Jeremy Clarkson admits that of all the controversies Top Gear found itself involved in during his tenure, insulting the entire nation of Mexico is the one he most regrets.
In 2011, co-host Richard Hammond described Mexicans as “feckless, flatulent and lazy” on the BBC2 motoring show, while Clarkson and fellow presenter James May sniggered in the background – something Clarkson now agrees was inexcusable.
“Genuinely, if I looked back at the Top Gear Wikipedia section marked ‘controversy’, then Mexico is the one where we definitely got it wrong,” says Clarkson in the new issue of Radio Times magazine.
He also recalls his visit to the Mexican ambassador to say sorry, and how a chat over a drink, or five, apparently helped to repair Anglo-Mexican relations…
“I went to see the Mexican ambassador and apologised to him. I didn’t have to, the Beeb didn’t tell me to, but it was out of order… So we went down and said we were really sorry and got absolutely paralytic on tequila with him.
“That was a good day.”
Read the full interview with Clarkson, in which he talks more controversy – and of course his new Amazon car show The Grand Tour – in the latest issue of Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday.
We also chat to Richard Hammond and James May, hear from The Grand Tour and former Top Gear producer Andy Wilman and look at the locations the new series will be visiting on its first world tour.