Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear’s resident motor mouth and key presenter has seen his wealth pile increase substantially with the sale of his stake in the production company Bedder 6 which produces Top Gear for the BBC. He set the company up with Andy Wilman, top gear’s executive producer five years ago to capitalise on the Top Gear brand.
BBC worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC already owns 50% of Bedder 6, while Jeremy Clarkson owned 30% and Andy Wilman owned 20%.
The BBC will now take control of the whole company in a deal which sees Clarkson and Wilman earn around £8 million, with the money coming from BBC worldwide and are not from licence fee payer funding.
Bedder 6 has already been a cash cow for the BBC with sales of Top Gear merchandise, DVDs, show tours and sales rights around the world. Top Gear is the BBC’s best performing show and is seen by up to 350 million people each week around the world in over 170 countries.
In the year to March 2011 the company had sales of £40 million, up from £32.9 million in the previous year, a 23% rise and it made a gross profit of around £18 million compared to £13 million for the year before.
Jeremy Clarkson received £350,000 for services rendered to Bedder 6 and a £1.8 million dividend from the company on top of his BBC salary for 2011. This does not include the increased dividend he will have earned up until the sale of the business in September 2012 estimated to be around £2.7 million and would take his total Top Gear earnings for 2012 up to £3.5 million.
Clarkson signed a deal with the BBC to continue to present Top Gear for a further three years along with fellow presenters James May, Richard Hammond and Andy Wilman remaining as executive producer.
A BBC spokesman said “The new agreement secures the commercial future of the Top Gear franchise without costing the licence payer a single penny and will allow us to expand the brand worldwide with all the profits coming back to the BBC”.
Jeremy Clarkson has worked his way upto been one of the highest-paid stars on British television and is believed receiving a pay packet of £500,000 a year not including other deals and newspaper column writing.
His earnings are increase further by books, DVDs and newspaper and magazine articles. He writes a column in the Sunday Timesand is a prolific writer mostly of bestselling collections from his newspaper columns. From 2000 – 2009 ‘s books sold 4.9 million copies.
He also has a lucrative career on the after-dinner circuit which because of his outspoken views and comedic delivery mean that he can command over £20,000 per venue.
He hasn’t always been as lucky with money though. Back in 2008 when the financial crisis hit, he had an investment fund with AIG The value fell dramatically after the insurer got into financial difficulties. Afterwards he revealed he had been a victim of the crisis in his newspaper column saying about AIG “Inwardly I was screaming. It’s my money. I gave it to you if you’ve squandered it on a Mexican’s house and a stupid football team that’s your problem not mine”.
In a famous own goal, he made his bank details public thinking that they could not be used to commit fraud. Soon after someone set up a direct debit on his account for £500 and he had to admit that he’d been wrong.
Back in 2009 Jeremy Clarkson told a BBC interviewer “I’m not interested in money in the slightest, I don’t pay any attention to it, in fact I think it’s rather vulgar”, maybe he’s not overly interested about the money but I’m sure he won’t be feeling too unhappy with his £5 million windfall.