Sunday 31 May 2015

"An unfortunate coincidence"

The one on the Patagonian episode of Top Gear appears in this month's offerings. 

If you recall, the issue arose because of a confrontation with Argentinian locals arising from the said Argentinians noticing Clarkson and Co's registration plate and not taking a liking to it:

Many saw it as implying '1982 Falklands' and read it as a typically un-PC (and rather funny) Top Gear joke. The Argentinians saw it the same way (though they didn't find it at all funny) and complained...and complained...and complained...

The upper echelons of the BBC's Complaints Tree are experts at crafting po-faced rejections of complaints and complaints appeals (even if they're valid, as many of you are doubtless all too aware), and this one's an absolute gem.

My favourite bits run as follows:
The Head of Editorial Standards, BBC Trust, noted that the Executive had issued, prior to broadcast of the programme, detailed responses explaining that the number plate controversy which occurred during filming in Argentina was the result of an unfortunate coincidence, and the cars were neither chosen for their registration plates, nor were new registration plates substituted for the originals.
To date, there is nothing that we have seen or read since the team returned which supports the view that the number plates in question were deliberately employed, which is in-keeping with what production staff and the presenters have said.
Yes, it was all an unfortunate coincidence (just like the 'I hate Cristina Kirchner' t-shirt I'm wearing as I write this is also an unfortunate coincidence). H982 FKL was a pure accident.

And for once I entirely agree with the BBC bigwigs. 

No apology. Up yours, Cristina!


  1. Did the Argentinians recognise it at first? Or did they have to be tipped off by someone on the BBC team?

    In Argentina, the Falklands are not known as such, they are the Malvinas Islands. Even as an ancient Briton, I wouldn't recognise that plate as referring to the Falklands until told. Had it been F982 KLD or F982 LKD or, better still, F4 LKD, then yes I could see that straight away. We were told on the news immediately after the team were attacked that the first objectors who 'rioted' (threw a few stones) were young children who were not even born in the 20th century. It's true that young children are taught all about the Malvinas War from primary years upwards.

    There's a bit of a whiff about this whole thing, just like one or two of the other Top Gear 'controversies' that seem to me to be designed to enhance the reputation and, dare I say, sales of the programme ahead of first broadcast.

  2. It was an accident, no doubt. But at what point did anyone connected to the show notice? They had Argentinian handlers. No possible way nobody noticed fairly early on.

    But this is like everything else with Clarkson. None of his faux pas end up on air by accident. It's all pre-recorded and edited for broadcast. Every single one was known before going to air, and the let it through every time. The Polish truck driver killing a prostitute, "catch a n!gger by the toe", "slope", all of it. This is the same thing. They know the whole time, and somehow, the amount of money Top Gear earns and the fear of public backlash against punishing Clarkson for allegedly being right-wing create an environment in which this happens over and over again.

    Ironically, what killed him is something that happened off set, outside of filming, and genuinely represents what a slob and buffoon Clarkson really is.

  3. I rather liked the alternative affront versions suggested, mostly on twitter.

    There was one of genius I need to relocate, that managed to get the 1,000 bomber raid, Lancasters, Dresden and heavens knows what else in.

    I must confess if driving past, I still may not have 'got' it unless tipped off.


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