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Top trouble

Top Trouble for the BBC over car rigging claims

Clarkson and co. come in for criticism for allegedly misrepresenting the performance of the Tesla Roadster – but it’s not the first spot of bother the team have gotten into.

THE MAKERS OF the world’s fastest electric car are suing the BBC over claims that the makers of Top Gear rigged a race to make it look like their vehicle ran out of power.

The broadcasting giant is being sued for libel and malicious falsehood by Tesla Motors, which claims that a test set up by Jeremy Clarkson for a Top Gear show in 2008 was tampered with to make it look like their Roadster electric car ran out of power when racing against a petrol powered Lotus.

Top Gear claimed that the Roadster would run out of juice after just 55 miles, when the makers of the car claimed it could travel for more than 200 miles on a full charge.

The show featured the presenters pushing the Tesla into a hanger, and claiming that the brakes on one of the Roadsters weren’t working. The car manufacturer says the workings of the vehicle were misrepresented and that the breakdowns were staged.

The BBC says that it’s standing by the programme and will ‘vigorously defend’ what happened in the show.

See for yourself what Jeremy Clarkson and co had to say about the Tesla Roadster:

Past controversies

This isn’t the first time Top Gear has gotten into a spot of bother. Here’s some of the show’s biggest controversies:

  • In November 2008 the BBC and Ofcom received hundreds of complaints after Jeremy Clarkson joked about lorry drivers killing prostitutes. His joke was thought to be in reference to the Ipwsich murders of 2006

  • During a show which took Top Gear to Romania, Clarkson commented that it was “Borat Country, with gypsies and Russian Playboys”. The Romanian media said his comments were offensive and ‘bad publicity’.

  • During another one of Top Gear’s special expeditions, this time to the Arctic, Clarkson and co-presenter James May were filmed drinking gin while driving across an ice field. Clarkson remarked “don’t write in to complain about us drinking and driving, because we’re sailing!”. The BBC Trust didn’t see the funny side though, and criticised the show
  • More recently the show was pulled up on comments made about Mexican cars. Presenter Richard Hammond said that Mexican sports cars were like the Mexican people : “lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle as a coat”. Needless to say, the comments were not well received.
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