Top Gear India special criticised for 'toilet humour'

media captionClip from BBC Top Gear

A Top Gear special in India was "offensive" and full of "toilet humour", the High Commission of India (HCI) in London has complained.

The 28 December special featured jokes about food and trains and a Jaguar car fitted with a toilet seat on its boot.

The HCI has written to the BBC after it was contacted by "too many people" who were "very upset" by the programme.

The BBC, which received 188 complaints about the show, said it would respond directly to the HCI in due course.

In the letter, published in the Daily Telegraph, the HCI criticised a lack of cultural sensitivity and called on the BBC to take action to pacify those offended.

One Indian diplomat told the BBC News website: "People are very upset because you cannot run down a whole society, history, culture and sensitivities.

"India is a developing country, we have very many issues to address, all that is fine but it is not fine to broadcast this toilet humour."

He added: "There are many parts of the programme that people have complained about.

"It's not only Indians, it's also our British friends - it goes much beyond."

The diplomat cited an "offensive" banner placed on the side of a train - reading "the United Kingdom promotes British IT for your company" - which read quite differently when the carriages were parted.

And he also criticised a scene in the programme which showed Clarkson taking off his trousers at a party to demonstrate how to use a trouser press.

Showing off the customised Jaguar, complete with toilet roll on its aerial, presenter Jeremy Clarkson said on the programme: "This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots."

In April last year, a Top Gear episode which caused controversy with jokes branding Mexicans lazy and feckless and describing Mexican food as "like sick with cheese on it", was cleared by broadcasting watchdog Ofcom.

The show attracted 157 complaints but Ofcom said Top Gear was well known for its "irreverent style and sometimes outspoken humour".

The HCI spokesman said he had yet to hear back from the BBC and added: "In the letter, we did convey our disappointment because we have a long-standing relationship with the BBC which is one of admiration and co-operation."

"I look forward to seeing some response from them."

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