Top Gear’s most controversial moments | Virgin Media
Top Gear’s most controversial moments

Top Gear’s most controversial moments



It’s here! Finally! After roughly the same amount of hype and speculation you’d expect to accompany a Doctor Who/Sherlock/Holby City crossover special, Top Gear is back on Sunday 29 May at 8pm on BBC Two don’t miss out – record it now with TV Anywhere.

Will Chris Evans and his small army of new presenters get our engines revving, or will they conk out like an 80s-era Lada? Who knows, but they’re likely to be rather less controversial than the last lot, who turned being gratuitously offensive into a fine art. Diplomats, BBC executives and anyone of a sensitive disposition should look away now…


The Mexican Stand-Off

Proving it’s not just Clarkson who’s capable of casually insulting entire swathes of human civilization, Richard Hammond triggered a minor international incident when he rhetorically asked “Why would you want a Mexican car?” before launching into… well, watch the clip and hear it straight from the Hamster’s mouth. (The BBC was forced to apologise to the Mexican ambassador for what he condemned as “offensive, xenophobic and humiliating remarks”.)


The Falklands War, Part Two

Top gear - The Falklands War, Part Two

A Christmas special set in Argentina led to numberplate-gate for the Top Gear team, when the registration on Clarkson’s Porsche – H982 FKL – was taken to be a reference to the 1982 Falklands War. And by “reference to” we mean “mocking, goading mickey-take of”. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t, but it ended up with Clarkson apparently hiding under his hotel bed, petrified, while an angry Argentinian mob howled for his blood outside. So, you know, at least there was a funny side.


What’s the beef?

Why would anyone tie a dead cow to the roof of their car and then reverse hard enough to send it flopping to the ground? Because Clarkson, is why. It also happened to be his solution to the challenge of finding a dinner made of roadkill, after a deceased squirrel proved less than appealing. Dozens of complaints ensued, presumably all from Bear Grylls complaining the boys were straying onto his turf.


Making of three murderers 

Making of three murderers

The BBC were no doubt grateful to receive more than 600 complaints when Clarkson, Hammond and May decided to test the relative capacities of three car boots… by trying to fit a “murdered” Albanian in each of them. “Quite a big chap,” Hammond said, motioning to the rotund “corpse” lying on the ground. “So he took a lot of murdering.” Perhaps it was an analysis of Albanian mafia tactics? A meta-commentary on the troubled geopolitical landscape of modern Europe? Or perhaps they were just being absolute prats? You decide.

Three go mad in India

Top Gear - Three go mad in India.

When the three pals went off for a special episode in India, they used their time there to really engage with local culture in a sensitive and sincere way. No, wait, that is precisely what didn’t happen. What they actually did was stick seemingly innocent slogans on the side of trains which, when split in two, were immediately transformed into rude catchphrases destined to make the UK ambassador to the region facepalm themselves to death.

Not-so-sweet home Alabama 

On driving into Alabama, Clarkson noted bullet holes in the road sign. And pondered thus: “They’ve shot their own sign. What are they going to do to us?” Why was he worried? Because the three of them had been challenged to write the most potentially offensive, violence-inducing graffiti on each other’s cars. Like “Hillary For President”, and “I’m bi”. This being one of the classic, immortal moments in Top Gear history, it’s worth observing the whole sorry spectacle in full…


Shooting Stig

Top Gear - Shooting Stig.

According to the Beeb, a “considerable number” of complaints greeted a sequence in which the lads were taught the fine art of drive by shooting. Literally, by driving past cardboard cut-outs of the Stig and peppering them with bullets. Could it be because we as a nation have never been crazy about guns? Or is it because Clarkson was acting like such a prancing dingbat. Honestly, it was like watching a drunken dad on the dance floor at a wedding, only with dangerous firearms…

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