Cameron did not like BBC India special he appeared in

January 13th, 2012 - 10:10 pm ICT by IANS  

David Cameron London, Jan 13 (IANS) British Prime Minister David Cameron did not like the controversial BBC programme “Top Gear: India Special” that he appeared in, 10 Downing Street sources said Friday.

The prime minister distanced himself from the BBC show after the edition sparked fury from viewers and the Indian High Commission in London, the Daily Mail reported.

In the hope of avoiding a diplomatic row, Cameron’s aides said that the prime minister had the “utmost respect” for the people of India.

The daily said Cameron features at the start of the ‘Top Gear’ episode, waving to its presenters and smilingly telling them to “stay away from India”.

The Indian High Commission complained that the programme was “replete with cheap jibes, tasteless humour and lacked cultural sensitivity” and demanded an apology from the BBC.

The prime minister’s aides have now insisted that Cameron had not enjoyed the show.

“He did not like the programme at all. The Indian people should know that the prime minister has the utmost respect for them,” a source said.

The prime minister’s spokesman said Cameron had just happened to be leaving his office when the show was filmed there.

“As you know, the BBC are able to film in Downing Street as are other broadcast companies. They were in the street and he was leaving for an event. The government is not responsible for editorial decisions made by the BBC or any media organisation. This is a matter for the BBC — I don’t speak for the BBC,” he said.

The Indian High Commission has written to the BBC demanding they apologise for the episode, in which Jeremy Clarkson strips to his boxer shorts in front of his hosts and hangs offensive banners on trains.

Diplomats had consented to the programme being shot in India after receiving a letter from the BBC describing it as a “light-hearted road trip”.

But the high commission complained in a letter that the content of the show was “in breach of this agreement”.

“We conveyed our disappointment. The show was crass and misunderstanding of Indian culture. Lots of people have complained to us, both Indian and British. They are deeply offended and expect us to do something. We don’t think this is the government’s view, but we want the BBC to stop repeating this programme and take action,” said an official from the Indian High Commission.

The BBC said the key aspects of the show would be India’s “beautiful scenery, busy city scenes, local charm and colour”.

But the presenters drove around in a Jaguar with a toilet fixed to the boot. Showing off the car’s modification, presenter Jeremy Clarkson said: “This is perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots.”

They also hung up banners that turned into offensive messages when train carriages pulled them apart.

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