Jokes by Jeremy Clarkson on BBC Two’s Top Gear about murdering prostitutes did not breach the Broadcasting Code, Ofcom has ruled.

The regulator also found that an episode of Harry And Paul on BBC One, which depicted an upper class man encouraging his ‘pet Northerner’ to mate with his neighbour’s Filipina maid, was not in breach.

Both shows provoked widespread criticism after they were broadcast.

Ofcom received 339 complaints about comments made by Jeremy concerning lorry drivers, and complaints to the BBC topped 1,800.

As he completed a lorry-driving task, he said: “This is a hard job and I’m not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it’s a hard job.

“Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That’s a lot of effort in a day.”

But despite the complaints, the watchdog said: “Ofcom did not believe the intention of the comments could be seen to imply that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes, nor would it be reasonable to make such an inference.

“In Ofcom’s view, the presenter was clearly using exaggeration to make a joke, albeit not to everyone’s taste.

The Harry and Paul show prompted 42 complaints to Ofcom and a vigil by members of the Filipino community outside the BBC in an attempt to force the broadcaster to apologise over what they saw as a ‘sexist, racist and immoral’ sketch.

There were 3,000 signatories to a petition which was handed to a representative of the Corporation. The Philippines ambassador in London also wrote to the BBC demanding an apology.