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'Worried' Clarkson texted PM over Top Gear diplomatic row

By Scott D'Arcy

Published 17/06/2016

Jeremy Clarkson with Prime Minister David Cameron in London yesterday
Jeremy Clarkson with Prime Minister David Cameron in London yesterday

Jeremy Clarkson sent David Cameron a "genuinely worried" text message from Argentina after filming a Top Gear episode that sparked a diplomatic row.

The Prime Minister revealed Clarkson sent the message as the former Top Gear crew was forced to flee the country while filming a Christmas special.

The team, including co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond, were given diplomatic assistance by the Foreign Office after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

Mr Cameron was speaking as he toured the offices of a TV production company in Chiswick, west London, owned by the trio.

The Prime Minister said: "My children, they watched the Patagonia episode five times."

Clarkson replied, "That's not the one to watch - that one did not go well," before Mr Cameron added: "That's why they liked it. They liked the idea that I was going to step in and rescue you."

May said, "We quite liked the idea that you would step in as well". Mr Cameron added: "You did actually send me a genuinely worried text." "I did," Clarkson confirmed.

A former Top Gear executive producer later denied that the number plate was a stunt, while the BBC rejected a demand from Alicia Castro, Argentina's ambassador to the UK, for a public apology.

"Jeremy Clarkson is an embarrassment to the British people," Ms Castro said later.

Clarkson (56) is a friend of the Prime Minister through the social network known as the Chipping Norton Set.

When asked to comment on the revamped Top Gear, now fronted by Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc, Clarkson said: "We are just working on our programme."

Viewers have criticised Evans on social media for his "shouty" and "too excitable" hosting style.

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