UPDATE 1-BBC drops "Top Gear" presenter Clarkson after producer attack
(Adds details from BBC statement)
LONDON, March 25 (Reuters) - The BBC said on Wednesday it would not renew the contract of Jeremy Clarkson, the hugely-popular but divisive presenter of its motoring programme "Top Gear" after what it called an unprovoked physical attack on a producer.
Clarkson, 54, who has generated both controversy and profits for Britain's publicly funded broadcaster, was already on a final warning over accusations last year that he had used racist language while filming the show.
"It is with great regret that I have told Jeremy Clarkson today that the BBC will not be renewing his contract," Tony Hall, the BBC Director-General, said in a statement.
No comment from Clarkson was immediately available.
Top Gear, which is aired in more than 200 countries, is one of the BBC's most profitable shows but its lead host, a friend of Prime Minister David Cameron, has offended, among others, environmental groups, mental health charities and cyclists with his forthright manner.
Last October the show sparked a diplomatic incident between Britain and Argentina, two countries which went to war in 1982 over the Falkland islands.
A Top Gear television crew was forced to flee Argentina after driving a Porsche 928 GT with the registration number H982 FKL - which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict.
Hall said he had not taken the decision lightly, and that he remained a great fan of Clarkson, whom he described as a "huge talent". Continuación...