Top Gear Argentina: BBC refuses to apologise for Jeremy Clarkson number plate row and will broadcast episode as planned

Director of television Danny Cohen insists that the incident was a coincidence

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The Independent Culture

The BBC is determined to air the Top Gear special that sparked outrage in Argentina and refuses to apologise for any offence caused.

Jeremy Clarkson angered locals when he was seen driving a Porsche with the number plate H982 FKL, thought to be a deliberate reference to the Falklands War of 1982.

The team was forced to flee the country earlier this month after a group of war veterans protested outside their hotel and threw stones at them.

But despite officials demanding that the episode be destroyed, the BBC insists that the incident was nothing more than an unfortunate coincidence.

"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," said Danny Cohen, director of television, in a letter to Argentinian ambassador Alicia Castro, printed in the Guardian.

"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.

"We do plan to go ahead and broadcast the Top Gear programme filmed in Argentina. We will ensure that these programmes are a fair representation of what took place throughout their stay."


Cohen met with Castro last week to discuss her "deep regret" over Clarkson's "entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina" and her request for a public apology.

It remains unknown whether any of the conflict will be shown when the special airs on BBC Two later this year.

Clarkson but stands by his account of the furious Argentina row, which he described as "the most terrifying thing [he has] ever been involved in".

The TV presenter, 54, wrote in his Sun column earlier this year that he had been given a final warning from the BBC after a string of controversies surrounding his allegedly racist behaviour.

Clarkson had appeared to use the n-word in nursery rhyme "Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe" during a Top Gear outtake and he 'jokingly' referred to an Asian man as a "slope" in the show's Burma special.

"If I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked," he said.

"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."