A quip from Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson suggesting that lorry drivers kill prostitutes has attracted 188 complaints to the BBC.
Clarkson was "taking part in a lorry-driving task" on Sunday's pre-watershed show when he said: "Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."
The BBC notes: "Lorry driver Steve Wright was jailed in February for killing five prostitutes."
Brian Tobin, director of The Iceni Project, "a charity which had helped some of the murdered prostitutes in Ipswich", described the gag as "highly distasteful and insensitive".
Ofcom confirmed it too had received complaints about Clarkson and a spokesman said the offending wordage was "currently being assessed against the Broadcasting Code". He added: "All UK broadcasters must adhere to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code which sets standards for the content of television and radio broadcasting."
The BBC issued a statement which defended itself, saying: "The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona. This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence."
Given the BBC got more than 30,000 complaints regarding the Brand and Woss Manuelgate scandal, with the latter wit eventually being slapped with an 12-week suspension without pay (a £1m+ kick in the wallet for poor old Jonathan), the Clarkson polemic seems likely to cost the petrolhead nothing more than ten minutes away from the wheel and five quid docked from his wages. ®