If you are a program maker and want to drum up publicity for your new show then consider hiring Jeremy Clarkson who along with his two stooges, James May and Richard Hammond, manged to inflame local tensions whilst filming the current episode of Top Gear in Argentina.
The trio were escorted out of the country under police guard after locals became angered over references to the Falklands war of 1982. The three had been filming one of the show’s Top Gear specials in the America’s with a driving route taking them through the Patagonian highway, Route 40. Typically they each purchased a car for a 3,000 mile road journey.
Clarkson’s Porsche 928 had a number plate which read H982 FLK, and this is what sparked angry scenes of protests outside the hotel where the three presenters were staying, in the small town of Tolhuin on the Southern most tip of Argentina. There were reports of people throwing stones and rocks as the three were leaving under Police escort.
The Top Gear executive producer denied the number plate was deliberately chosen to inflame tensions and the BBC confirmed this later on as being an innocent coincidence. The film crew left the area three days early because local officials denied the Top Gear team permission to continue filming.
The BBC are also reporting that the presenters cars, a Lotus Esprit, Mustang and the 928, were left at the roadside and abandoned after the crew had come under attack by locals who threw stones at the vehicles. All crew members were escorted to the airport and flown out of the country.
The Falklands War was sparked when Argentina invaded the tiny British colony in 1982, the British won the war and ever since the island has been a source of lost national pride and humiliation for Argentina. The island has rich mineral and untapped oil wealth deposits, hence Argentina’s interest in the region which is situated 300 miles to the east.
Top Gear has been mired in lightweight but good natured controversy for sometime. That controversy crossed the line into racist comments uttered by the alpha male of the show, Jeremy Clarkson, in un-broadcast comments. The footage was leaked to national newspapers and Clarkson made what seemed like a groveling apology. The BBC had to step in and warn Clarkson over his future conduct, in what Auntie called the final warning.
Jeremy Clarkson is an outspoken multi millionaire who has made his wealth from the global success of Top Gear, its a huge commercial money spinner for the BBC. Final warning or not Clarkson will continue to push the boundaries until the very end.