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Controversial Top Gear incident that almost got Jeremy Clarkson murdered

Emily Brown

| Last updated 

Controversial Top Gear incident that almost got Jeremy Clarkson murdered

Jeremy Clarkson isn't exactly a stranger to controversy, but I'd be willing to bet that it's never nearly got him killed before.

The thing is, Clarkson has insisted this particular controversy wasn't even really his fault. It all came down to a number plate, and a case of wrong place, wrong time.


Clarkson was out on the road with his Top Gear co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May in 2014 when the dramatic incident unfolded, and led to them being trapped in a hotel room in Argentina.


The trio have been in some sticky situations before, but this wasn't exactly some elaborate escape room set up as part of their challenge.

Instead, it came about after photos of the Porsche 928 Clarkson was driving in Argentina were shared online, revealing the number plate 'H982 FKL'.

Rather than relating the numbers in the licence plate to the type of car Clarkson was driving, some viewers interpreted it as a reference to the Falklands War of 1982, when Britain and Argentina fought for control over the Falkland Islands.

The Top Gear crew are said to have swapped out the licence plate after hearing of the backlash, and the presenters continued with their task of driving to the Argentinian town of Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego.

The crew were trapped in the hotel room while the protests took place. Credit: BBC
The crew were trapped in the hotel room while the protests took place. Credit: BBC

Protesters weren't as willing to move on from the matter, though, and things came to a head in an attack which Clarkson later described as 'the most terrifying thing [he's] ever been involved in'.

“There were hundreds of them," he told Press Association. "They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars. This is not just some kind of jolly Top Gear jape - this was deadly serious."

The crew were told by their local guides to return to their hotel room to avoid protestors, but they encountered more trouble there as the number of protesters grew, so local police advised them to leave as they couldn't guarantee their safety.


Clarkson, Hammond, and May were flown out of Ushuaia, while the rest of the team were given a police escort to the Chilean border. They were later forced to abandon the cars the presenters had used after protesters continued to give chase.

According to local media, one member of the crew commented: "We’re leaving them here, we don’t want any more problems, set fire to them if you like, but we’re getting out of here."

Following the incident, Clarkson insisted the number plate was a 'coincidence', adding: “They threw us out for the political capital. Thousands chased crew to border. Someone could have been killed."

Featured Image Credit: BBC

Topics: Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, Cars

Emily Brown
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