BBC gets 21,000 complaints after Clarkson outburst

Jeremy Clarkson’s TV outburst in which he said striking workers ‘should be shot’ has led to more than 21,000 complaints to the BBC.

The Top Gear host – who made his comments during BBC1’s The One Show on Wednesday – has since apologised, together with the BBC.

The incident led to condemnation by union leaders and politicians, with Prime Minister David Cameron branding the presenter’s comments ‘silly’.

Clarkson said his comments were not meant to have been taken seriously, as he made his apology on Thursday. But in an interview with The Sun today (Friday) he appeared to be taking the matter less than seriously when he also apologised to sparrows, after saying he did not like them during the same interview.

In a statement on Thursday afternoon, Clarkson said: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context. If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.”

The BBC said the item ‘wasn’t perfectly judged’.

The gaffe came as he appeared on TV on the evening of Britain’s biggest public sector strikes for 30 years.

Speaking about the strikers, he said: “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. I mean, how dare they go on strike when they’ve got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?”

Despite the apology, Clarkson told The Sun that ‘there isn’t a case to answer’ in the context of the full interview.