Jeremy Clarkson – driven to rehab to escape himself

The disgraced star has revealed that he spent a month in a treatment centre. But wasn’t it actually more of a hideaway?

James Bond isn’t the only destroyed-looking middle-aged man attempting to avoid confronting the relentless miseries of his life by feigning a feeble obsession with shiny yet ultimately pointless gadgets in the news this week, because Jeremy Clarkson has apparently just got back from rehab. Now safely ensconced in the comfort of his new motoring show on Amazon Prime – which is basically what the BBC would be like if its chief marketing strategy involved offering a handful of money-off Wowcher codes with every TV licence bought – Clarkson has revealed that he recently spent a month in some sort of treatment centre as a reaction to the rough time he’s had this year. Writing in the Sunday Times, he claimed that “back in the summer, it was decided by people with serious faces and stethoscopes that I needed a complete break … where there would be no contact with the outside world”.

If true, this is an adorably retro way of dealing with such a public meltdown. There was a time, not so long ago, when celebrities would check into rehab for any old reason. Tiger Woods reportedly went to rehab after he was caught cheating on his wife. Grey’s Anatomy actor Isaiah Washington went to rehab after he was overheard using a gay slur in an argument with a colleague. And now Clarkson has been there too, after apparently finding the only rehab centre in the world that exclusively caters to the treatment of egotists who leather their subordinates for not bringing them a warm enough dinner.

Crueller people might claim this isn’t actually rehab at all, simply a hideaway where celebrities can escape to avoid the consequences of their actions. But that isn’t the Lost in Showbiz way. Hopefully Clarkson has emerged from this month cleaner, healthier and, most crucially of all, able to understand that flowery shirts look horrific on adult males.

Powered by article was written by Stuart Heritage, for The Guardian on Thursday 8th October 2015 17.15 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010