Clarkson rose to public prominence as a presenter of the original format of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s, Clarkson has become a recognised public personality. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programmes and books on subjects such as history and engineering.
His opinionated but humorous tongue-in-cheek writing and presenting style has often generated much public reaction to his viewpoints. His actions both privately and as a Top Gear presenter have also sometimes resulted in criticism from the media, politicians, pressure groups and the public. He has also generated a significant following from the public, being credited as a major factor in the resurgence of Top Gear as one of the most popular shows on the BBC.