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Jeremy Clarkson’s parents made a mint from genius idea to help springboard TV career

Jeremy Clarkson is known as a former Top Gear legend who is launching series three of his hit Amazon Prime Video show Clarkson’s Farm later this evening.

But it would not have been possible without the help of a little stuffed bear created by his mother Shirley. Shirley and Eddie Clarkson, Jeremy’s parents started a business making unofficial Paddington Bear cuddly toys.

The bear was an immediate hit in the 1970s and the Grand Tour presenter’s parents started selling them in local shops, reports the Express. But Paddington bear author Michael Bond caught wind of money being made without approval and soon launched legal action.

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Bond then met the Clarkson family and they struck a deal which allowed them to keep selling the teddy bears as official products. Michael told the Sunday Times: “I got in the lift with Shirley and Eddie. They were terribly nice and pretended it had all been a mistake – and we were friends by the time we got out of the lift. I gave them a licence. “

Shirley Clarkson told AutoTrader how Jeremy wouldn’t have had his TV star career without Paddington Bear. Clarkson was then able to attend a private school in Doncaster before then attending Repton School in Derbyshire.

The Paddington Bear website reveals: “The very first Paddington bear soft toy was designed in the UK by a lady named Shirley Clarkson. She crafted it as a Christmas gift for her children, Joanna and Jeremy Clarkson (who would later become a globally renowned motoring journalist).”

“Shirley’s Paddington was so admired that she began to produce more under her company, Gabrielle Designs, and was awarded an official license to sell them in the UK in 1972.” Jeremy then pursued a career in journalism, landing his first role as a local news reporter for the Rotherham Advertiser.

He moved on to Top Gear magazine and began filming segments for the original Top Gear show on the BBC in the 1990s before orchestrating the 2001 reboot with James May and Richard Hammond. After three seasons of The Grand Tour with his Top Gear colleagues, his latest project, Clarkson’s Farm, has launched its third season today, introducing new faces Kaleb Cooper and Gerald-and Jeremy’s net worth is estimated to be around £55M.