Ahah! Dear BBC…

Back from visiting family, I open my emails to find a reply from Top Gear (BBC).

Do you remember a while ago good old Clarkson managed to insinuate that cyclists deserve being thrown off/run off/bullied etc by drivers? Because, hear this… drivers pay ‘road tax’ and cyclists don’t….

Well, I know good old Clarkson gets a kick out of annoying people with his rudeness and often verging-on-racist comments, and I know that I should have not wasted my ‘breath’, but I emailed the BBC and complained. The usual stuff, Clarkson should be sacked, Clarkson is a real tw*t and reminding the Top Gear team the obvious: that road tax doesn’t exist…

Guess what kind of reply I received?!

Sad, predictable, patronising and pathetic did you say? Spot on! How did you know?!

The email was signed by Mr. Andy Wilman, the exec producer of Top Gear… what an honour!

Here’s his reply:

Thank you for your feedback about Top Gear broadcast on 6 February 2011 and indeed thank you for pointing out that the Road Tax doesn’t exist and that we pay the Vehicle Excise Duty. Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

I know Top Gear is hardly the shining beacon of shows for dispensing factual information but the truth is, we do know that Road Tax doesn’t exist. However, we used the term Road Tax because it’s a colloquialism for the Vehicle Excise, the same as “quid” is for pounds, and in a chatty news such as ours, we’re not going to come out with a formal mouthful such as “Vehicle Excise Duty”. Likewise, strictly speaking, our presenters are supposed to say metres and kilograms, but they still say “yards” because that’s an informal vernacular that people are used to.

We’re also fully aware that the VED is based on vehicle emissions, and that cyclists don’t produce emissions, but Jeremy’s point was that if motorists are paying into the government coffers for the act of motoring, (and even if that money does not necessarily go into road building they are still paying a tax before they go on the road), then motorists should be given due respect by militant cyclists on the road. It is an extreme view, but it’s hardly going to shape any serious policy on road use.

I hope this clarifies to some degree, the piece that you refer to in the show.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact us.

Yours sincerely,

From such reply I can only evaluate that Mr. Wilman is even ruder than Clarkson. I thought this not possible! I was so shocked at the level of patronising nonense that Mr. Wilman indulged in, that I could not find the strength to reply. A lost battle I thought.

Please do note the beginning bit that says: “Road Tax because it’s a colloquialism for the Vehicle Excise”…. a colloquialism? Yea right! I wonder if Wilman knows the meaning of colloquialism? I thought only Clarkson was an ignorant basterd (thanks Quentin!), I was obviously wrong. Shame because I quite liked watching Top Gear, as I am not partial to motor engineering precision, I am after all Italian. Problem is a lot of people enjoy Clarkson’s views and words, some even would love to have him as Prime Minister… arggghhh!

Ahhhh, so nice to be back! …Me?! Sarcastic?! Nahhhh, what you’re talking about??!!


8 responses to “Ahah! Dear BBC…

  1. Got the same email. I enjoyed ‘chatty news’. Because that somehow makes it more acceptable to be wrong.

  2. According to wikipedia, Andy Wilman went to the same school as Clarkson, maybe one or two years below. Have you considered escalating the issue by arguing that this response is in fact unacceptable as it breaches the BBC guidelines for handling complaints? Especially given that as Clarkson apparently had lunch over xmas with the PM, he may be shaping policy on road use.

  3. Hey, welcome back LC!

    Did you expect any sympathy from Clarksons boss?

    He is patronising isn’t he lol. I think he has mistaken colloquialism for inaccurate description though. It’s a shame that a program that can devote time to something as evocative as a Ferrari Daytona Coupe, and even something as off the radar as a Peel P50, can also as a voice of authority (it is because some people believe some of what JC says) spout crap about a mythical tax & supposed superiority.

    What Jeremy, and quite a lot of people in fact, asserts is that because motorists pay these taxes in the act of motoring, that this entitles them to own the road. What about differences in peoples salaries or other expenditure that puts tax in the coffers? Some people pay in more than others, but it doesn’t give them any more priority over anybody else to the tarmac.

  4. What a disgusting response. Have you considered complaining about the response to someone else at the BBC…someone higher up?

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