Cameron ducks 'derogatory' Top Gear 'India special' programme controversy

UK Prime Minister David Cameron did not like a 90 minute BBC  programme on India, and has "the utmost respect" for Indians, Downing Street sources have said in the wake of the programme coming under the scanner for showing Indians in a poor light.

"He did not like the programme at all. The Indian people should know that the Prime Minister has the utmost respect for them," The Telegraph quoted a source, as saying.

But a UK Government spokesperson said that the BBC and not the government was responsible for issuing an apology.

"The government is not responsible for editorial decisions made by the BBC or any media organisation," he said

The comments came after British parliamentarians warned that the Top Gear ''India special'' programme threatened India-UK trade relations and the Indian High Commission in London had earlier lodged a complaint about the programme.

The programme shows Cameron waving to three presenters in Downing Street, and urging them to "stay away from India".

It also shows presenters reading out a letter from Cameron in which he jokingly advised them to consider "a fence-mending trip to Mexico".

The programme shows the presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, speaking to the local population, while operating a trouser press on his boxer shorts and driving a Jaguar with a lavatory fixed to the boot.

Clarkson and his co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond also tied banners to trains reading: "British IT is good for your company. Another banner said: "Eat English muffins".

The criticism comes after BBC Trust chairperson Lord Patten of Barnes had described Top Gear as one of the UK's leading "cultural" exports.

His spokesman said that Lord Patten stood by the comments, and added that his statement referred to the programme rather than Clarkson.

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