The Argentinian ambassador to the UK has demanded a public apology from the BBC following the row over a Top Gear special filmed in the South American country.
The show’s crew had to leave the country after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.
Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman has denied the number plate was a “stunt” and Jeremy Clarkson was “shocked” when someone pointed out the link between the number plate and the Falklands War days into filming.
Top Gear presenters James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond were filming in Argentina (Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
A statement from the embassy said: “Argentine ambassador to the UK Alicia Castro made a formal complaint to the BBC regarding Jeremy Clarkson’s provocative behaviour and offensive remarks towards the government and the Argentine people, following Top Gear’s recent filming in Argentina, calling for the BBC to make a public apology.”
She met the BBC’s director of television, Danny Cohen, at New Broadcasting House in central London yesterday.
The complaint referred to ‘serious accusations’ Clarkson had made against the Buenos Aires government which he said had made ‘political capital’ out of the issue.
The embassy statement went on: “Furthermore, the Argentine ambassador deeply regretted Jeremy Clarkson’s entirely false accusations of alleged resentment against British citizens in Argentina.”
Going filming tomorrow. Will check number plate before setting off.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) October 17, 2014
A BBC spokeswoman said: “The BBC has received a complaint and will apply its usual processes.”
She is not the first diplomat to be upset by Top Gear.
In 2011, the BBC had to apologise to the Mexican ambassador over comments made by Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.
May described Mexican food as ‘like sick with cheese on it’ and Clarkson predicted they would not get any complaints about the show because ‘at the Mexican embassy, the ambassador is going to be sitting there with a remote control like this (snores). They won’t complain, it’s fine.’
In fact, the Mexican ambassador His Excellency Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza wrote to the corporation to complain about the ‘outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults’ and the BBC had to say sorry.