Jeremy Clarkson 'will be back on BBC' says senior controller

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Jeremy Clarkson may have been dropped from his long-term presenting role on Top Gear, but that doesn't mean that the outspoken TV star has been banned from the BBC overall. A senior figure at the corporation has said that the door is still open for Jeremy to make some kind of a return.

"Jeremy will be back on the BBC," said Kim Shillinglaw, controller of BBC Two and BBC Four. "It's serious and unfortunate what happened but there is no ban on Jeremy being on the BBC."

"It's a big deal what happened and Jeremy, as any human being would, needs some time," she added.

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There is "no ban" on Jeremy Clarkson being on the BBC

The senior media executive was speaking at a BBC programme launch on Tuesday. She revealed that unseen Top Gear footage featuring Jeremy, which was shot before the presenter was sacked, would be aired some time later this year and as early as summer.

Kim said that the material, which was to be used in three episodes, was not enough to make up full one-hour episodes, but that it would be broadcasted on TV "in some form".

"There is no way I would not want the available material not to be seen by viewers," she said. "Top Gear is a show that I love, I genuinely watch it and I always have done."

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It has not been confirmed whether co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May will return to Top Gear

Much speculation has surrounded Jeremy's co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond, but Kim refused to comment on whether they are returning to the show next year. She said the issue of Jeremy's replacement was an "open book".

Sue Perkins and Jodie Kidd were previously rumoured to step in, and addressing these reports, Kim said: "I am not really thinking about it in terms of gender. We will definitely look at women but it is not the driving priority. I have never approached an individual show thinking that is the way you cast it."

Last month BBC director general Tony Hall confirmed that Jeremy's contract would not be renewed. The 55-year-old presenter was initially suspended after a "fracas" in which he verbally and physically attacked producer Oisin Tymon.

Jeremy's legion of fans showed an outpouring of support, with more than a million people signing an online petition to reinstate him.

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