Riding on top of a tank, a man dressed as The Stig from motoring show Top Gear, delivered a petition to BBC headquarters in London on 20 March calling for the return of the popular show's controversial presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Nearly a million people around the world signed the petition to reinstate Clarkson after he was suspended from the show following reports he threw a punch at a producer.

"A million people want him back on the air. The numbers speak for themselves. We're not gonna get into defending him but people love him and they want to see him on the BBC on Sunday night so stop all this, stop winding up the viewers and put him back on the telly," said Harry Cole of the Guido Fawkes website which organised the petition.

Top Gear, aired in more than 200 countries and estimated to have a global audience of some 350 million, has become one of the BBC's most successful and lucrative programs. The BBC is expected to make a decision on Clarkson's future next week.

Clarkson became the popular face of Top Gear by mixing a passion for cars with blunt banter and swagger that has offended groups ranging from mental health charities and cyclists to Mexico's London ambassador.

The presenter and his employers have been forced to apologize on a number of occasions.

The Stig, dressed in white racing suit and with face obscured by a helmet, is an integral part of Top Gear, representing an anonymous racing car driver who tests cars to their limits.