Jeremy Clarkson has held a meeting with Oxfordshire villagers amid concern about the traffic created by his Diddly Squat farm shop, featured in the Clarkson’s Farm TV show.
As he arrived at the Memorial Hall in Chadlington, there was an early sign of potential controversy to come.
“Someone gave me the finger on the way in,” the presenter of the hugely popular TV series told reporters.
Clarkson, 61, said he had called the meeting to stop “gossip” from spreading.
“I’m just here to listen,” he said. “Gossip spreads in villages and they don’t know what we’re doing so I thought, the best thing I can do is come down and say: ‘This is what we’re doing,’ and then it isn’t gossip any more.”
Someone who recently drove past the shop, on a Tuesday, told Sky News there were large queues on the road outside.
Asked about the traffic, he said: “Hey, listen, the village has created a bit of a traffic jam tonight.”
Prior to the meeting, posters were put up, reading: “As there seems to be some debate in the village about what’s going on at Diddly Squat, Jeremy Clarkson will be at the Memorial Hall to explain his plans and to take any questions you may have.
“Everybody from the area is welcome to attend. Cheese and wine will be provided.”
Clarkson’s Farm, made for Amazon Prime Video, has attracted glowing reviews from people who did not warm to the presenter’s petrol-head persona while presenting Top Gear and The Grand Tour.
An article in The Guardian said that while working his land, Clarkson is “quieter and more thoughtful than the man we had grown familiar with”.
When he bought the farm in 2008 it was run by a villager, who retired in 2019, prompting Clarkson to have a go himself.
A second series of the television show is currently in production.