Artist News

Zayn Malik leaves One Direction, after Jeremy Clarkson sacked by BBC

By | Published on Thursday 26 March 2015

Zayn Malik

There was a point yesterday when it looked like Jeremy Clarkson being sacked for punching a man might be the only entertainment story of note for Wednesday 25 March 2015. And that would have been fine, but try as I might, I was struggling to find a music angle to whole thing.

Radio 2 deejay Chris Evans being in the frame to replace him on ‘Top Gear’? Maybe, but it’s still a bit of a stretch. But what else is there?

The next possible link I came up with was that time the BBC aired a weird mashup of ‘Top Of The Pops’ and ‘Top Gear’ for Comic Relief back in 2007. I mean, that can’t be the weakest excuse for running the biggest entertainment (but non-music) news story of the day in my daily entertainment (but only-music) news bulletin, can it? True, I can’t think of a weaker one just at the moment, but there must be one. Maybe I should look to the local press for inspiration.

But then, thank the heavens, the Zayn came. Recognising the stress myself, and others like me no doubt, were suffering as a result of the biggest entertainment news story of the day being decidedly unmusical, he chose to give in to rampant speculation about his future as a teen pop sensation and fall on his sword. God bless you, Zayn. One Direction fans’ loss is journalism’s gain.

Yes, at 4.30pm on Wednesday 25 Mar 2015, two and half hours after BBC Director General Tony Hall had announced that Clarkson’s contract with the Corporation would not be renewed, it was announced that Zayn Malik had quit One Direction after five years of being the one people suspected would leave first.

Malik said in a statement, issued via 1D’s Facebook page: “My life with One Direction has been more than I could ever have imagined. But, after five years, I feel like it is now the right time for me to leave the band. I’d like to apologise to the fans if I’ve let anyone down, but I have to do what feels right in my heart”.

“I am leaving because I want to be a normal 22 year old who is able to relax and have some private time out of the spotlight”, he continued, his decision coming after the latest round of tabloid speculation about his love life. “I know I have four friends for life in Louis, Liam, Harry and Niall. I know they will continue to be the best band in the world”.

I don’t know, Zayn? Best band in the world? The absolute best? I don’t mind them, but the very best band in the world? Oh wait, I see what you’re saying: 1D are not splitting up just because they are one man down. Not yet, anyway. No, for the foreseeable future (depending on how far you can see), 0.8 Direction will slog on with their scheduled tour dates. Before finally calling it a day just after Christmas. Probably.

They said in unison: “We’re really sad to see Zayn go, but we totally respect his decision and send him all our love for the future. The past five years have been beyond amazing, we’ve gone through so much together, so we will always be friends. The four of us will now continue. We’re looking forward to recording the new album and seeing all the fans on the next stage of the world tour”.

The man who originally saw the potential of putting five slightly mediocre solo acts together as a group, Simon Cowell, added: “I would like to say thank you to Zayn for everything he has done for One Direction. Since I first met Zayn in 2010, I have grown very, very fond – and immensely proud – of him. I have seen him grow in confidence and I am truly sorry to see him leave. As for One Direction, fans can rest assured that Niall, Liam, Harry and Louis are hugely excited about the future of the band”.

Jeremy Clarkson could not be reached for comment.