Top Gear Patagonia Special to air at Christmas despite complaints from Argentina's government

The show sparked outrage in Argentina when a Porsche number plate was believed to be a deliberate reference to the 1982 Falklands War

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The Independent Culture

Top Gear’s controversial Patagonia special has been given a Christmas air date, despite continuing complaints from the Argentinian government.

The BBC’s festive schedule announcement came on the same day that Argentine ambassador Alicia Castro’s angry letter to the corporation was made public.

Castro wrote to BBC Trust chairwoman Rona Fairhead expressing her “discontent” after a disappointing meeting with Danny Cohen, the BBC’s director of television.

Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond were forced to flee Argentina with production crew after local people reportedly began throwing stones at them.

Protests had erupted when the registration number of their Porsche, H982 FKL, was pointed out as a possible provocative reference to the 1982 Falklands War.

Executive producer Andy Wilman insisted that the number plate was not a “stunt”, while Clarkson said he was “shocked” at the merely coincidental link.

Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson denies any wrongdoing in Argentina

Castro demanded a meeting with Cohen, who refused to issue a public apology and told her that the BBC would be screening the episode.

"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," he told her in October.

Castro described Cohen’s rejection as “inadequate” and told the BBC Trust that she believed he had not “investigated the issues raised in any depth”, adding that Clarkson’s behaviour on the show “fell well below the BBC’s editorial values and standards”.


The Top Gear Patagonia special sees Clarkson, May and Hammond attempt to drive 1,600 miles to the country’s southern-most tip to stage a game of “car football” against some Argentinian drivers.

Other BBC shows confirmed for Christmas include Doctor Who, Mrs Brown’s Boys and Call The Midwife specials, a tribute show to comic Rik Mayall and the final episodes of Miranda.