Former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is set to return to the BBC next month, just seven months after he was dropped from the popular motoring show for punching a producer. Clarkson will host the first episode of the new series of Have I Got News For You, which returns on 2 October.
The 55-year-old will join regular team captains Ian Hislop and Paul Merton, as well as Pointless presenter Richard Osman, who will be one of two guests appearing in the opening episode of the 50th series of the show.
The outspoken presenter was set to present the satirical news quiz in April, but pulled out of his appearance less than one month after executives decided not to renew his lucrative Top Gear contract following a "fracas" with producer Oisin Tymon. At the time, the production company said they expected him to return later in the year, saying: "On reflection, Jeremy Clarkson has decided not to host Have I Got News For You. We fully expect him to resume his hosting duties later in the year."
Clarkson was suspended by the BBC on 10 March. Following an internal investigation that found he had carried out an "unprovoked physical attack" on Tymon, the BBC confirmed his contract would not be renewed. BBC director-general Tony Hall made the decision after ruling "a line has been crossed", stating "there cannot be one rule for one and one rule for another".
Co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond also left the BBC, and the three subsequently signed a highly lucrative deal with Amazon Prime to present a new motoring show. In August, Digital Spy reported that the deal with the three presenters is said to be worth around £160m over three years, which would give them a budget of £4.5m to spend on each of the 36 episodes.