Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson’s controversial claim that workers who demonstrated against the government’s decision to change public sector pensions deserve to be shot was reportedly cleared before he made it on live television.
The 51-year-old TV presenter has come under massive criticism after he had launched his own personal attack on those striking public sector workers, he made the suggestion that they should be executed in front of family members for taking such drastic action over reforms to final salary pensions.
With the both the presenter and TV channel coming under pressure, Clarkson and the BBC were forced to make an apology for the comments after unions, politicians and nearly 5,000 viewers condemned the statement.
However, the fact that Clarkson revealed that the BBC new about the comment has put the TV station in the spotlight again. He claimed that the producers of the show were warned in advance and approved the comments he ended making on the ‘One Show’.
Clarkson was only on the show to promote his Christmas DVD, which he releases every year without fail. He told The Times newspaper that he had informed the production team before the live transmission of the show, and he insisted that the comment was nothing more than a joke.
It has also been revealed that the show’s producers felt that it would be entertaining for everyone concerned including viewers if Clarkson offered such an extreme view on the protests, which was not intended to be taken so literally.
The situation around his comment is very similar to the Sachsgate scandal, where Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand left messages on the phone of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs. Brand and Lesley Douglas, the controller of Radio 2, resigned from the BBC and Ross was fined £150,000 by Ofcom.
Public sector workers had been protesting over the changes the government are looking to make to their pensions. Under which workers will be expected to work longer than previous generations, they would be expected to pay more toward their pensions and when in their retirements would be receiving a smaller income.
Unions are fighting the government of the changes which will seriously affect many, tightening the finances they have and reducing their spending power in the process.
Clarkson has since then issued an apology for his comments: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear is they’re seen in context.”