‘It was tense’ Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear co-stars in awkward Paul Hollywood snub
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Jeremy Clarkson, 61, Richard Hammond, 51, and James May’s, 58, former PA Phillipa Sage has revealed the Top Gear trio were less than impressed when Paul Hollywood, 55, tracked them down at a party. Sage worked for the presenters during filming until they left the BBC show in 2015.
After working with the stars closely over the years, Phillipa spilled that The Great British Bake Off judge was a fan and very excited to meet them at an event, but “the feelings weren’t mutual”.
She revealed the awkward encounter took place at a surprise Halloween party set up for the hosts following a show in Birmingham.
Sage recalled: “One night we arrived back from the NEC in Birmingham to discover our house had been decorated for Halloween and we were welcomed by staff made up as zombies lying on the floor and up the stairs as if they were dead.
“Jeremy was not amused, just tired and hungry, as were Richard and James, but Jeremy made the most noise about it.
“Meanwhile, across in the other side of the house, the party was getting started with other members of the crew and TV baker Paul Hollywood, who was up for a party and, as a fellow petrolhead, very excited to hang out with the boys.
“The feelings weren’t mutual. Awks. Big time.”
Sage then reflected on spending a “tense half an hour” trying to distract the presenters while the TV chef was instructed to leave the kitchen where they were sharing a few drinks.
She continued: “Paul was ushered out of the kitchen.
“It was a tense half an hour while I kept the boys happy with drinks in the kitchen and the others tactfully tried to arrange for poor old Paul to get a taxi.”
In extracts obtained by The Sun from her forthcoming book, Off-Road with Clarkson, Hammond and May: Behind The Scenes of Their “Rock and Roll” World Tour, Sage also shared how the BBC became worried about Jeremy’s “controversial” comments.
Sage explained the BBC’s concerns initially stemmed from Jeremy’s comments about former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The Grand Tour host branded the politician a “one-eyed Scottish idiot” at a press conference in Sydney, Australia, in 2009.
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Brown lost his sight in one eye during after an accident playing rugby as a teenager.
Jeremy then apologised after facing backlash from politicians and disability groups.
He said in a statement: “In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the prime minister’s personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise.”
Reflecting on the criticism surrounding Jeremy at the time, Sage said: “He did eventually apologise for referring to Mr Brown’s one eye, but refused to apologise for calling him an idiot.
“Our tours would never be the same again.
“We would always be accompanied and watched over by a BBC official to make sure we never allowed Jeremy to say or do anything controversial.”
Sage went on to say that the BBC’s precautionary move was “pretty pointless”.
She divulged: “This was very annoying and also pretty pointless.
“Was anyone ever going to stop Jeremy doing or saying what he liked?”
Off-Road With Clarkson, Hammond And May, by Phillipa Sage, will be available from May 13 for £8.99.
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