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BBCWW in Top Gear driving seat

BBC Worldwide (BBCWW) has taken full control of Top Gear’s commercial rights company, while the motoring show’s presenters have committed to three more years of the BBC2 series.

Top Gear

BBCWW, the commercial arm of the BBC, has bought out Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson and producer Andy Wilman’s stakes in Bedder 6, thought to be around 30% and 20% respectively, for an undisclosed fee. The pair resigned as directors of Bedder two weeks ago.

The deal gives BBCWW full control of Bedder which handles Top Gear’s live shows, DVDs and licensing. The company launched five years ago as a joint venture between Clarkson, Wilman and BBCWW to exploit the moneymaking potential of the property, which is one of BBCWW’s most lucrative brands.

“This agreement secures the commercial future of Top Gear without using a penny of licence fee money and allows us to continue to grow the brand around the world, reinvest in Top Gear and return profits to the BBC,” said a spokesman for BBCWW.

Separately, the BBCWW has agreed new commercial deals with Clarkson and his Top Gear co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond to secure their services to promote the BBC2 show for another three years.

The agreement with BBCWW does not commit the BBC to produce more seasons of Top Gear, although BBC2 is currently making season 19 of the UK series, which is set to air at the beginning of next year.

Clarkson is thought to be one of the highest paid presenters at the BBC, but the financial terms of this deal were not revealed. The BBC has recently moved to cut the amount it pays its talent as part of its Delivering Quality First initiative.

The BBC’s series has been licensed into 198 territories, while the format has been sold into Australia, Russia, the US, China and South Korea.

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