Jeremy Clarkson strikes again saying Kent island is caravan site full of illegal immigrants
Published 12/01/2012 | 07:20
JUST HOURS after upsetting India with a culturally insensitive Top Gear special, Jeremy Clarkson has moved his attentions closer to home, by describing the Kent Isle of Sheppey as a huge caravan site.
Writing in the latest issue of Top Gear magazine, he also said the Kent Island, which is separated from the mainland by the Swale, was full of immigrants who had travelled from the Sangatte refugee camp in Calais.
It comes after it emerged a Top Gear "India Special", which was broadcast twice over the Christmas break, has caused upset in the world’s second most populous country.
During the 90 minute programme, Mr Clarkson, one of the BBC’s highest paid stars, was filmed speaking to locals while operating a trouser press in his boxer shorts and with a Jaguar with a lavatory fixed to the boot.
The programme makers also put banners on trains reading: “British IT is good for your company”. Another said: “Eat English muffins”. The messages became obscene when the carriages parted, ripping the signs.
Today Downing Street refused to censure the BBC or Clarkson saying it was a matter for the corporation.
But now the Top Gear presenter has upset Kent residents.
In the article about driving to the Isle of Sheppey, in east Kent, the Top Gear host wrote: "Mostly, the Isle of Sheppey is a caravan site.
"There are thousands of thousands of mobile homes, all of which I suspect belong to former London cabbies, the only people on Earth with the knowledge to get there before it's time to turn round and come home again."
He then added: "And what of the locals? Well, they tend to be the sort of people who arrived in England in the back of a refrigerated truck or clinging to the underside of a Eurostar train."
Now Conservative MP Gordon Henderson has invited Clarkson for a personal tour of Sheppey to show the presenter what the Island had to offer.
Mr Henderson, who is MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey, said: "Jeremy Clarkson is just being Jeremy Clarkson. I understand that he has said that Sheppey is a massive caravan park.
"Well he's quite right in many ways. We have got lots of caravans and that is one of its attractions and I wish more people would come down and use the caravans.
"Perhaps Jeremy would actually like to come down to Sheppey sometime. I'll take him round and show him some of the camps and show him some of the other sights that we've got on Sheppey."
Yesterday the Indian High Commission in London 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”.
The complaint follows a string of controversies involving Mr Clarkson.
Last month the BBC had to apologise after Mr Clarkson told viewers on a live programme that striking workers should be shot in front of their families.
There were further apologies earlier last year to Mexico, after co-presenter Richard Hammond made an insulting parody of Mexicans to describe a Mexican sports car.
In the past few days Clarkson has also caused consternation in China for making tasteless comments in his tabloid newspaper column about the Morecambe Bay cockle picking tragedy in which 23 Chinese migrant workers died.
Last month MPs told Lord Patten, the chairman of the BBC Trust, that Mr Clarkson was a “luxury the BBC cannot afford” and should be sacked. Lord Patten said a “leading cultural export” and said he would not be sacked. He said: “There is a lot of people who would be disappointed.”
In a letter sent to the programme’s producer, officials at the High Commission condemned the latest Top Gear broadcast as “tasteless”, and accused the BBC of breaching undertakings about the filming.
The letter, which was copied to BBC’s director general Mark Thompson, said: “The programme was replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC.
“I write this to convey our deep disappointment over the documentary for its content and the tone of the presentation. You are clearly in breach of the agreement that you had entered into, completely negating our constructive and proactive facilitation.”
In the wake of the programme, the BBC said it had received just 23 complaints. However diplomats at the consulate told The Daily Telegraph that its staff had received “hundreds” of letters and phone calls.
One diplomat told The Daily Telegraph: “The BBC has to make amends, particularly to assuage the hurt sentiment of a very large number of people."