Jeremy Clarkson Almost Died From Pneumonia

Jeremy Clarkson attends The Sun Military Awards at The Guildhall on December 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
Jeremy Clarkson attends The Sun Military Awards at The Guildhall on December 14, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)

Pneumonia is serious business, as poor ex-Top Gear and current The Grand Tour co-host Jeremy Clarkson discovered. He nearly died from the sickness while on vacation.


Last week, we learned that while vacationing in Mallorca, Clarkson was hospitalized due to pneumonia and wouldn’t be able to return to work for at least another week. He was very seriously ill, as it turns out.

Taking to his latest column in the Sunday Times, Clarkson recounted that he had spent three nights “spasming” in bed and then decided that a trip to see the doctor might be necessary. After some tests at the hospital, he was given some very sobering news:

“A healthy person’s CRP should be five,” said Mark Spitz [the doctor]. “Yours is 337.”

I had no idea at the time what a CRP was — it turns out to be something your body makes more of when you have an infection — but 337 sounded a lot.

“If you don’t do as I say,” he added, “you will die.”

I did understand that.

I suppose it’s something that we take for granted in 2017—that sicknesses like pneumonia, strep throat or bronchitis can usually be cured by an antibiotic and lots of water and rest. But Clarkson’s hospital visit and near-brush with death reminds us that sometimes we can’t just sleep it off.

On top of everything else, Clarkson said that the deadliest thing he faced in the hospital wasn’t even the pneumonia, it was boredom.

Normally, when I’m bored, I smoke. Or drink. But both those things were out of the question. I just had my drugs. Thousands of them. There was one that caused lightning bolts to ricochet around in my toes and one that would apparently ruin my stomach and loads more I didn’t understand, but there was one that was — and remains — the highlight of my day. I was hooked.

It’s called Fluimucil Forte, and its purpose is revolting. It’s designed to dislodge the phlegm and the gunk in my lung and bring it up in the sort of dark, meaty globules we haven’t seen since Mrs Thatcher shut down the mines. But holy sweet Jesus. It’s a taste sensation.

This is the problem with hospitals. People who stay in them become institutionalised and incapable of speaking about anything other than what nurse brought what drug at what time. Boredom turns them into bores.


We’re glad that Clarkson is feeling well enough again to write and post pretty Instagram photos. And that nothing more serious happened.

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Eddie Brannan

He smokes like a chimney, drinks like a fish, and doesn’t exercise. I’m always amazed when I remember he’s only 57. He looks like shit.