From a career as a local journalist in the north of England, he rose to public prominence as a presenter of Top Gear in 1988. Since the mid-1990s Clarkson has become a recognized public personality, regularly appearing on British television presenting his own shows and appearing as a guest on other shows. As well as motoring, Clarkson has produced programs and books on subjects such as history and engineering. From 1998 to 2000 he also hosted his own chat show, Clarkson.
His opinionated but humorous tongue in cheek writing and presenting style has often generated much public reaction towards 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.