Los Angeles - Jeremy Clarkson claims he was offered his Top Gear job back.
The 55-year-old presenter - who was fired from the motoring show in March after punching a producer - insists returning was ''never an option'' for him because the controversy would have overshadowed the programme.
Speaking a few days after Chris Evans was announced as the show's new host, he said: ''I had a meeting with a BBC executive last week and they asked if I'd come back to Top Gear.
"But it was never an option, even with the one million people signing the Bring Back Clarkson petition -- for which I was extremely humbled.
"Too much has gone on. After I'd been compared to Jimmy Savile by someone from the BBC and it was splashed all over a Sunday newspaper, how could I go back?
"The spotlight would have been on me and the show would end up being neutered. It would be difficult to do anything without interference. It would have been impossible to make the show I'd want to make.
"I think they knew this so that's why they gave the job to Chris so soon after I met them."
It is understood Jeremy's co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond would also have returned had he agreed to come back in the meeting last week.
While he has turned down a Top Gear return, Jeremy confirmed he is planning to front a new motoring show instead.
He told The Sun newspaper: "I hope Chris enjoys running what, for the next couple of weeks, is the world's biggest car show."
Details are still being finalised for the programme, but Jeremy is likely to be joined by his former co-presenters.
A source said: "For all those missing the old Top Gear, this will be their show."
And though it is not yet clear where the new show will air, it is likely to broadcast before Chris' Top Gear stint begins, as that is not scheduled to air until March.
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