with the team having to create a travelling laboratory so that all 60 people on the shoot could be tested every day. A single positive result would have ended the shoot and incurred huge cancellation costs.

Wilman recalled hearing the tape of Tom Cruise screaming obscenities at crew members on the set of Mission Impossible 7 after Covid protocols were violated.

They “were on his side completely”, said Wilman. “It was worse for us because the protocols were drawn up for dramas shot in a single location, whereas we were on a road trip.”


Mark Brown Arts correspondent

The GuardianTramp

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