[Image Source: themoviethemesong.com]
Have you ever watched Top Gear? If you’re a fan of cars and you said no to that, I think it might be time to reexamine your priorities in life.
Okay, so it’s not THAT big a deal if you haven’t seen it, but I highly recommend giving it a watch, because it doesn’t only appeal to gearheads. In fact, one night I was watching an episode at home when my girlfriend showed up. Her immediate reaction was “This is BORING!” before even watching any of it. After a few minutes of watching the show with me, she changed her tune and said “This isn’t as boring as I thought.”
Not only is it great for gearheads, but it’s just an all-around well-produced show. In fact, my first real exposure to the show was when I was in college, studying broadcasting. One particular television production teacher showed numerous clips from the show to illustrate innovative and skillful production techniques.
Here’s a good example of what you can find in the show.
Apparently not everyone loves Top Gear, however.
In fact, this week Jeremy Clarkson and the rest of the crew were chased out of Argentina by an angry mob of hundreds. Why? Apparently, it’s all because of the license plate on Clarkson’s Porsche 928. The Telegraph reports:
Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear team were forced to flee Argentina and abandon three high-powered cars after they were pelted with stones by locals angered by the presenter’s number plate apparently referencing the Falklands War.
The crew of the BBC Two show had earlier been given an ultimatum by Argentine veterans of the war to leave the country or “face the consequences”.
They had provoked anger by using a 1991 Porsche 928GT coupé with the registration number H982 FKL, which politicians and army veterans suggested could be seen to refer to the Falklands conflict.
Mr Clarkson’s Porsche was abandoned by the side of the road along with the Lotus and Ford Mustang used by his co-presenters after they came under attack from locals.
If you’re not familiar with the Falklands War, here’s a crash course: In April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands (both British-held territories), claiming they are actually Argentinean territory. The Brits launched counter-attacks, and the battle raged on for 10 weeks before Argentina surrendered in June of that year. It’s still a sore spot for many veterans and government officials.
So sore that a rock-throwing mob forced them to leave behind 3 exquisite sports cars.
Initially, the cars were thought to have been left behind in storage after Clarkson and his Top Gear team were warned to leave Tierra del Fuego.
However, it emerged on Friday that the production crew abandoned the damaged vehicles at a police checkpoint on route to Chile after locals stoned them near the town of Tolhuin.
Film crew reportedly told officers at the first checkpoint they reached after passing through Tolhuin: “We’re leaving the cars, we don’t want more problems. Burn them if you want but we’re getting out of here.”
An Argentinian technician hired for the Top Gear shoot is said to have been injured after a stone thrown by one of the demonstrators hit him in the face.
Now I’m not Argentinean, and I don’t know tons about the history of the country and its conflicts, but reading this story makes me think that the members of the mob were looking for an excuse to get angry. First they claimed that the producers of the show had intentionally put the offensive number plate on the car to get people riled up, but as it turns out, the plate had actually been on the car since 1991.
The BBC confirmed that the cast and crew had left the country, but Top Gear producers insisted the plate had not been chosen deliberately and was a pure coincidence.
Local councillor Juan Manuel Romano said the digits 269 on the number plate of the Ford Mustang Richard Hammond was driving were close to the 255 Britons killed during the 1982 war.
He added that the numbers 646 on James May’s Lotus could be taken as a reference to the 649 Argentinian casualties.
A bit of a stretch, don’t you think?
Local war veteran association member Osvaldo Hilliar, referring to the Falklands by their Spanish name, said: “Our position from the outset was to demand the withdrawal of the TV team from our province, which includes the Malvinas, by 8pm on Thursday, with the warning we’d organise a demonstration to reject their provocation if not.
“What they did was an offence that through no coincidence was committed in the capital of the Malvinas, without any regard to local feeling about this cause.
“They said they didn’t want to upset anyone but we know the British have lied for the last 200 years. We told them we couldn’t guarantee their security if they didn’t leave.”
The executive producer of Top Gear, Andy Wilman, said: “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.”
Regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong, the crew were given a police escort to the border of Chile, and they all left. Looked like a pretty scary scene, too. You’ll probably want to turn down your speakers a bit for this video.
Whether it was intentional or not, it’s going to make for some good television, I would imagine.