Top Gear bosses deny insult claims

Top Gear bosses have refuted claims that the show's Christmas special in India was insulting to the country.

Following the broadcast of the episode, Indian diplomats sent a formal complaint to the BBC about content they thought was "disgusting".

But leading BBC figures have said the show was merely a "warts and all" depiction of the time the much-loved show's presenters spent in the country.

Some of the scenes during the 90-minute special that caused offence included Jeremy Clarkson speaking to locals in his boxer shorts; and the presenter saying a car with a toilet in the boot was "perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots".

Speaking for the first time about the controversy, programme chiefs pointed out that the show never displayed a "hostile or superior attitude" to the country.

They also highlighted that the jokes featured in the special were at the expense of presenters Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond rather than the Indian people, or the culture.

In statement on the BBC's complaints website, Top Gear chiefs explained that the India special was "filled with incidents but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country".

They added: "Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India but there's a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it."

Copyright Press Association 2012