Jeremy Clarkson: “It has been a difficult year”

Top Gear presenter opens up about fleeing Argentina and whether he would run for UKIP

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Jeremy Clarkson has talked about the “difficult year” he has been through, and his views on Nigel Farage.

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Talking with Jonathan Ross, the Top Gear presenter admitted it had been a trying period for himself and the show. “It has been a difficult year. You’ve been there, I know I’ve been there and it’s not nice,” he said, making reference to Ross’s own past difficulties. “But you know, here we are, we made it through, nobody died and so let’s carry on.”

Clarkson again denied that the infamous registration plate that triggered the team’s hasty exit from Argentina, H982 FKL, had been deliberate. ”We don’t check registration numbers before setting off. How do I know I haven’t driven through Scotland with H746 CDN referring to Culloden or France referring to Agincourt? I may well have done that in the past.”

When pressed by Ross, who bluntly declared that initially he “could not believe that you didn’t do it on purpose,” Clarkson responded: “I’ve given up trying to say to people it was a coincidence because nobody believes us. Even if we had done it on purpose, and we didn’t, but even if we had, it didn’t warrant the reaction that we got because it was barbaric.”

He went on to describe the attack by Argentinians angry at the perceived reference to the war with Britain: “Some of our guys were injured. Thousands of people turned up on the streets with bricks, paving stones, pick axe handles, the whole nine yards and were intent on doing some serious damage to our crew,” he said. “I hadn’t gone down there to spark fury, we hadn’t gone down there to upset anyone.”

“I wish I could make fun of that but it just wasn’t funny.” Despite this, he then immediately put his foot in his mouth, quipping, “We didn’t know at that time that they do throw like girls.” When called on it, he demurred: “They throw like children? They throw like small babies? They throw like puppies?” Miranda Hart, another guest on the show, later challenged him to an orange throwing competition.

Oh, and in case you are wondering, Clarkson isn’t going to run as a candidate for UKIP, laughing off such stories as a media smokescreen. “That is absolute rubbish, of course I’m not going to stand. That’s Google shunting Jonathan. It means that when somebody writes a story in a newspaper that you don’t much care for, you just think ‘I’d rather that wasn’t sitting at the top of Google,’” he explained. “So I will then go on Twitter and say ‘I’m thinking of standing as an MP against Ed Miliband.’ All the newspapers run around, print stories and then suddenly the story you don’t want sitting there is shunted way down to page 43.

He went on: “I’m massively pro-European so it becomes rather difficult to support a party that wants primarily to get you out of Europe. Anyway there doesn’t seem to be a party for UKIP there’s just one man in a Barbour with a pint and a fag.”

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The Jonathan Ross Show is on tonight, 10:35pm, ITV