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Festive slot for Argentina Top Gear


James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, presenters of Top Gear.

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, presenters of Top Gear.

James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, presenters of Top Gear.

The Top Gear show that sparked a diplomatic incident in Argentina forms part of the BBC's Christmas schedule despite continuing complaints from the South American country's government.

The BBC announced its festive season, which also includes Doctor Who, Call The Midwife and the last ever episodes of Miranda, on the same day a letter from the Argentinian ambassador in London criticising the corporation was made public.

Alicia Castro wrote to BBC Trust chairwoman Rona Fairhead expressing her "discontent" after a meeting with BBC director of television Danny Cohen.

The motoring show's crew fled Argentina after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman has denied the number plate was a "stunt" and presenter Jeremy Clarkson said he was "shocked" when someone pointed out the link between the number plate and the war, days into filming.

Ms Castro subsequently met Mr Cohen, but he refused her demand for a public apology and said the BBC would screen the show.

In her letter to Ms Fairhead, she said: "We believe Mr Cohen's rejection is perfunctory and he has not investigated the issues we raised in any depth."

Ms Castro said she was issuing "a formal request" to the Trust to examine what she said was "the failure of the director of television to handle properly our complaint".

She also said she believed "Mr Clarkson's behaviour fell well below BBC's editorial values and standards".

The Top Gear Patagonia Special sees Clarkson and co-hosts - James May and Richard Hammond - attempting to drive 1,600 miles to the country's southern-most tip to stage a game of "car football" against some Argentinian drivers.

Other shows on over the holidays include comic Harry Hill starring in the title role in The Incredible Adventures Of Professor Branestawm.

BBC viewers will also get the chance to see film premieres including Avengers Assemble, Albert Nobbs and Madagascar 3.

There will also be a tribute show to comic Rik Mayall who died earlier this year and a Bafta tribute to Julie Walters, while Ken Dodd and athlete Lizzy Yarnold are among the famous faces sitting in the black chair for Celebrity Mastermind.