jeremy clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson's future at the BBC is to be determined.

Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson will appear before a BBC disciplinary panel in connection with the latest controversy surrounding the TV star.

Clarkson was suspended after allegedly punching Top Gear producer Oisin Tymon in a dispute about the lack of hot food following a day's filming in Newcastle.

The panel will be chaired by Ken MacQuarrie, the head of BBC Scotland, who conducted the investigation into Newsnight's false expose of Lord McAlpine.

A formal letter requesting Clarkson to attend the hearing will be sent to him, and witnesses to the incident will be called by the end of the week.

Details about the incident described by a BBC spokesperson as a 'fracas" are emerging. It has been reported that Clarkson lashed out at the producer because he was unable to order a steak at the Simonstone Hall Hotel near Hawes, North Yorkshire.

According to the Daily Mirror, the hotel's chef had gone home by the time the crew arrived at the end of the shoot, and only cold meat platters, were available.

It's alleged that a "scuffle" followed, after Clarkson blamed Mr Tymon for failing to arrange hot food. A spokesman for the hotel confirmed Clarkson was there for three days, adding: "There's been some pretty accurate reporting of what happened."

According to Sky News, four people from the same family who overheard the row, claim Clarkson told a colleague he would have him fired because there was no hot food at the end of a day's filming.

Sue Ward, who witnessed the dispute, said: "He said he hadn't done his job properly, it was ridiculous that there was nothing to eat, obviously there was lots of expletives in between all this, and that he would be losing his job, he would see to it that he would lose his job. Even someone who's really inept at their job should be told properly, in a proper manner," she said

"But the fact that it was in a public place, I didn't want to listen to that language."

Following news that the 54-year-old had been suspended, more than 650,000 people from across the world have signed an online petition demanding that Clarkson be reinstated.

He has even received a vote of confidence and support from Prime Minister David Cameron, who described the TV personality as a "huge talent and a friend." "I hope this can be sorted out because (Top Gear) is a great programme and he is a great talent," said the Prime Minister.

Clarkson appeared to be making light of his suspension as he left his flat in Kensington. Responding to reporters he joked, "just off to the job centre."

Clarkson and his fellow Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond were due to sign new three-year contracts to continue as hosts of the popular motoring show which is a global brand.

If, however, in light of recent events, the BBC decides not to renew Clarkson's contract, he will be free to work for another broadcaster. Speculation has been mounting as to who might replace him if he is finally given the boot by the BBC, with Steve Coogan a favourite for the role.

It's not the first time that Clarkson has been the focus of controversy. The outspoken TV host has managed to offend foreign diplomats, lorry drivers, and whole nations. The Top Gear host was accused of using an insulting term for Asians while filming in Burma. A series of allegedly racist jokes offended the Mexican community.

Jeremy Clarkson Video Apology over Apparent Use of Racist Slur
Jeremy Clarkson is used to being at the centre of controversy.

A stunt in which he was seen driving a car bearing a licence plate, which alluded to the Falklands (or Las Malvinas) through the streets of Patagonia last year, lead to the Top Gear team being stoned and the incident made international headlines.

In December 2005, Clarkson got himself into trouble with Britons and Germans alike when he gave a Nazi salute whist presenting a segment about the German car BMW.

He received a final warning from the BBC after it was alleged that he had used the N-word while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe during filming of the BBC2 programme.

Realising that the racism row might well have been the death-knell of his career, Clarkson issued a grovelling videoed apology and was allowed to continue presenting the show.

Following the latest incident his future at the BBC remains uncertain. Meanwhile, the Bring Back Clarkson petition, set up by political blog Guido Fawkes, is gaining more support from around the world. Editor Paul Staines said he set up the petition because he believes Clarkson is the BBC's "greatest export".

The corporation has not revealed when or where the hearing will take place.