Newspaper columnist AA Gill says Jeremy Clarkson has called the BBC to apologise for his part in the Top Gear ‘fracas’.

Gill, who is a friend of Clarkson, said the investigation into the row was ‘preposterous and ponderous’ and said the presenter, 54, had tried to draw a line under incident, according to London’s Evening Standard.

In the Sunday Times, Gill wrote: “Jeremy reported the incident. It was over the absence of hot food at the end of a long and frustrating day with the prospect of another early start in the morning.

“The producer, Oisin Tymon, had not made a complaint. Jeremy called Danny Cohen, the director of BBC television, directly and explained he had lost his rag. Sources close to Top Gear say the reasons were that he wanted to apologise and make an amend, not least for the sake of the hundreds of people standing by to carry on with the rest of the show.

“Cohen had a choice: to do the right thing or the bureaucratic thing, but at the BBC no good intention goes unquestioned.”

Meanwhile, Clarkson, whose alleged row with producer Oisin Tymon was reportedly over a £21.95 steak, described himself as a ‘not very interesting fat man’ and joked about retirement while he awaits a disciplinary hearing.

In yesterday’s Sun on Sunday, Clarkson hinted that the time may have come for him to leave Top Gear, likening himself to a dinosaur that nature had made a mistake in inventing.

He said: “We read often about active and busy people who die the day after they retire because they simply can’t cope with the concept of relaxation. So as I seem to have a bit of time on my hands at the moment, I thought it would be a good idea to take up some kind of hobby.

It does not go well though, the star admitted, and he concluded: “So my new hobby is called ‘going out to restaurants and letting people who know what they’re doing cook my food’.”

Shortly after news of the suspension, the presenter’s daughter Em Clarkson tweeted: “Oh God, BBC please take him back… He’s started cooking…”

The BBC investigation is believed to be taking place this week. But it could be weeks until Clarkson’s fate is decided and it is understood not all the potential witnesses to the row have yet been contacted ahead of the hearing.