BBC screens controversial Top Gear episode

The Top Gear episode that sparked a diplomatic row between the UK and Argentina has finally been broadcast.

The special, which was screened on BBC2 on Sunday, saw hosts Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond attempting to drive 1,600 miles to Argentina’s southern-most tip to stage a game of ”car football” against some Argentinian drivers.

Furious Argentinians believed a numberplate on Jeremy Clarkson’s Porsche was a sly reference to the Falklands War,  but Top Gear insisted it was just a coincidence.

The long-running BBC2 show broadcast the team’s desperate attempts to leave Argentina under cover of darkness, having been driven out of their hotel by a mob of nationalists and war veterans.

Clarkson said: “Falklands War veterans said if we did not stop filming there would be trouble. The head veteran accused us of putting a fake number plate on the Porsche and that it was a deliberate reference to the Falklands War.”

Veterans also said a mob was on its way and there would be violence if they didn’t leave the hotel in three hours. At the time, producers could be given no assurances from police for their safety, while a lack of phone signal en route meant they were unable to contact the British embassy, Clarkson said.

The 31-strong film crew and presenters were pelted with eggs and rocks, while their convoy was flanked by motorcycles as they made their escape. Two members of the crew were hurt and they had to abandon the Porsche before making it to safety.

Earlier this year, Argentinia’s London ambassador Alicia Castro wrote to the BBC expressing her ”discontent” about the programme.

Ms Castro subsequently met the corporation’s director of television Danny Cohen, but he refused her demand for a public apology and said the BBC would screen the show.

In an introduction to the programme, Clarkson said: “They wondered if this was a reference to the 1982 Falklands War. We had been made aware of the issue shortly after we arrived in Argentina. There was nothing we could do about it, you can’t just change a car’s number plate. All we wanted to do is come here and play (car) football.”