Top Gear’s number plate row looks set to rumble on after a top Argentine diplomat accused Jeremy Clarkson of “fabricating” his version of events.
Argentina’s UK ambassador Alicia Castro, writing in the Independent, took aim at the presenter and claims that he made previously in a Sunday Times column.
The BBC show’s crew had to leave the country after trouble erupted when it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some people suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.
Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman has denied the number plate was a “stunt”.
But now Ms Castro, citing a Sunday Times article Clarkson wrote on October 5 explaining the incidents during filming, said: “The presenter – in his column entitled ’Make no mistake, lives were at risk’ – fabricates an exaggerated story. He describes being ambushed by a mob branding ’pickaxes’.
“Later, switching narrative style, he recounts another scene: Clarkson claims that a mob was trying to burn the crew’s cars – which I understand did not actually happen – and he goes so far as to affirm that ’one said they were going to barbecue us and eat the meat’.”
Ms Castro claims the crew were given safe passage across the border into Chile by Argentine authorities when the locals’ anger threatened to boil over.
But she said: “As he ends a tale designed to portray Argentines as savages - and without acknowledging the security extended to him by the government of Tierra del Fuego – Clarkson reflects on what might have caused the protests.
“He reasons that the troubles were in no way linked to his provocative behaviour, but that they were in fact down to other causes: ’We were English’, he concludes.”
She cites the 250,000 Brits currently living in the country as a sign of the “friendship” between the two nations.
Earlier this week, Mr Wilman said the presenters had bought the car – complete with the number plate – in the UK because it was the best available vehicle of its type and he no one had even noticed the plate.
“I’ve read quite a few comments from viewers who are equally convinced we put the plate on deliberately, and I can understand that,” he wrote.
“I can also empathise with people who believe it’s exactly the sort of stunt we’d pull – cheeky number plate, wind up the locals, no harm done.
“The truth is, however, this is most definitely not the sort of stunt we’d pull.”
In August 2013, Ms Castro was forced to clarify comments she made about Prime Minister David Cameron, saying a remark about him being “silly” for raising the disputed territory in a meeting with the Pope had been taken out of context.