Is Top Gear a vehicle of controversy or are we as a nation just too sensitive for humour?

Top Gear team 2014

Although I am a tad behind on this topic, I want to discuss
it just because it is a topic that I wanted to write about at the time but
juggling 4 A Levels, prevented me from doing so. This is the story surrounding
BBC presenter Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear, the programme in general.

Readers of my blog, followers of my Instagram and Twitter will
know by now that my love for Top Gear and Richard Hammond is quite strong and
so when stories come up in the news about allegations of them or just news
headlines, I become quite defensive. Anyway back to the topic, Top Gear as a
show, currently in the Guinness Book of Records holds the record for being the world’s
most watched factual programme in the world, quite rightly so, being sold to
214 territories worldwide. The show can appeal to the majority of TV viewers
too, whether; male, female, young or old and so this is why it appeals to so
many because of its relation to its viewers. Similarly, the concept of three normal
middle aged blokes cocking around in cars appeals because to be frank most men
and some women would be happy to behave like this and get paid £25,000 per
show. The show can grab up to 8 million viewers in 1 week in just the
broadcasting alone, which doesn’t include the iPlayer and viewer recordings of
the show. Since its breakthrough in 2002, the show’s success is predominately through
the presenter’s friendships, but even now with numerous awards the show still
receives complaints. But what I still find confusing, is why some of the presenter’s
comments have even sparked complaints. Top Gear has been always been at the
centre of disagreements, whether in the form; of racial slurs, jet car crashes,
cows on cars, Mexico remarks and lorry driving murderers, the show has never
been out of the spotlight of negativity. As a show with such popularity and
success, you would assume that the press would prefer to focus on their immense
success because of its British nature and this being known to so many, rather
than its negativity, yet this is the way in the media, bad news is good news
for them because they receive more; hits, views and buys.

The latest complaint stemmed from footage found by the Daily
Mirror which saw the front man of the show, Jeremy Clarkson use the racial slur
of the N word in a car comparison. The footage found by the tabloid, had never
in fact been shown on the TV series which many found even worse. The footage
itself came from Series 19, which was bizarre seeing as the current series that
had just been on TV had been Season 21. Therefore you can assume that the press
were trying to find negative issues with the programme to expose.  MPS and some viewers believed that the slur that
Clarkson had made, deserved a termination of contract, yet the BBC concluded
the complaints with a final warning to the presenter. 24 hours after news
desks, newspapers and social networks had finished reporting, debating and
writing, the TV personality finally spoke, doing a video remorsefully
apologising for any offence he had caused. (See below) Yet even after his apology, there
were still anti-top gear viewers demanding a sacking should be issued.
Clarkson’s co-presenters even tweeted about the controversy, showing his
innocence. So, did the slurs deserve so much media attention, this is what I as
a fan of the show can’t get my head around.

Firstly, how on earth did the media even get hold of the
footage which had these slurs in, which makes you question the level of trust
within the BBC organisations and their employees; had these slurs been
broadcast then yes, by all means then a tribunal and even firing would have
been acceptable but the comments were not broadcast. Next, Top Gear is a world
dominating show which brings in millions, even billions for the BBC so had a
firing taken place the BBC would be firstly losing a successful show to perhaps
ITN or even Sky and secondly that Clarkson as an individual is one the country’s
most popular television presenters. Yes, I am biased due to my love for the
show but seriously we are far too sensitive. As a viewer of much television content,
I can see from this recent controversy that we are sensitive, perhaps because
these comments are never made regularly so we are not immune to such disputing comments.
As viewers we shouldn’t be so drastic when journalists make such a minor
comments, Clarkson is best known for controversial comments such as; all lorry
drivers being prostitutes, Nazi Germany and Mexico remarks. Shouldn’t we be
used to these comments by now? TV presenters have always made remarks, never
have they been innocent we need to stop being so sensitive and pathetic towards
Clarkson’s comments and just accept his comments as his own views which he is entitled


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