ENTERTAINMENT

'Top Gear' Team Defends Jeremy Clarkson As Licence Plate Fail Forces TV Crew Out Of Argentina

03/10/2014 12:26 BST | Updated 03/10/2014 12:59 BST

Jeremy Clarkson has been in hot water again but, for once, it does look as though it was entirely unintentional.

The 'Top Gear' presenter was filmed in a car with the number plate H982 FKL.

Which would have been nothing out of the ordinary, apart from the fact that the team were in Argentina, which meant the number plate could have been inferred as a reference to the 1982 Falklands War, waged between Argentina and the UK.

Clarkson Slammed In Argentina

This didn't go down well with Argentinian daily newspaper Diario Jornada... and was quickly picked up in this country by the Mirror.

And the reaction in Argentina grew so quickly that, according to the Daily Mail, Clarkson and the rest of the team have been forced to abandon their shooting schedule and leave the country early, checking out of their hotel this morning and being escorted by police guide to the neighbouring country of Chile.

The Mail reports that one councillor has become equally incensed by the licence plates on the cars of fellow presenters Richard Hammond and James May - 269 and 646 respectively. According to Juan Manuel Romano, these numbers were uncannily close to the number of Britons and Argentines killed in the conflict (actually 255 and 649).

'Top Gear' exec producer Andy Wilman has come out fighting for his man, saying: “Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue.”

This does, indeed, seem like an unfortunate, unplanned incident that would have raised no eyebrows, save for Clarkson's previous record in causing offence when visiting foreign countries in the course of his 'Top Gear' duties.

Clarkson Slammed In Argentina

As it sits, however, it's just another log on the fire that Clarkson, Wilman and the rest of the 'Top Gear' crew were no doubt hoping was in the process of cooling, not hotting up.

Talking of cooling down, Clarkson had his own temperate reaction to the affair... (language, Timothy!)

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