Entertainment

Amazon bosses were ‘shocked and disappointed’ at Clarkson’s Meghan column

Clarkson’s Farm stars Charlie Ireland, left, and Kaleb Cooper outside 10 Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA)
Clarkson’s Farm stars Charlie Ireland, left, and Kaleb Cooper outside 10 Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA) Clarkson’s Farm stars Charlie Ireland, left, and Kaleb Cooper outside 10 Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA)

Bosses at Amazon Studios said they were “shocked and disappointed” at Jeremy Clarkson’s criticism of the Duchess of Sussex in a column last year.

The popular Prime Video series, Clarkson’s Farm, which documents the workings of his 1,000-acre holding in the Cotswolds, was renewed by the streamer as it said “there is so much more to the show” than the presenter.

During a session of the Edinburgh TV Festival, panel host Scott Bryan asked representatives for Amazon why they continued with the show following the controversial column, which was the subject of numerous complaints to the press watchdog, the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).

Fozia Khan, unscripted lead, UK Originals for Amazon Studios, said the team were “shocked and disappointed” but ultimately made the decision to continue the show.

UK Farm to Fork Summit
UK Farm to Fork Summit Clarkson’s Farm stars Charlie Ireland, left, and Kaleb Cooper outside 10 Downing Street (Victoria Jones/PA)

She added: “I mean, there’s lots of conversations going on. But I think the thing that I want to say is that the show is so much bigger than Clarkson.”

“It’s a really good show.”

Ipso upheld a complaint that the column was sexist towards the duchess, describing some of the comments about her as “pejorative and prejudicial”.

The regulator found the article’s use of a comparison to Scotland’s former first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and serial killer Rose West was because the three are female.

In the December 17 2022 article, Clarkson wrote: “I hate her (Meghan). Not like I hate Nicola Sturgeon or Rose West. I hate her on a cellular level.”

The former Top Gear presenter apologised for the piece, describing his language as “disgraceful” and said he was “profoundly sorry”.

The Sun also apologised and said it regretted the publication of the column, which was removed online.

Dan Grabiner, head of originals for UK and Northern Europe, Amazon Studios, told the audience at the EICC: “I can’t tell you what a phenomenon the show itself is and the impact it has had on the agricultural community and farming.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend event
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex attend event The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Matt Dunham/PA)

“We get messages from farmers around the world who just love the show and love Kaleb (Cooper) and Gerald (Cooper) and they relate to those characters, saying they have never really seen their world properly reflected on-screen before, which is amazing.

“And, as Fozia said, it’s a hell of a lot bigger than Jeremy Clarkson.”

Ms Khan also said that the show is “entertaining and joyful”.

She added: “It addresses issues of climate change, the struggles of farming and Brexit.”

Earlier this year, stars from Clarkson’s Farm, such as land agent Charlie Ireland, and farming contractor Kaleb Cooper, attended a meeting on farming at Downing Street with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Prime Video has also shared an image of the rarely photographed investigative journalist, Mazher Mahmood, ahead of the release of a new documentary series, called The Fake Sheikh.

Mahmood, known as “the fake sheikh”, was found guilty of tampering with evidence at the trial of N-Dubz star Tulisa in 2014.

She was accused of supplying class A drugs but the charges were dismissed.

Mahmood was sentenced to 15 months for conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

The series also sees model Jodie Kidd, who has made allegations about Mahmood, being interviewed about what happened to her and the effects on her life and career.

The three-part show follows tabloid journalist Mahmood’s rise and downfall and will be released on Prime Video on September 26.