'Top Gear' film crew escorted out of Argentina province over 'provocative' license plate

Associated Press

A crew from the popular BBC television program "Top Gear" has left an Argentine province after being denied permission to film by local authorities who said one of its cars had a license plate alluding to the Falklands War between Britain and the South American country.

Juan Manuel Romano, secretary of social development for Ushuaia in southern Tierra del Fuego province, said the program's crew and its host Jeremy Clarkson were escorted to the airport. "They have taken the decision to leave," he said.

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The "Top Gear" crew was in Argentina to film using three cars, a Porsche, a Lotus and a Mustang. Local officials said the Porsche had the license plate "H982 FKL," which they felt was a reference to the 1982 war between the countries over the Falklands Islands. Argentina, which lost the war, still claims the island group it calls Las Malvinas.

A group of former Argentine combatants in the war had held a protest in front of the hotel where Clarkson and the BBC crew were staying.

The British newspaper The Telegraph said the BBC denied the license plate was intentionally chosen. "Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue," BBC executive producer Andy Wilman was quoted as saying.

In 2011, the BBC apologized to Mexico over remarks made on "Top Gear" that characterized Mexicans as lazy and oafish.