Top Gear team flee Argentina following protests over Falklands number plate

Clarkson, James May, Richard Hammond and the rest of the Top Gear crew have left the country for Chile after angry protests at the show's use of a Porsche with the licence plate H982 FKL

The Top Gear production team has been forced to flee a region of Argentina after protests about their use of a car with the number plate “H982 FKL” which appeared to reference the Falklands war.

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Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond plus the BBC show’s crew were escorted to the airport three days earlier than planned following protests over the plates outside their hotel by Falklands veterans.

Demonstrators then stoned their vehicles at a petrol station as they crossed the town of Tolhuin on their way to the Chilean city of Punta Arenas where they are now reported to be staying. The crew were forced to abandon the cars in Argentina.

One local paper reported wrote of the attacks: “There were people injured and police cars damaged.”

Top Gear was in Argentina using three cars, a Porsche, a Lotus and a Mustang. Local officials said they believed Porsche’s license plate “H982 FKL” was a reference to the 1982 war between the UK and Argentina over the Falkland Islands.

However the show’s executive producer Andy Wilman denied the claims.

“Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme,” he said. “To suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue.”

The BBC declined to comment on the latest developments but it was able to confirm that the Top Gear crew had left Argentina.

RadioTimes.com attempted to contact Jeremy Clarkson but he was unavailable for comment.

In September Clarkson denied reports that he had been warned by BBC bosses not to provoke Argentine sensibilities when he was filming in South America. He tweeted a picture of himself standing underneath a Chilean flag with the words: 

In August, BBC director of television Danny Cohen said Clarkson was not “untouchable” following his various indiscretions, culminating most recently in his apparent mumbling of the N-word in an unbroadcast sequence of Top Gear.

In May Clarkson wrote in his Sun column: “I’ve been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.

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“And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head. It’s inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I’ve offended them, and that will be that.”