August 27, 2014

Top Gear India Special offends – as planned

Top Gear India Special Complaints

Clarkson's practical answer to 'Delhi-Belly'

The BBC has received complaints about the Top Gear Christmas Special in India, claiming ‘Racist Insults’. Which is par for the course.

We’d understand people complaining that the Top Gear Christmas Special from India, broadcast on 28th December, was a notch or two below par. Feeble in parts, formulaic and far from the best bit of entertainment to come from TG. But it seems the people who phoned the Beeb to complain were upset by ‘Racial Stereotyping’.

It seems that Jeremy taking off his trousers to demonstrate a Corby Trouser Press would offend the Indians, and that fitting a toilet to the back of the XJS was impugning India’s sanitation. Really? No Indians of our acquaintance would be offended by a keckless Clarkson – well, no more than anyone of any race or creed would be – and most Indians we know find Western visitors’ susceptibility to ‘Delhi-Belly’ amusing.

The rather puerile attempts at humour with the ‘Muffin’ and ‘British IT’ banners splitting as their train moved off was hardly racist and, although it would doubtless offend some, those ‘some’ really shouldn’t be watching Top Gear if they’re so easily offended. Especially as part of the Top Gear remit is to offend the thin-skinned.

But let’s get some perspective, which the Daily Mails of this world always manage to avoid. Just like the ‘offensive’ remarks JC made about shooting strikers on the One Show (which was actually a piss-take of the Beeb’s paranoia over ‘balance), the complaints about the ‘Racist’ elements of the show were irrelevant. Just 23 people complained out of an audience of 5 million. That’s a complaint rate of just 0.0005 per cent of viewers.

Which is a complaint figure we reckon most businesses would kill for. And it’s far fewer complaints than Top Gear got for the  Top Gear ‘Three Wise Men’ Christmas special last year. Although that show did fulfil Top Gear’s remit perfectly.

And it was far funnier than this year’s Christmas Special.

Top Gear Christmas Special 2011 India Trailer

Video Source: BBC Top Gear

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  1. I’m an Indian in India and I watched the show (via the Internet) and I thought it was lame. Lame because India is a spectacular country where you can have road trips that you can tell your grand kids about, a place with some of the most beautiful and treacherous terrain from deserts, plains, tropical jungles, risky mountain passes and scary jungles where Maoist guerrillas skulk the woods – real frontier kind of motoring that is impossible in Europe. Add to this huge environment of motoring, you have some very strange Indian cars to choose from from the old Ambassador to the Tata Nano to Mahindra’s SUVs apart from the usual European stable of cars. Plus, he could spend an entire show talking about Indian driving and the unwritten rules of the road here in India.

    This could have been an amazing show but JC and Top Gear have been LAZY and sloppy in their shows. He’s trying to be some kind of “Reality” star instead of doing what he’s good at – talking about cars! But instead, it degenerated into a let’s make puerile jokes about poor people, toilets, defecation and be vulgarians.

    I think the value of this show could be summed up with the answer to one question: Did we learn anything “new” from the entire show about India, cars or motoring in India ? The answer sadly, is a resounding NO!

    What we did learn was that JC and Co had a good time goofing about in India! Well, good for them, good for India for the income generated but its a shame for the viewers of Top Gear that they got such a crummy show!

    • Well said, Mazo. We couldn’t agree more.

      A poor show that failed miserably to make the most of a glorious and diverse country. But it seems, like us, you were offended by the poor quality of the script, rather than the ‘offensive’ comments.

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