An online petition calling for Jeremy Clarkson to be reinstated after the BBC suspended him following a "fracas" with a producer crashed on its way to receiving 200,000 signatures.

The Top Gear presenter has been suspended with immediate effect after Clarkson allegedly punched one of the show's producers, who has been named as Oisin Tymon.

The incident is alleged to have occurred following filming of Top Gear in Newcastle. Clarkson is said to have "snapped" as there was no catering provided following a long day of recording, reported the Mirror.

As well as suspending Clarkson, the BBC is said to have dropped the final three episodes of the current series of Top Gear from its schedules, with no word as to when they could finally be broadcast.

Following the controversial presenter's suspension, an online petition was set up by political blog Guido Fawkes urging Clarkson to be reinstated to the BBC.

The petition proved so popular it has attracted nearly 200,000 signatures – a rate of more than 10,000 an hour at one point - even causing the website to temporarily go down.

Clarkson has not made an official statement regarding his suspension, but has made a series of jokes with his fellow Top Gear presenters via Twitter.

Clarkson, who has been the main presenter on the hugely popular BBC 2 show since 2002, was given a "final warning" by the broadcaster after he was filmed using racist language during an unaired segment of the show while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe.

Media regulator Ofcom also ruled Clarkson "deliberately" used a racist term to describe an Asian man crossing a bridge during the programme's Burma special.

More recently, the Top Gear presenters and crew were chased out of Argentina for driving through the country with a car registration plate H982 FLK – which some saw as a reference to the 1982 Falkland's war.

A spokesperson for the BBC said: "Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.

"No one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time."