Clarkson comments did not breach code

JOKES by Jeremy Clarkson on BBC2's Top Gear show about murdering prostitutes did not breach the Broadcasting Code, Ofcom ruled today.

JOKES by Jeremy Clarkson on BBC2's Top Gear show about murdering prostitutes did not breach the Broadcasting Code, Ofcom ruled today.

Ofcom received 339 complaints about comments made by Clarkson concerning lorry drivers, and complaints to the BBC topped 1,800.

Ipswich's MP Chris Mole called for the presenter to be sacked on the back of the joke.

The controversy began when Clarkson, who was completing a lorry-driving task on the motoring show, said: “This is a hard job and I'm not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it's a hard job.


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``Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day.'

His comments came after serial killer Steve Wright was convicted in February of murdering five prostitutes in Ipswich.

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Wright was a former lorry driver, as well as a pub landlord and forklift truck driver.

Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, who killed 13 women, was also a truck driver.

Despite the complaints, the watchdog said: ``Ofcom did not believe the intention of the comments could be seen to imply that all lorry drivers murder prostitutes, nor would it be reasonable to make such an inference.

“In Ofcom's view, the presenter was clearly using exaggeration to make a joke, albeit not to everyone's taste.

“The comments should therefore be seen in that context.'

Chris Mole, who received 40 or 50 hostile e-mails accusing him of “BBC bashing” following his call for Clarkson to be sacked, said he was not surprised by Ofcom's findings.

“I'm a little disappointed but not necessarily surprised that Ofcom will not have felt the sensitivities that those of us in Ipswich have felt to the complaints.

“The director general of the BBC made similar assertions in his letter to me that you couldn't relate these comments specifically to Steve Wright.

“However that is exactly what the BBC did in its own reporting of Jeremy Clarkson's comments.

“I'm not sure what people will make of Ofcom's ruling other than disappointment that they haven't recognised that the comments will be particularly badly felt in Ipswich.”

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