JEREMY Clarkson 'punched' an assistant producer because there was no food laid on at the end of a long day filming, it has been reported.
The Top Gear presenter, 54, allegedly "saw red" and "snapped" over a catering issue, according to the Daily Mirror, in a move that has led to the rest of the series being dropped.
A source told the newspaper:
"They came to the end of filming after a long day and Jeremy discovered that no food had been laid on. "He just saw red and hit the assistant producer, who he blamed for not having organised the food."
The producer at the centre of the scandal has been named as Oisin Tymon, 36, who has worked on the hit BBC show for a decade.
The row is said to have taken place after filming in Newcastle with Clarkson's co-hosts James May, 52, and Richard Hammond, 45.
The BBC confirmed he had been suspended after what it called a "fracas" and said that Sunday's episode of Top Gear, which was set to feature the presenters getting to grips with classic cars such as a Fiat 124 Spider, an MGB GT and a Peugeot 304 cabriolet, alongside Gary Lineker, would not be shown.
The remaining two episodes of the show in the current series are also believed to have been postponed.
Meanwhile, an online petition calling for the BBC to "reinstate" Clarkson, who has presented the motoring programme since 2002, has been signed by more than 200,000 people. In response, May tweeted: "Save Clarkson? Save empty cardboard boxes and off-cuts of string. They're far more useful."
Clarkson has not issued a formal statement, but tweeted a mock apology to Ed Miliband, whose wife Justine gave an interview to the BBC which was broadcast yesterday.
He said: "Sorry Ed. It seems I knocked your 'I'm a human' piece down the news agenda."
Sorry Ed. It seems I knocked your "I'm a human" piece down the news agenda.— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) March 10, 2015
He also joked on Twitter about films that could replace Sunday's show, after May tweeted to his co-stars: "No Top Gear this weekend, apparently. How about 633 Squadron instead?"
Hammond replied: "No, surely, Last of the Summer Wine; no-one will notice the difference. Job done."
And Clarkson added: "I did some pretty good war documentaries. They could screen one of those."
The presenter's daughter Em Clarkson also appeared to make light of on the controversy surrounding her dad, tweeting: "Oh God, BBC please take him back... He's started cooking..."
According to The Sun newspaper, Clarkson, who is a columnist for the paper, said: "I'm having a nice cold pint and waiting for this to blow over."
Meanwhile, a source told the paper: "He didn't punch anyone."
Clarkson has been at the centre of controversy in recent years, including being placed on his "final warning" in 2014 following a racism row after claims that he mumbled the word "n*****" while reciting the nursery rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe during the show's filming. He was also accused of posting a photograph making a lewd comment about a "slope" on Twitter.
He was cleared of breaching the broadcasting code by watchdog Ofcom after comparing a Japanese car to people with growths on their faces, and faced a storm of protest from mental health charities after branding people who throw themselves under trains as "selfish".
The show's crew was forced to flee Argentina when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982; and Clarkson was also forced to apologise for telling BBC1's The One Show that striking workers should be shot.
Yet Top Gear is one of the BBC's biggest money spinners, pulling in millions of pounds, and its latest series launched with a simultaneous broadcast in more than 50 countries.
A BBC spokeswoman said: "Following a fracas with a BBC producer, Jeremy Clarkson has been suspended pending an investigation.
"No-one else has been suspended. Top Gear will not be broadcast this Sunday. The BBC will be making no further comment at this time."