BBC apologises for Top Gear Mexican jibes

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The BBC has offered an official letter of apology for comments made on the last episode of Top Gear which caused the Mexican ambassador to write a formal complaint on behalf on his country.

A letter to the London-based diplomat said the BBC was sorry if some people had been offended by the comments, which the diplomat had described as "offensive, xenophobic and humiliating".

However, in its defence, the BBC also said in its letter that jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British humour.

Presenter Richard Hammond called Mexicans "lazy, feckless and flatulent" while they were discussing the new Mastratta sports car on Sunday's show. James May then went on to describe Mexican food as being "like sick, with cheese on it".

While the comments might have been seen as a bit of joke over here, they have apparently caused uproar in Mexico, with the show generating a great deal of coverage in the nation's press, and the matter was even reportedly raised in the Mexican senate.

The apology might have been hastened along by an all-party group of British MPs urging the corporation to say sorry on Thursday, calling the comments "ignorant, derogatory and racist."

A statement from the BBC said: "Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised."

But it was perhaps inevitable that the Mexican ambassador would get involved after Jeremy Clarkson said he was confident he would not receive any complaints as the diplomat would be asleep.

Hopefully now the apology has been issued, we can get on with enjoying the show, although something suggests this might not be the last one the BBC has to issue this series.