Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond felt 'a real chill' over Falklands number plate

Presenter claims H982 FKL plate was a 'genuine accident'

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The Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has claimed he felt “a real chill” when he realised that a number plate being used in Argentina by his colleague Jeremy Clarkson could be interpreted as a reference to the Falklands War.

Supporting Clarkson’s assertion that the use of the plate was “coincidental”, Hammond claimed that the choice of a car with the registration H982 FKL had been an “accident”.

The comments follow criticisms of Clarkson by the Argentinian ambassador to the UK, Alicia Castro, who claimed the presenter had “fabricated” an account in the Sunday Times of the Top Gear team being attacked for being “English”.

Clarkson had sought to “portray Argentines as savages”, Ms Castro said in a comment piece for The Independent. She said the presenter’s references in his article to the Falklands War were a “malicious mockery” of those who lost their lives in the conflict. And she noted that a BBC natural history unit had worked in the same Patagonia region without problems.

Hammond told BBC radio presenter Chris Evans that he only realised the significance of the plate after it was pointed out on Twitter. It would have been “a terrible gag if we’d planned it”, he said. “We wouldn't joke about soldiers, we simply wouldn’t. That one was a genuine accident.”