When he appeared on BBC’s The One Show, Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson was asked what he would do with the two million public servants who have been striking over changes to their pensions.
“I would have them all shot,” he said.
“I would take them outside and execute them in front of their families.
As laughter emerged in the studio, presenters Matt Baker and Alex Jones, were left speechless.
His comments sparked instant condemnation from viewers, who angrily posted furious comments on Twitter. But others applauded his controversial statements, saying they were clearly said a joke.
The public broadcaster issued a swift on-air apology, saying Clarkson sometimes overstepped the mark in his quest for “comic” value.
A BBC spokeswoman said: “The One Show apologised at the end of the show to viewers who may have been offended by Jeremy Clarkson’s comments.”
John Prescott, the former deputy Prime Minister, added: “I know Jeremy Clarkson likes winding people up but it’s worth pointing out he gets £1m a year from the license fee/public sector”.
Update: In a statement Clarkson later said: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously – as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context.
If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m quite happy to apologise for it alongside them.”