Monday 19 February 2018

Clarkson drives India mad over 'disgusting Top Gear'

Robert Dex in London

Indian diplomats have complained to the BBC about a "disgusting" episode of 'Top Gear' filmed in the country.

The 90-minute India special showed Jeremy Clarkson talking to locals while dressed in his boxer shorts and using a trouser press and included a car fitted with a toilet in the boot which he said was "perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots".

They also put banners on trains carrying the messages: "British IT is good for your company" and "Eat English muffins" which became obscene when the trains moved and the banners were torn.

Raja Sekhar from the Indian High Commission in London said a letter had been sent to the BBC to "convey our strong disappointment".

He said: "We were very actively helping out facilitating the visit but they ran down the whole society, culture and people. It's really disgusting.

"We have a very close relationship with and respect for the BBC... so we feel a bit let down."

It is not the first time the show has run into trouble after venturing abroad.

The BBC was forced to apologise to the Mexican ambassador last year after remarks made by Mr Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.

Mr Hammond said Mexican cars reflected national characteristics, saying they were "just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent".

A BBC spokeswoman said: "We have received a letter from the Indian High Commission and will respond to them in due course."

The show started with its three co-hosts outside Downing Street reading from a letter Mr Clarkson said was from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Mr Clarkson said he had written to Mr Cameron offering to lead a trade mission to the country and received "a personal letter replying to us from David Cameron himself" which advised them to consider "a fence-mending trip to Mexico" instead.

Asked why Mr Cameron had decided to write a letter to the programme, and if this decision was prompted by his friendship with Mr Clarkson, an official spokesman said: "When people write to the prime minister, or indeed any other government minister, it is customary to reply.

"He got a letter. He replied."

Irish Independent

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