By on November 4, 2008

BBC Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson better watch out for truck drivers from now on, after making an on-screen joke linking lorry drivers to murdered prostitutes. The Times— the boradsheet that prints JC’s columns– describes the on-screen palaver thus: “The controversial broadcaster made his comment on Sunday night’s programme, on BBC2, as he and fellow presenters James May and Richard Hammond found out what it was like to drive heavy goods vehicles. Bemoaning the constant need to change gear, Clarkson said: “This is a hard job and I’m not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it’s a hard job. Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That’s a lot of effort in a day.” The BBC responded with their usual combination of condescension and weasel words: ‘The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson’s long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona. This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence.” Well, fair enough. As the Times points out, “Notorious prostitute killers Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, and Steve Wright, also known as the Suffolk Strangler, were both lorry drivers.” More worryingly, the BBC has “convinced” YouTube to remove the video clip in question from general circulation.

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26 Comments on “Top Gear Presenter in the Soup After Truck Driver Murder Gag...”


  • avatar
    Rday

    Love the way Jeremy attacks everything…in a very funny manner. His comedy is top drawer. Wish we could have an american Top Gear without censorship and with intellectual freedom.

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    It pisses me off when people get pissed off by Clarkson’s witticisms. I swear to god, people are so thin skinned and uptight these days.

  • avatar

    This is the British equivalent of an American saying “going postal“… which 99.9 times out of 100 is meant in jest. People need to lighten the hell up. I mean, if you can’t laugh, you should be killed*.

    –chuck

    * (that was a joke.)

  • avatar
    JJ

    I saw the episode (in the Netherlands) last Sunday and it was hilarious. The three of them in trucks, some personal injury, violence, flames and fire, damaged cars and trucks…Classic TopGear…Or actually, typical of TopGear of the last few years.

  • avatar
    autonut

    Congratulation on Obamination of US. My guess provocative material like that will be banned and we’ll be allowed instead to watch video of Kenian camel racing.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I think the only time people get offended by that kind of thing is when it is a little too close to the truth. No offense to all the non-prostitute murdering truck drivers out there.

  • avatar

    It’s all the speed those truck drivers do that makes them murder prostitutes.

  • avatar
    GiddyHitch

    “Congratulation on Obamination of US. My guess provocative material like that will be banned and we’ll be allowed instead to watch video of Kenian camel racing.”

    Ummmmmm, the first ‘B’ in ‘BBC’ stands for ‘British’. And the Times is a newspaper in London. England. Finally, it’s spelled, “Kenyan”. Now carry on with the non-sequitur.

    I blame all of the truck driver prostitute murders on the kids making stabbing gestures as they pass by on the school bus. The truckers have no choice but to give the kiddies what they demand.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    People are way to sensitive these days. I’m just waiting for the day when a movie like ‘Blazing Saddles’ is banned. (sigh)

  • avatar
    schadenfred

    I loathe the guy, but that’s goddamn funny.

  • avatar
    GermanGuy writing from Germany

    He is the guy who said that he chose his wife because “her father has killed so many Germans during WW2”.

    Still, I love to watch Top Gear and read his articles on The Times.

    Germany would be a much better country if WE had a guy like him on TV to take the Brits for a ride…

  • avatar

    Funny they didn’t bring up his constant lambasting of Land Rover Discovery owners as axe-murderers in wellies who drive around the countryside dumping bodies. Which is also based on a kernel of truth about a British serial killer who used a Disco to dump bodies.

    Good ol’ Clarkson. I hope everyone who watched the episode picked up on the “head on collision” (deliberately driving head on into a brick wall) that was reported in the media a few weeks ago.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Congratulation on Obamination of US. My guess provocative material like that will be banned and we’ll be allowed instead to watch video of Kenian camel racing

    Considering that Nipplegate was largely the result of a social conservative in charge of the FCC, I’d hardly say that’s fair. Of course, this is the US, where prudishness abounds across the (very narrow) political spectrum.

    Why, both the Right (the Democrats, by the way) and the Ultra-Right have had their champions in this space. Tipper Gore comes to mind, and it’s amusing to see Sarah Palin trying to out-schoolmarm her. Sex and foul language is dirty and evil, but fully automatic assault weapons never hurt anyone!

  • avatar
    autonut

    psarhjinian
    Please don’t take me wrong: I am all for nipples, and AK-47.

  • avatar
    srclontz

    I saw the entire episode, and I thought it was typical Clarkson, and very entertaining. I was far more shocked by him driving through a brick wall and injuring himself, that seemed, unnecessary, but it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

    Still, the reaction to every single controversial statement made by Jeremy Clarkson makes me fear for the future. Some day he will cross the line, as viewed by the politically correct, and he will be forced out. A bland and lifeless presenter will take his place, and Top Gear, as we know it, will vanish.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Please don’t take me wrong: I am all for nipples, and AK-47.

    I don’t mind the above, but if I had to choose, it’d be nipples, then foul language and then assault, battery & murder.

    I suppose the burning question is: “Does Top Gear need more nipples?” to which the answer is “Not if they’re Jeremy Clarkson or James May’s”. Now, I don’t swing that way, but Richard Hammond isn’t half bad, so I suppose we could make an exception there.

  • avatar
    willbodine

    I’m still trying to figure out where this gaffe falls on the “Imus emotional outrage” scale. When the dust settles, I doubt if the British public (and media) will over-react the way their American cousins did.

  • avatar
    kovachian

    Right on! Even the whores union at http://www.prostitutescollective.net/ got upset over the tarnishing of their good name!

    By the way, I tried to get a list of member’s phone numbers (strictly for *ahem* interview purposes), but they wouldn’t help me.

  • avatar
    B.C.

    I’m surprised there wasn’t more outrage over his comments that the financial crisis was caused by banks lending to banks lending to Mexicans in California who can’t pay the loans back. Being surrounded by the SoCal consumerism culture, it’s been on my mind but I’d get murdered if I said anything of the sort.

  • avatar
    geggamoya

    Seriously, Clarkson is a guy who likes cars and says what he wants to say. Kind of like this site really, and that’s why i read TTAC. Being ultra cautious not to offend anyone would be extremely boring.

    The world needs more people like him, and less people who bitch and moan. At lest 7 million people watched the Top Gear episode, and about 200 of them complained. My wild ass guesstimate is that not even half of those have seen the episode

    Will Shiers, editor of Truck & Driver magazine said “a small number of drivers were offended by the murdering prostitute reference”.

    “On the whole, I thought the show was really entertaining.

    “If anything it succeeded in demonstrating to car drivers just how difficult it is to drive a truck.” Taken from the BBC article about this.

  • avatar
    Verbal

    Clarkson said: “This is a hard job and I’m not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it’s a hard job. Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That’s a lot of effort in a day.”

    He didn’t insult Americans anywhere in there. I don’t get it.

  • avatar
    powerglide

    I feel gruntled. (Hi, Juniper !)

  • avatar
    romanjetfighter

    Somehow insulting people based on nationality instead of race is much more funny and acceptable at the same time. :P

    I love Jeremy! That episode was so funny. I liked the part where he was shaking in pain and terror after he hit the brick wall. :P

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    Psar,
    Just because both candidates had to pretend to be to the right of their actual positions to compete doesn’t mean they are both right wing parties, quite the opposite. The only way to call both parties conservative is to include all the countries that aren’t as successful as ours in the mix. That’s like saying that major league pitchers are all excellent hitters because they are better than the peewees.

    What’s really important is when will we get new episodes of Top Gear in the US?

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    Just because both candidates had to pretend to be to the right of their actual positions to compete doesn’t mean they are both right wing parties, quite the opposite

    When people are, with a straight face, calling George W. Bush a socialist, I’d say the American political spectrum could use some broadening on the leftward side.

    What’s really important is when will we get new episodes of Top Gear in the US?

    Youtube, or if you prefer more direct means, isohunt, are your friends.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    psar,

    We are top dog in the world for a reason. Why would Tiger Woods want to be more like other golfers?

    We will be spending the next 20 years trying to mitigate the damage done over the next 2.

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