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Old 10-05-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
RonDawg
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Top Gear Argentina Special

No it has not aired yet. They may not have even started on the editing. But it will probably be their most anticipated episode ever, thanks to a license plate that set off a riot.


Quote:
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson has claimed he was thrown out of Argentina by state officials after being pelted with rocks.

He said in a tweet that "thousands" of locals rounded on the Top Gear team in apparent protest at a number plate which appeared to refer to the 1982 Falklands war.

A Porsche used in filming had a registration plate that read H982 FKL.

Clarkson and team had been filming in South America for a Top Gear special.

On his return to the UK Clarkson tweeted: "The number plate WAS a coincidence. When it was pointed out to us, we changed it.

"Thousands chased crew to border. Someone could have been killed."

He added: "This was not a jolly jape that went awry. For once, we did nothing wrong."

Clarkson told the Sun newspaper, for which he writes a regular column: "We knew absolutely nothing about the number plate, it was just an unbelievable coincidence. I swear on my kids' lives.

"When we saw people on Twitter getting upset we took the plate off. But they still attacked us so we made a break for it to our hotel in Ushuaia.

"The mob just descended on the hotel and encircled us. State representatives came and ordered us out of the country."

Damaged Top Gear vehicleVehicles carrying Top Gear production crew were also targeted
He added: "I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan but this was the most terrifying thing I've ever been involved in.

"There were hundreds of them. They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars. They were trying to attack us with pickaxe handles.

"They were shouting. 'Burn their cars, burn them, burn the pirates'. I am convinced the mob was state organised."

In a tweet, he said the programme's crew "abandoned our cars as they thought they might be what was making people angry".

The BBC confirmed the show's decision to leave, but denied the offending car was chosen for its number plate.

Andy Wilman, executive producer for Top Gear, said on Thursday: "Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme; to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue."

The team departed three days early after being denied permission to film by local authorities.

Clarkson flew into the country last month to film a special which saw him and co-stars Richard Hammond and James May drive the famous Patagonian highway - Route 40 - to the southern city of Ushuaia.

A BBC spokesman said: "We're pleased the team is safe and would like to thank all of those who have helped. As the executive producer has made clear, the number plate issue is a very unfortunate coincidence."
Personally I am a bit skeptical that nobody involved in the filming thought anything of the plate, since in the UK personalized license plates are made using clever combinations of UK-standard number plate sequences, like Richard Hammond's "OL1 V3R" for his beloved Opel "Oliver" from the Botswana special.

They should have also remembered that 30 years later, losing the Falklands War remains an open, festering wound in Argentine culture, and them being Brits makes it feel like an even bigger insult to them.
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Old 10-05-2014, 01:34 PM   #2
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Clarkson wrote about the incident in his weekend newspaper column. Reddit has posted the text since the Times sits behind a paywall.

He ways he wouldn't have been as subtle with the plate, which was removed days before they made it to Ushuaia. It was all a setup by the local politicians so they could get a boost in popularity.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:17 AM   #3
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Jeremy Clarkson: Top Gear ambush was set up by Argentina's government
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Old 10-06-2014, 04:23 PM   #4
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I'm not real surprised in Ushuaia, they're a little over the top about it over there, and have definitely been known to hassle Brits.
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Old 10-06-2014, 06:27 PM   #5
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I was surprised to learn today that Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is calling on Ushuaia during their 2016 circumnavigation. The ship is registered in Bermuda now but it retains a British theme and the officers are British.

Argentina often refuses entry to any cruise ship that has recently visited the Falklands.
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Old 10-06-2014, 08:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by pdhenry View Post
I was surprised to learn today that Cunard's Queen Mary 2 is calling on Ushuaia during their 2016 circumnavigation. The ship is registered in Bermuda now but it retains a British theme and the officers are British.

Argentina often refuses entry to any cruise ship that has recently visited the Falklands.
They'll try, whether or not they get to dock will definitely be up for debate. Cunard seems to get turned away somewhat more often than some of the other lines, but any ship that calls at the Falklands have been known to be turned away. (Far less frequently, the Falklands have been known to occasionally cause problems for ships that stop at Ushuaia first).

This sign is on the docks as you're getting off the ship:

My understanding is there were a number of brits on our cruise that ended up deciding to get back on the ship at that point.

Course, on the Falklands, you have to deal with this as a result of the history there:


Ironically, the economies of both places are pretty reliant on tourism dollars, so either place turning away shiploads of visitors is ultimately bad for the locality. (The Falklands don't routinely do it, but I've heard of one or two circumstances where ships weren't allowed to visit because of "illness" on the ship. Missing the Falklands is more common because of weather though.)
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Old 10-06-2014, 09:22 PM   #7
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QM2 won't call on the Falklands on this particular trip. I briefly considered a Princess cruise that was to call on the Falklands between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia which is where I learned that such an itinerary can be problematic depending on the mood in Argentina at the time.
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Old 10-06-2014, 11:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by gschrock View Post
I'm not real surprised in Ushuaia, they're a little over the top about it over there, and have definitely been known to hassle Brits.
My understanding is that the General Belgrano's last port of call was at Ushuaia before she was sunk by the Brits, so it could be the reason why they in particular take it personally.. The fact that the sinking occurred outside the British-imposed exclusion zone is very sore spot with many if not most Argentinians (as well as some Brits), even though some senior officers of the Argentinian Navy at the time have admitted that the sinking was a legitimate act of war.

Of course the island where that city is located itself is disputed territory between Argentina and Chile, and because of that Chile chose to back the Brits.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:31 PM   #9
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I will say it was an interesting experience to go from Buenos Aries to the Falklands to Ushuaia. In BA, it seems to hardly be much of an issue except when the government is making it an issue (in fact, I know one person that was talking about wearing a falkland islands shirt in BA and had someone there offer to buy it from him (not sure I'd really want to wear a shirt like that there, but they said they really just hadn't thought of it being an issue)). Obviously, in the Falklands and Ushuaia it's far more of an open issue. Our ship was one of the first to do that route that season (for that ship it was it's first trip of the season, cruise before was the trans-atlantic, don't know if any other cruise ships were any earlier that year), so it was one of those things where you just never quite know if they're going to let you stop at Ushuaia or not.

I know it did cause me to do some digging to learn more about the situation, and I've formed my own opinions about who I think is more in the right. But it's one of those things that I think people should do their own research and make up their own minds on the issue.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:51 PM   #10
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I was under the impression that Falkland Islanders consider themselves to be on the side of the British. No? Haven't been there but I did have some email exchanges with tour guides when we thought we'd be going.
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Old 10-07-2014, 04:57 PM   #11
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I was under the impression that Falkland Islanders consider themselves to be on the side of the British. No? Haven't been there but I did have some email exchanges with tour guides when we thought we'd be going.
Yeah, the population there is British, and very much wants to remain British. (If I caused confusion in my post, when I meant was that the feelings are definitely more charged in the two locations, not that the FI's also feel they should be part of Argentina).

We had a great driver for our trip out to see the penguins there, and it was real interesting to listen to her talk about growing up in the Falklands.
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Old 10-07-2014, 06:34 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdhenry View Post
I was under the impression that Falkland Islanders consider themselves to be on the side of the British.
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Originally Posted by gschrock View Post
Yeah, the population there is British, and very much wants to remain British. (If I caused confusion in my post, when I meant was that the feelings are definitely more charged in the two locations, not that the FI's also feel they should be part of Argentina).
The Falkland Islanders/Malvinas held a referendum in early 2013 as to whether they preferred to remain British citizens or not. All but 3 votes (one of which was considered null for some reason) indicated a desire to stay with the UK. At least 13 of the residents who voted were Argentinian-born, so at least 10 of them voted to stay with the UK.

That of course pissed off the Argentine government, who claimed that the Falklanders were "being held hostage" on the island by London.
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Old 10-08-2014, 09:33 PM   #13
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So they just bought a used car and used the plate that was on the car when they bought it? If that's true, it should be pretty simple to investigate and verify.

On a very tangentially-related topic, I recently read about a guy who completed 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents, and the very first marathon of his trip was in the Falklands, because apparently it's considered to be in the "Antarctic Ecozone" and therefore counts as him running in Antarctica. That was news to me. My only knowledge of the Falklands is from the war in 1982 and therefore, I've always assumed they were just off the coast of Argentina and would therefore be considered to be affiliated with South America rather than Antarctica.
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