British Broadcasting Company’s hilarious car show “Top Gear” is no stranger to controversy, and the new two-part Patagonia Special is no different.
In fact, what happened during the Patagonia Special’s filming may have put the show’s presenters and film crew in the most danger yet.
The show starts with the three “Top Gear” presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond, with the show’s “tame racing driver,” the Stig, around a table describing where the team is going and the episode’s theme.
In celebration of 50 years of the V8 engine, the show’s producers told the trio to pick a car with a V8 engine to complete challenges.
The crew chose their cars and flew to Belinoche, Argentina.
Clarkson was the first to show in Belinoche with a Porsche 928, and then Hammond showed up with a Ford Mustang Mach 1.
After May arrived in his Lotus Espirit, the three began to either compliment or tear down the other’s choices.
Hammond and Clarkson made fun of May because he picked a car known for breaking down, but May’s Espirit proved to be the best of the three through the show’s course.
Once the joking was over, the three were challenged to drive from their location to the house where outlaw Butch Cassidy hid, over 100 miles away.
During this stretch, Hammond found his bulky, American muscle car was going to cause several problems because it drank gasoline quickly and broke down often.
Clarkson and May arrived at the property with no trouble at all, but Hammond was forced to push the Mustang to the destination.
The next morning, Hammond fixed his car, and the presenters were given another challenge.
This time, the challenge was to drive from the Butch Cassidy house to Ushuaia, Argentina, dubbed the “world’s southernmost city,” and play a soccer match to repair strained relations between the British and Argentineans because of the 1982 Falklands War.
The journey would cover 1,600 miles and be the longest trip in “Top Gear” history.
The team traveled through parts of Chile and Argentina, where the filming crew captured the South American countries’ beauty.
Early in the filming, the crew learned that Clarkson’s license plates, which read “H982 FKL” could cause problems in the southern part of Argentina because some people thought it was a reference to the Falklands War.
Because of the show’s previous antics, several people thought this was done on purpose.
The crew members denied this, and tried to get the plates changed so as to not stir up trouble, but were unable to.
The show didn’t show any other trouble in other areas of Argentina until the crew made it to Ushuaia, where veterans of the Falklands War were waiting outside the presenters’ hotel because of the Porsche’s plates.
The producers instructed Clarkson, Hammond and May to stay in their rooms by the producers because of the veterans.
Soon, the crew was told it had a couple of hours to leave the city or that there would be further problems.
The film crew quickly packed up and took the three cars, leaving Clarkson, May and Hammond at the hotel.
The ensuing events were first reported in September, but the show’s viewers had to wait months to see what happened.
When I first heard what happened. It didn’t sound as horrible as it looked on the show.
I heard people were throwing rocks, but it looked as though the crew members were fearful for their lives, and they had a right to be with several angry Argentineans surrounding the route.
It became so bad that the three cars had to be left at the side of an Argentinean road.
When reports first came out about the incident, Clarkson said the original idea was to have a nice ending, but the events that occurred caused a better ending to the show.
This two-part special is not supposed to be included with series 22, which started Jan. 26, but it was a great segway into series 22 and should help bring viewers.
“Top Gear” shows on BBC America.