'Top Gear' crew flee Argentina after 'Falklands' stoning

The presenters of British motoring programme “Top Gear” fled Argentina after being pelted with stones over a controversial licence plate carried by one of their cars, British press reported Friday.

The BBC confirmed that the presenters and crew had left the South American country, but denied that the registration plate was intended as a deliberate provocation over the Falklands War.

Presenter Jeremy Clarkson was among those who were forced to abandon their vehicles after an angry crowd gathered and began throwing stones.

One of the vehicles — a Porsche — carried the plate H982 FKL, which local newspapers claimed was a reference to the 1982 conflict.

Patagonian daily newspaper Diario Jornada said: “‘Top Gear’ is filming in Patagonia and there’s controversy.”

“Even though the BBC authorities asked the popular presenter Jeremy Clarkson to behave himself during his time in Argentina, he chose to use the provocative number plate H982 FKL on his Porsche, in reference to the 1982 Falklands (Malvinas)” war, in which Britain defeated Argentina, it said.

But the BBC bosses said that the number plate was just a coincidence.

Executive producer Andy Wilman, said: “‘Top Gear’ production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original, is completely untrue.”

It is the latest in a series of controversies for the television show, one of the BBC’s most popular programmes for foreign sales.

Britain’s broadcasting watchdog criticised the BBC in July after Clarkson used an “offensive racial term” in an episode on Myanmar.

Regulator Ofcom said that Clarkson’s use of the word “slope” as slang for a person of Asian origin, was potentially offensive and that the BBC had failed in its duty to viewers by broadcasting it.

The ruling came three months after Clarkson was forced to apologise over footage in which he appeared to use another racist term as part of an old nursery rhyme during filming.

The show has previously got into hot water over its unflattering depictions of Albanians, Romanians and Germans and calling Mexicans “lazy and flatulent”.

The crew were in South America filming an episode on the Patagonian highway between Chile and Argentina.


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