Top Gear and the Grand Tour

 Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers



4th November
2008
  

Jeremy Clarkson Raises His Game...


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Lorry drivers...the new easily offended?

Born to be Riled book Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has joked that lorry drivers spend their time murdering prostitutes.

His comments were aired on Sunday night, in the midst of the outcry overphone calls made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand.

The pre-recorded remarks made by Clarkson were cleared for broadcast by senior BBC executives.

But they have prompted nearly 200 nutter complaints and a furious response from victim support groups and road hauliers. Ofcom, the media regulator, has also received complaints and is considering an investigation.

Clarkson and his co-presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, were taking part in a stunt for the BBC2 show which involved driving lorries around an obstacle course.

Climbing behind the wheel, Clarkson mused: What matters to lorry drivers? Murdering prostitutes? Fuel economy? This is a hard job, and I'm not just saying this to win favour with lorry drivers. It's a hard job - change gear, change gear, change gear, check your mirrors, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day.

The Road Haulage Association, which represents Britain's 9,000 haulage companies, has demanded a public apology from the presenter. Spokeswoman Kate Gibbs said: Road hauliers are having a hard enough time as it is without the kind of ridiculous comments being made. In a week following thousands of similar complaints to the BBC over comments made by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, this is in particularly poor taste. It is just another example of celebrities having the licence to say absolutely anything they like.

This is an unacceptable ... slur on the character of lorry drivers and the character of the industry, and it is grossly unfair. It's up to the BBC what action they take against Clarkson but we are certainly demanding an apology over these disgraceful comments.


A spokesman for the United Road Transport Union said it had been inundated with complaints from its 17,000 members: We would absoltuely condenm what he said about murdering prostitutes. It beggars belief that those words can be broadcast on TV. The BBC is an institution that is paid for by the licence fee and they should not be allowing this kind of sick joke.

Clarkson's joke is believed to be a reference to 'Suffolk Strangler' Steve Wright, jailed earlier this year for the murder of five Ipswich prostitutes. The Yorkshire Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, was also a lorry driver.

The BBC issued a statement which read: The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona. This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence.

 

5th November
2008
  

Update: For Truck's Sake...It's Only a Joke...

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Jeremy Clarkson humour for the 21st century

Born to be Riled book The BBC have said complaints about the Top Gear show in which Jeremy Clarkson joked about murdering prostitutes have risen to more than 500.

The Top Gear presenter made the quip about lorry drivers killing sex workers on Sunday's BBC2 show.

The Iceni Project is  a charity which had helped some of the murdered prostitutes in Ipswich. The group's director, Brian Tobin, said: I just think it was highly distasteful and insensitive.

Speaking for campaigning group All Women Count, Cari Mitchell has said: It was a truly heartless comment.

But others held different views, including Eddie Stobart chief executive Andrew Tinkler, who said the reference was used to comically exaggerate an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving. He said: They were just having a laugh. It's the 21st century, let's get our sense of humour in line.

Will Shiers, editor of Truck & Driver magazine, believed most of the UK's drivers who saw the programme loved it. He said: On the whole I thought the show was really entertaining. Yes, a small number of drivers were offended by the murdering prostitute reference, but they really are in the minority. On the whole I thought the show was really entertaining. If anything it succeeded in demonstrating to car drivers just how difficult it is to drive a truck. It's all a bit shockingly sensible.

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

Ofcom clears Clarkson over jibe that truck drivers murder prostitutes . TV censor Ofcom has said it is not planning to investigate complaints about Jeremy Clarkson's joke.

 

7th February
2009
  

Update: Down Under the Belt...

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Jeremy Clarkson apologises for calling Gordon Brown an idiot

  At least he didn't call me fat!

Jeremy Clarkson has apologised after referring to Prime Minister Gordon Brown as a one-eyed Scottish idiot. He was speaking in Sydney, Australia where he is hosting Top Gear Live , a stage version of the popular BBC show.

During a discussion on the economy, he compared Brown unfavourably with Kevin Rudd, the Australia prime minister, who had addressed his country on the scale of the financial downturn.

He genuinely looked terrified. Poor man, he's actually seen the books, Clarkson said of Rudd.

We have this one-eyed Scottish idiot who keeps telling us everything's fine and he's saved the world and we know he's lying, but he's smooth at telling us.

Lesley-Anne Alexander, chief executive of the Royal National Institute of Blind People, said: Mr Clarkson's description of Prime Minister Brown is offensive. Any suggestion that equates disability with incompetence is totally unacceptable. We would be happy to help Mr Clarkson understand the positive contribution people with sight loss make to society.

In a statement issued by BBC Worldwide, Clarkson said: In the heat of the moment I made a remark about the Prime Minister's personal appearance for which, upon reflection, I apologise.

Scottish politicians reacted angrily to Clarkson's remarks. Iain Gray, the Scottish Labour leader, said: Such a comment is really a reflection on Jeremy Clarkson and speaks for itself. Most people here are proud that the Prime Minister is a Scot and believe him to be the right person to get the UK through this global economic crisis.

 

8th February
2009
  

Update: Still an Idiot...

Jeremy Clarkson explains his apology

  At least he didn't call me fat!

Jeremy Clarkson watered down his apology yesterday for calling Prime Minister Gordon Brown a one-eyed Scottish idiot saying he was not sorry for the idiot bit.

Speaking to The Sun, in which he writes a weekly column, he said: I very specifically apologised for making fun of his personal appearance very specifically.

I have nothing against the Scottish and of course I regret making any remark that might have upset the disabled. But the idiot bit there is no chance I'll apologise for that.


The BBC said it would be taking no further action against Clarkson.

 

1st May
2009
  

Update: Fitzpatrick on Speed...

Media and Jeremy Clarkson blamed for speeding

Top Gear DVD Computer games, television programmes and Hollywood films are encouraging a dangerous culture of speeding among UK drivers, according to a report.

High-speed chases in movies and programmes such as Top Gear have built up a cachet of excitement and glamour around speeding, the report from Co-operative Insurance found.

Launched at a parliamentary reception attended by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, the report showed that more than a third of drivers aged 17-18 and a quarter of those aged 19-21 broke the speed limit at least once a day.

Just 17% of teenage drivers said they never exceeded the limit, compared with more than half of older drivers. Based on responses from 3,000 people, the report found almost twice as many men as women break the speed limit at least once a day. The report found that speeding was endemic across both sexes and all age groups with three in four drivers admitting to speeding regularly.

David Neave, director of general insurance at Co-operative Insurance, said: It is undoubtedly the case that games, TV and films have fuelled the increase in speeding. The Fast & The Furious (computer game) and Top Gear are devoted to speeding and are targeted at a younger audience who are more likely to be encouraged to speed. We need to create the same stigma for speeding that currently exists now against drink-driving.

Fitzpatrick said: Many of the most serious collisions are caused, or their consequences exacerbated, because of someone driving well in excess of the speed limit. Research shows that one in seven people are extreme speeders. These people are playing Russian roulette with their lives and those of others and they must be hit by the full force of the law.

 

24th November
2009
  

Update: Romania Easily Offended...

Romania whinges at top gear for Borat and gypsies reference

Top Gear Great Adventures Collection Jeremy Clarkson is in trouble again, this time with Romanian government

The production team of the BBC two hit series Top Gear have been asked by the Romanian government to remove supposedly offensive remarks made about the country. The Romanian ambassador Dr Ion Jinag was surprised and disappointed by the references to Borat and gypsies.

When Clarkson and his co-presenters Hammond and May visited the Romanian countryside, Jeremy put on a pork pie style hat and talked of entering Borat country. Clarkson said: I'm wearing this hat so the gypsies think I am one. I'm told they can be violent if they don't like the look of you.

The presenter was also seen washing his face before he said 'cool, refreshing communist water'. The Romanian embassy said: We anticipate a positive response to our request for changes.

 

4th December
2009
  

Update: The Unfairer Sex...

Gay couples refused tickets to studio recordings of Top Gear

Top Gear Official Annual 2010 Gay couples are furious after being banned from studio recordings of Top Gear

They are prevented from joining the TV audience under a bizarre rule that stipulates bookings must be 50% male and 50% female .

But the policy was slammed as discrimination . Simon Reeves who was turned down when he and his partner applied for tickets to the BBC2 show, said: I couldn't believe it. Top Gear is the blokiest show on telly but we weren't allowed unless we took a couple of female friends. It seems unfair that a married heterosexual couple are the 'ideal' applicants but same sex couples have no chance whatsoever.

All applications to attend the five-hour recording in an aircraft hangar in Dunsfold, Surrey, must be for groups of up to four, made up equally of males and females. The website which handles the allocation says : Each booking requires equal amounts of men to women, so please ensure that you have a 50/50 split of guys and gals in your party.

A BBC spokeswoman said same sex couples were welcome. The 50/50 split was simply to avoid the entire audience being made up of men . Viewers don't want to just look at a load of ugly men, she explained.

 

30th December
2010
  

Comment: Stig in a Manger...

Top Gear have fun with religion

top gear burkha video Top Gear's Christmas special had a bit of fun with religious themes.

The show with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond,  nd James May included a joke with a little baby Stig doll as Jesus in a manger.

The show was a ratings hit, but the send-ups and flippant remarks triggered a few nutter whinges.

The presenters posed as the Three Wise Men to drive through Middle East countries. At one stage, they even wore burkas.

The Daily Star reports a few minor whinges on TV discussion forums and that hate preacher Anjem Choudary said: The burka is a symbol of our religion and people should not make jokes about it in any way. It would have been equally bad even if they'd not been in a country mainly populated by Muslims.

Comment: A Bastion Against PC

30th December 2010. From Andrew

What the fuck?

Seriously, that's the only way I can express my thoughts for what has to be the most ridiculous subject ever.

Why is it, Top Gear goes to a foreign country and makes a few HARMLESS jokes, and the nutters are in uproar? Why is it people can come to the UK with their views and opinions, and be honoured for them, yet when we make a slight hint of a joke about a god that MIGHT NOT EVEN EXIST (face it, have you seen him?) there's pandemonium.

Why is religion such a pain in the ass? I salute the Top Gear team for doing what Top Gear has always done. Provided entertainment. They have not been trampled on by those silly PC pricks who claim you can't say that, it might upset 1 out of 6 billion people.

 

11th February
2011
  

Update: Top Gear Top Notch Mexican Offence...

Lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, and easily offended

Top Gear Apocalypse Digital Copy The BBC has apologised for remarks made on the television programme, Top Gear , that caused 'outrage' in Mexico.

The comments about Mexicans were made when they were discussing Mexican sports cars. Reviewing the Mastretta, Richard Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics: Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat. The presenters, known for their edgy jibes, then described Mexican food as refried sick .

Jeremy Clarkson added that he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep.

But somebody on the ambassador's staff must have been awake, as the ambassador demanded an apology, calling the remarks offensive, xenophobic and humiliating .

In a letter to Mexico's ambassador in London, the BBC said it was sorry if it had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humour.  

Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised, the BBC said. It added that stereotype-based comedy was allowed within BBC guidelines in programmes where the audience knew they could expect it, as was the case with Top Gear . Whilst it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour, the executive producer has made it clear to the ambassador that that was absolutely not the show's intention .

Hundreds of Mexicans contacted the BBC Spanish-language website BBC Mundo to protest about the remark  More expressed outrage in e-mails to Mexican newspapers and websites, where the Top Gear jibes have received huge coverage. The matter was also raised in the Mexican senate, where lawmakers were considering a motion of censure.

An all-party group of British MPs also urged the BBC to apologise, calling the remarks ignorant, derogatory and racist .

Update: Too Close to Home for Comfort

11th February 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Scenes in which Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May poked fun at Mexicans will be cut before the show is broadcast in the United States next week. The show is broadcast on the BBC America channel

 

14th February
2011
  

Update: Complaints Department in Overdrive...

BBC response to complaints about Mexican jokes during Top Gear

Top Gear Apocalypse Digital Copy Top Gear, comments about Mexicans
BBC Two

We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with comments made about Mexicans in the programme on 30 January 2011.

The producers of Top Gear have apologised to the Mexican Ambassador for the comments made about him during the show. Whilst the majority of the piece on the Mastretta had been discussed in advance with BBC Editorial Policy staff, the comments about him were ad libbed by the presenters during the recording. The BBC's Editorial Guidelines are very clear about singling out individuals for irreverent/mocking/ comments. Those guidelines were not adhered to and the Top Gear production team has apologised for this. The comments about the Ambassador have been removed from all repeats of the programme.

With regard to the other comments made about Mexicans, these were indeed playing off a stereotype, and that practice is something that regular viewers of Top Gear will be familiar with, as the presenters often make jokes about the perceived characteristics of various nationalities when talking about the cars made in those countries. It is something that has been done in the past with the French, the Germans, the Americans and the Italians, so Mexico was not singled out for special treatment in this case.

Comments made by the Top Gear presenters are clearly exaggerated for comic effect - to imply that a sports car is no good because it will spend all day asleep is self evidently absurd, and not meant to be taken as vindictive. The Top Gear audience understands this clearly and treats these remarks accordingly.

The UK prides itself on being a tolerant nation, but one of the contributing factors towards that tolerance is the fact that jokes made around national stereotyping are commonplace, and are indeed a robust part of our national humour. Typically the most comedic ones are negative - for example our own comedians make material out of the fact that the British are supposed to be terrible cooks, terrible romantics, and forever happy to come second. In fact, some of the more humorous complaints we have received from Mexico are based on stereotypical retorts, with one excellent one in particular referring to the presenters as effete tea drinkers.

In line with that British tradition, stereotype-based comedy is allowed within BBC guidelines, in programmes where the audience has clear expectations of that being the case, as it indeed is with Top Gear. Of course it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour.

It was not the intention of the programme to offend Mexicans but rather to use a clearly unbelievable stereotype of Mexicans to humorous effect.

 

8th January
2012
  

Update: Muddying the Waters...

Chinese Embassy accuses Jeremy Clarkson of woeful disrespect of decency and moral standards

Crying Out Loud According Clarkson Jeremy Clarkson, the TV presenter, has been ludicrously criticised for making trivial tasteless comments about the Morecambe Bay cockle picking tragedy in which 23 Chinese migrant workers died.

In a column for The Sun newspaper, Clarkson mocked the sport of synchronised swimming as Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water , adding: You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe Beach. For free.

Hardly worthy of mention but Tracy Brown, a Morecambe town councillor had a little whinge. She said:

I choose to ignore such comments and treat them with the contempt they deserve. In fact, this is beneath contempt. He is just trying to make himself look big at other people's expense. Many people around here were deeply affected by the tragedy.

But then the tiff escalated to international levels: Ms Dai Qingli, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy, went well overboard. She said:

We deplore and oppose Mr Clarkson's comments, which are insulting and show a woeful disrespect of decency and moral standards. We regret that The Sun has publicised such remarks.

 

21st January
2012
  

Updated: Mission Accomplished...

Indian High Commission complains to the BBC over the TOP Gear Christmas Special

shit for your companyTop Gear's Christmas Special had a bit of fun in India. The usual irreverent jokes ridiculed India's food, toilets, traditional clothing, trains and history.

The jokes notably included Clarkson riding around the country's worst slums in a 4-litre Jaguar fitted with a toilet, joking: This is perfect because everyone here gets the trots.

Not all the jokes targeted India, there was plenty of self effacing fun too. An advertising banner incompetently pasted to the side of train was split as carriages parted  losing the last 3 letters from: Eat English Muffins 

Even David Cameron participated in the Top Gear fun. He had a cameo role waving off the Top Gear trio on a trade mission as ambassadors of Britain to save the UK from bankruptcy.

At the time the programme got up the nose of the nutter mp Keith Vaz.

Now the Indian High Commission in London has formally complained to the BBC, accusing its producers of deceiving them over the nature of the programme, which was jokingly billed as a trade mission .

Update: BBC Response

18th January 2012. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

BBC logoComplaint

We've received complaints from some viewers who felt the Top Gear: India Special was offensive towards the country and its culture.

Top Gear's response

The Top Gear road trip across India was filled with incidents but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country. Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India but there's a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it. It's simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that's very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people.

Offsite Comment: Don't give way to the Top Gear-bashers

21st January 2012. See  article from  spiked-online.com

Spiked logo What Clarkson's audience understands that his shrill critics do not is that he is not to be taken seriously.

I wonder what proportion of the five million viewers of the Top Gear India Special over Christmas was desperate-to-be-offended members of the chattering classes? Skipping the second instalment of Great Expectations, they no doubt sat through the show solely to tweet about how awful Jeremy Clarkson and Co's monkeying about on the road to the Indian Himalayas was.

...Read the full article

 

 Commented: What's the betting that the next world war will be started over a trivial joke?...

Complaints about Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear reach new heights of absurdity


Link Here 12th May 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Great African Adventure Lawyers are to write to Barack Obama and the ambassadors of every country in which Top Gear airs asking them if the BBC motoring series should continue to be broadcast, following Jeremy Clarkson's mumbled use of the N-word .

Lawrence Davies, director of law firm Equal Justice, claimed Top Gear was racist and told MediaGuardian his firm did not accept the apology Clarkson has made. He also asked who had approved the scene when Clarkson is shown choosing between two cars by reciting the words to the nursery rhyme eeny, meeny, miny, moe and then apparently mumbling the word 'nigger'. Davies said:

We are to write to every ambassador and the US president next week asking them to consider the evidence and then to decide if this racist show should be broadcast in their country in future.

Davies also attacked education secretary Michael Gove for defending Clarkson on ITV's Good Morning Britain:

Michael Gove, a close ally of Clarkson's friend, the PM, rallied to Clarkson's defence today. We worked with him on the Baby P whistleblower case so we know him well. That the person responsible for our children's education should condone an apologetic racist before the actual investigation has begun (let alone concluded) is an absolute disgrace.

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman also chipped into the outrage and called for the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson. She screeched that anybody who used the word in whatever context should have no place at the BBC.

The BBC is still deciding what action to take and has yet to confirm if Clarkson will take part in the next series of Top Gear, which is due to begin filming soon. The BBC published the following response to complaints recieved:

Complaint

We've received complaints regarding Jeremy Clarkson allegedly using a racist term during the filming of an episode of Top Gear .

BBC's response

Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode. We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off. We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this.

Update: Farange takes a stand against PC extremism

4th May 2014. See  article from  heraldscotland.com

jeremy clarkson Jeremy Clarkson has admitted that he will be sacked by the BBC if he makes another supposedly offensive remark. Writing in his weekly Sun column the presenter also attacked the BBC for urging him to apologise over the footage, complaining he could not say sorry for something he had not done. He said:

I've been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.

And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head.

It's inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I've offended them, and that will be that.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Dover, Nigel Farage said:

The more controversial Jeremy Clarkson is, the more people watch his programme, and the more money the BBC makes out of marketing a show that sells globally and makes them a fortune.

I would think it's just typical Clarkson, getting very, very close to the line of being offensive but perhaps not quite going over it.

Offsite Comment: The N-word: do we have to spell it out?

8th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

The Guardian One word is so uniquely offensive that it should never appear in print, some argue.

Update: TV censor gets involved

9th May 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Top Gear is to be investigated by Ofcom following complaints presenter Jeremy Clarkson used a derogatory term. An episode of Top Gear, broadcast on BBC Two on March 16, showed Clarkson using the word slope , as an Asian man walked over a bridge in Burma.

The scene led to a complaint of casual racism , with Clarkson accused of referring to people of different races in pejorative terms .

The complaint will now be investigated in full by TV censor Ofcom, which will consider whether the broadcaster breached its codes.

Offsite Comment: Clarkson: the c-word that counts is context

Spiked logo 10th May 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com

 The hysteria over his n-word mumble marks a new stage in the war on words.

Comment: Living PC Language

10th May 2014. From Alan

letter writing A living language changes, as does acceptability of vocabulary in various contexts.

Go back to the middle ages, and Wyclif translates the Old Testament text on the ritual impurity of eunuchs by referring to the ballogys brused or kut off and he manages to employ a euphemism using twice as many naughty words as he avoids when he writes of the part of the bodye from which turdes are shatten out . Can't imagine a modern translation of the Bible referring to bollocks being bruised or cut off, or to the part of the body from which turds are shit out!

The other evening, I was looking at the photos in the bar at Birmingham Town Hall, showing the history of the building, illustrating -- appropriately left to right -- meetings addressed by Paul Robeson, Harold Wilson and Oswald Mosley. The poster put up by a Communist body for Robeson's speech happily used the not-quite-so-bad N-word, referring to Robeson's fight for American negros . (That's how they spelled it, with no E in the plural.) The National Association of Colored People in the USA still retains the use of coloured , now regarded as offensive on both sides of the pond.

I remember about twenty years ago reading a news report of a fight between a black man and a white man who had called him a fucking nigger . The paper had asterisked the F-word while printing the N-word in full. It struck me as a bit odd, since I don't think fucking was the word that made the black guy punch his lights out!

Going back 30 years or so, I remember a vicar's wife bemoaning the fact that you could no longer refer to a lovely clothing colour as nigger brown . A couple of minutes later, she reduced her husband, her son, and her son's mate (me) to horrified and uncontrollable mirth as she added, I believe in calling a spade a spade.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

3rd December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

BBC Trust The BBC Trust has said it will not consider an appeal calling for further action to be taken over Jeremy Clarkson's apparent use of the N-word in filming for Top Gear , because the clip was never actually broadcast on the BBC2 motoring show.

Complainants whinged that BBC management did not seem to take Clarkson's offences seriously, was inconsistent in sanctions applied to protect him for commercial reasons, and that there had not been meaningful apologies .

 

 Update: From a PC Slant...

TV censor uphold two complaints about racial pun on Top Gear


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Bridge watching Top Gear Burma Special
BBC 2, 16 March 2014, 20:00

Top Gear is a long-running magazine series on motoring. Presenters Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond provide information and commentary about cars. Programmes are light-hearted in tone, and typically include quirky and humorous banter between the presenters.

This particular episode was the second part of a two-part special, filmed in Burma, where the Top Gear presenters crossed the country in trucks and built a makeshift bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand. On observing the completed bridge, on which an Asian man is seen walking towards them, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond engaged in the following conversation:

Jeremy Clarkson: That is a proud moment..but...there is a slope on it.

Richard Hammond: You are right...[pointing]...it is definitely higher on that side.

Jeremy Clarkson then narrates, over images of the bridge: we decide to ignore the slope and move onto the opening ceremony.

Ofcom received two complaints from viewers who expressed concern that the word slope referred to the Asian man crossing the bridge and was an offensive racist term.

Ofcom noted that the word slope is an offensive and pejorative term for a person of East Asian descent, which originated during the Vietnam War. [presumably alluding to slant eyes]

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include but is not limited to...discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of...race...).

The BBC stated that the programme:

Used the word in what the programme-makers believed was an inoffensive, humorous play on words, addressed at the build quality of a bridge which the team had constructed and a local Asian man who was crossing it.

The BBC added that although the programme-makers:

Knew that the word could be used to refer to people of Asian origin they believed that such use was mere slang. The programme-makers were not aware at the time that it had the potential to cause offence particularly in some countries outside the UK

And had they been aware of this, the word would not have been used in this context. The BBC stated that it had already issued a public statement apologising for the use of the word and for any offence which its use caused.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

Ofcom acknowledges that slope is a term of offence more widely used in America and Australia. However it is also capable of causing offence in the UK particularly to people of Asian origin. Further, Ofcom research has indicated that viewers are likely to consider a word to be more offensive if they understand it to be making a derogatory reference to specific characteristics of a defined ethnic group.

Ofcom therefore considered whether the broadcast of this offensive word was justified by the context. Top Gear is widely known for its irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour, as well as the banter between the three presenters. We also noted that regular viewers of Top Gear were likely to be aware that the programme had previously used national stereotypes as a comedic trope, particularly to describe the characteristics of cars. Various nationalities have, at some point, been the subject of the presenters' mockery during the history of this long running programme. The regular audience for this programme adjusts its expectations accordingly.

In our view, however, in this case Jeremy Clarkson deliberately employed the offensive word to refer to the Asian person crossing the bridge as well as the camber of the bridge. Ofcom noted that this sequence was scripted in advance, and that clear consideration was given at the time of production to using the term slope to formulate what the production team intended to be humorous word play around it. There was clearly an opportunity both during filming and post-production to research the word and reach a more considered view on whether it was mere slang and had the potential to cause offence to viewers.

We took into account that the BBC said the programme makers intended the use of slope to be an inoffensive, humorous play on words , but that the broadcaster accepted now that the word was capable of causing offence in the UK and apologised. We noted that the BBC provided no other arguments to justify the potential offence in the context.

Ofcom concluded, however, that in the circumstances of this particular case there was insufficient context to justify the broadcast of this material. The BBC did not apply generally accepted standards so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from offensive material. As a result there was a breach of Rule 2.3.

 

 Updated: For once the BBC does not grovel to the easily offended...

The BBC responds to dangerously easy offence taken at number plate


Link Here 1st November 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Best British DVD Statement regarding Top Gear filming in Argentina, October 2014 BBC Two Logo

Complaint:

We received complaints from viewers concerned by press reports that, while filming in Argentina, Top Gear had apparently used cars with provocative registration plates.

BBC's Response:

We consulted the programme makers who would like to assure viewers that this was an unfortunate coincidence and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.

The crew of BBC's Top Gear have left Argentina after facing protests over a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands War.

The team, including host Jeremy Clarkson, have been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.

The show apparently provoked anger among locals by using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL.

Update: All guns blazing

22nd October 2014. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Argentina flag Argentina's ambassador to Britain has demanded an apology from the BBC over a joke by car show Top Gear . The Argentine embassy in London said Ambassador Alicia Castro had complained to the BBC about:

Clarkson's provocative behaviour and offensive remarks toward the government and the Argentine peopley. Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson's entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina.

The programme's crew had to leave Argentina hastily last month after they faced violent protests for driving a car with licence plate H982 FK, interpreted by some as a reference to the country's 1982 war with Britain over the disputed Falkland Islands.

Host Jeremy Clarkson has accused Argentine officials of whipping up anger for political capital.

The BBC said it would follow its usual complaint procedures.

Update: BBC bottle

1st November 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Jeremy Clarkson War Stories DVD The BBC has rejected a demand by the Argentinian ambassador to apologise for Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear levity, saying the BBC2 special will be broadcast as planned.

Danny Cohen, the BBC's director of television, said there was no evidence to support the allegation that the number plate on Clarkson's Porsche, H982 FKL, was a deliberate reference to the Falklands war. Cohen said in a letter to the ambassador:

The BBC was disturbed by the violence the team faced during their visit and I know we are agreed that this violence should not be condoned.

I am very aware that some have questioned whether the number plates were in some way a prank. I would like to reassure you again that nothing we have seen or read since the team returned supports the view that this was a deliberate act.

 

 Update: I'm Dreaming of a Sleight Christmas...

Argentina continues whinge at number plate joke in the Top Gear Christmas Special


Link Here 25th November 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
top gear argentina A few easily offended Argentines got wound up by a joke during the filming a Top Gear special.

Locals took offence at the H982 FKL number plate on a Porsche driven by Jeremy Clarkson, believing it was a reference to the 1982 Falklands conflict.

Argentina's ambassador to the UK, Alicia Castro, complained about the joke but the complaint was turned down by the BBC. Now she has resumed her torade against the joke by writing to the BBC Trust expressing discontent with how the number plate fiasco was handled. She claimed Clarkson's behaviour fell well below BBC's editorial values and standards and called for a fresh investigation.

In an interview with the Radio Times Richard Hammond said:

In society as a whole, we love to be offended and have a scapegoat. But at Top Gear we're the first to put our hands up and say we pitched it wrong. We have apologised. We're not in the business of genuinely upsetting or offending anyone. We're in the business of entertainment, and if it fails to entertain, it's wrong. If the public says we stepped over the line, then we have.

 

  Argentina Recommends...

Top Gear: Patagonia Special


Link Here 26th April 2015  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Patagonia Special DVD Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear colleagues deliberately entered Argentina with a Falklands-referenced number plate, a judge has whinged. Maria Cristina Barrionuevo rejected claims by the BBC and the presenter that the use of the plate H982 FKL on Clarkson's Porsche was an unfortunate coincidence . She also described the decision to drive through southern Argentina with the vehicle as arrogant and disrespectful .

The judge, based in the southern city of Ushuaia, where the trouble occurred last October, also ruled that the Porsche's number plate had been changed after the vehicle entered Argentina's southernmost tip of Patagonia. This is an offence that can lead to a conviction for falsification and carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

Local prosecutor Daniel Curtale had asked the judge to open a criminal investigation for alleged falsification. However, Mrs Barrionuevo rejected this call, concluding programme chiefs had acted to avert more conflict.  The prosecutors are understood to be preparing an appeal.

The judge concluded that the Top Gear team had not acted in bad faith in changing the plates and their hand was forced by massive government and popular pressure .

UK viewers can enjoy the 'disrespectful' fun in Top Gear: Patagonia Special .

 

 Update: Argentina gets nasty...

Still smarting from Top Gear joke


Link Here 30th October 2015  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Patagonia Special DVD Last April an Argentinain judge had put a stop tp attempts to have the former BBC presenter< Jeremy Clarkson charged with falsification over a Falklands referencing number-plate on the Porsche he drove for a tour of the country.

But state prosecutors appealed the judges decision not to press ahead with a full-scale criminal investigation against Clarkson and his ex- Top Gear team. And now  three appeal judges sided with prosecutors and ordered the reactivation of the case.

Prosecutors are avenging the joke by claiming the Top Gear team committed a crime under article 289 of the Argentinian Penal Code which carries a prison sentence of between six months and three years for those who falsify, alter or suppress the number of an object registered in accordance with the law.

However it is relevant to note that although the UK has an extradition treaty with Argentina, British courts have blocked recent requests over human rights concerns.

 

 Offsite Article: Top Gear's top controversies...


Link Here 27th December 2015  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Patagonia Special DVD The Radio Times charts some of the moments that saw Clarkson and co hit the headlines

See article from radiotimes.com

 

 Update: Meat Wagon...

Jeremy Clarkson's The Grand Tour scores a big hit in India where there is a rich vein if sensitivity to offend


Link Here 17th December 2016  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
grand tour episode 4 Amazon Prime Video has just launched in India, and have started on the wrong foot by censoring 30 minutes from an episode of The Grand Tour.

The fourth episode of The Grand Tour is listed as only 30 minutes in India, as opposed to the normal one hour. That's so that all references to a car made of meat could be excised from the show. It seems that India is a little meat sensitive for religious reasons.

It is reported that Amazon have made frequent recourse to blurring to censor more straightforward censorship issues such as nudity and other sexual content. Amazon are also quick to reach for the annoying bleep button when strong language is in the air.

The Amazon self censorship is a little confusing as this week, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting clarified that it has no plans to censor online streaming services.

 


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