Common Purpose BBC agreed the wicked Clarkson rant to shoot strikers


Saturday December 3,2011
By Giles Sheldrick

JEREMY Clarkson’s rant about striking workers being shot had been agreed with TV bosses beforehand, it emerged last night.

The Top Gear host’s outburst on BBC1’s The One Show on Wednesday had by last night attracted 21,335 complaints.

But the corporation admitted yesterday that the interview had been discussed with the show’s presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones before they went on air.

It is understood that Clarkson then went too far and overstepped the agreed boundaries. The 51-year-old broadcaster was forced to apologise while the BBC also issued a statement saying it was sorry for the remarks.

Clarkson said: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context.

“If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.”

The BBC later admitted the item “wasn’t perfectly judged”.

I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context

Clarkson’s comments led to condemnation by union leaders and politicians, with David Cameron branding them “silly”.

His remarks on the early evening magazine show came on the day of Britain’s biggest public sector strikes for 30 years.

Speaking about the strikers he said: “I’d have them all shot. I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families. I mean, how dare they go on strike when they’ve got these gilt-edged pensions that are going to be guaranteed while the rest of us have to work for a living?”

Despite his apology Clarkson, who is filming in China, said “there isn’t a case to answer” in the context of the full interview.

He added: “It’s a knee-jerk reaction to something where you’re only getting part of the story.”

Mr Cameron, who lives close to Clarkson’s home in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, said: “It was obviously a silly thing to say.”

Earlier this year the BBC had to apologise about an item on Top Gear that led to the Mexican ambassador complaining about “outrageous, vulgar and inexcusable insults” made by Clarkson and co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond.

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