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Top Gear – How Much Trouble Do They Really Get Into With The Law?

Top Gear – How Much Trouble Do They Really Get Into With The Law?

Posted On 18 Feb, 2014

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Top Gear, loved and hated in equal measure by TV viewers, often sparks controversy, as its presenters repeatedly challenge or break laws, rules and regulations.

The programme’s three presenters are often outspoken too, courting punishment and arrest. But does anything actually ever happen to them, and if so what?

It seems quite a lot of punitive measure actually does float their way. At the end of 2013, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond were banned from driving in France. The pair had been illegally speeding on French roads.

‘While filming for the show’s Top Gear Christmas DVD – called ‘The Perfect Road Trip’ – Clarkson and Hammond were allegedly caught travelling at over 87mph in a 56mph limit.’ reveals msn cars.

‘Most French motorways have a limit of 130kph (81mph) in dry conditions, with legal speeds dropping to 110kph (68mph), but it appears the pairing didn’t realise they had entered into a slower 90km (56mph) section.’

Intriguingly, Hammond and Clarkson’s new DVD was due for release that Christmas, hinting that there might have been an ulterior motive behind the arrest and ban; namely free publicity for the new offering. Clarkson certainly ramped up the debate, writing in The Sun; ‘If you are going to break the speed limit, make sure you are not in France.’

It’s by no means the first stunt the duo has ever pulled. Back in 2011, they caused another media storm by parking in bays specifically designed for disabled people. Reporting, The Daily Mail said: ‘A spokesman said the show’s team did not ‘condone parking in disabled bays’ and admitted it had cordoned off spaces reserved for disabled motorists, after striking an agreement with the owner of the land, for the segment.’

In another incident, a diplomatic row was sparked by Top Gear comments on Mexicans. Arguably though the whole reason the show’s producers allow the presenters such leeway is because controversial behaviour and a little outrage are exactly what the show is about. Is this justified, fair or acceptable?

At the end of the day the answer depends on your viewpoint. It’s plain that little harm is meant by the TV show, but if it genuinely offends viewers then questions should be asked, especially when UK taxpayers fund the programme via their TV licensing contributions to the BBC.

What do you think? Does Top Gear take motoring mirth a step too far?

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