BBC Defends Controversial 'Top Gear Christmas Special'
LONDON – The BBC has rejected complaints about its controversial motoring show Top Gear, saying the Christmas special set in India was not insulting to the country.
The pubcaster has declined to apologize for any offense the show may have caused, issuing instead a statement from Top Gear producers claiming that the jokes in the show were against its presenters and not against India or Indians.
“Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of the India, but there is a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it,” the statement said.
“It is simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that is very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people.
The show featured host Jeremy Clarkson taking off his trousers in front of a host of dignitaries as well as stunts where Clarkson and fellow host Richard Hammond drove around the country in a Jaguar fitted with a toilet in its boot.
Other antics included putting obscene messages on the sides of railway trains.
The Christmas special attracted hundreds of complaints including a formal letter to the BBC from the Indian High Commissioner.