- "Please welcome the man who gets heavy with the metal, Jeremy Clarkson!"
- — Robot Wars Announcer Stuart McDonald
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson (born 11th April 1960) is a British broadcaster and journalist who was the main presenter of the first series of Robot Wars.
As presenter of the show, Clarkson's role was to open the show with written speeches, announce each event, and to encourage the competitors who did well. Clarkson was also given some leniency to disparage competitors who didn't impress him as much, resulting in some tongue-in-cheek jokes and derogatory comments about the competitors and their robots. Generally he would be scathing towards robots that performed badly in the Gauntlet or the Trial, while complimenting those who would complete it, although Clarkson would occasionally still disparage a successful robot for humorous intent, remarking that Skarab looked like "cheese on toast", calling Wedgehog's weapon a "toothpick" and calling Krayzee Tokyo a "piece of litter". Both he and Philippa Forrester maintained a particular disdain for Prince of Darkness, insulting it at every opportunity throughout its heat despite its impressive performance, which the team would joke along with.
- "That is the worst robot I have ever seen in my life!"
- — Jeremy Clarkson venomously comments on Prince of Darkness.
Unlike his successor, Craig Charles, who cheered for the competitors, Clarkson felt his role as presenter meant he was to be more on-side with the House Robots, which he would call his "mates", complimenting them frequently and telling the competitors to leave them alone.
Clarkson was introduced to the audience with a number of different descriptions including "your commander in chief", "the man who put scrap into metal" and "the father of all wars".
He left the show after the first series due to other commitments and was replaced by Craig Charles. Robot Wars producer Tom Gutteridge claims this was not because Clarkson disliked the show, simply that he was too busy with other projects. Since the six episodes of Series 1, Clarkson was not seen or referenced in Robot Wars again. This is in spite of a VHS release of Robot Wars: The First Great War, which recapped the entirety of Series 1, where Clarkson was edited out, and Craig Charles hosted the programme.
An infamous moment during Clarkson's time on the show, where the saw of Dead Metal flew away at over 200mph and lodged itself in a wall, inches from decapitating the presenter. Producer Tom Gutteridge later wrote about the incident in a blog post.
- "When we studied the recording in slow motion, we found that the blade, rotating at a more than 6000 rpm, had missed the Clarkson scalp by less than two inches."
- — Tom Gutteridge elaborates on the near-fatal incident
Career outside of Robot Wars
Clarkson is best known for his role as a presenter of the British motoring programme Top Gear, during its original format from 1977 to 2001 as well as its relaunch from 2002 to 2015 (although he only presented the original from 1988 to 1999, becoming a regular presenter in 1989). Following on from Clarkson being replaced on Top Gear, he hosted a similar show, The Grand Tour, on Amazon Video. Clarkson regularly appeared on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows.
As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000 he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson, and has done other work as a presenter and voice-actor. Examples include being a guest presenter on Have I Got News For You between 2002 and 2015, providing the voice of Harv in the UK release of the 2006 Disney Pixar film Cars, and providing voiceovers for the Forza Motorsport video game series. Prior to his television career, Clarkson worked as a journalist in Northern England, his first job being a journalist on the Rotherham Advertiser and still writes regular columns for various British newspapers. Clarkson became the new host of the classic gameshow Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2018 and has kept that position ever since.
Most recently, he starred in the Amazon Prime exclusive Clarkson's Farm, documenting his attempts to run a farm he purchased back in 2008 and had previously contracted a local villager to farm on his behalf. After he retired, Clarkson opted to take the responsibility of maintaining it himself.
In November 2021, a celebrity special episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? featured fellow Robot Wars presenter Craig Charles. The pair shared a light-hearted joke together where Clarkson accused Charles of "taking his job" as the presenter after the first series.
- With just six episodes to his name, Jeremy Clarkson was the show's joint shortest serving presenter, alongside Nickelodeon Robot Wars presenter Dave Aizer.
- Clarkson opened a shop for his farm in 2020, working with local charities to donate produce to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The farm has a physical shop on site, as well as an online store.