TOP Gear’s complaints department was left spinning its wheels after Weobley’s Reverend Bob King got in touch over a segment that saw Jeremy Clarkson ram-raiding supermarket produce.
The self-confessed car fanatic emailed the BBC show after the episode two weeks ago, asking for an explanation over the “unnecessary and distasteful” destruction of food.
It’s a cause close the Reverend’s heart; at both his Weobley and Norton Canon churches there is a constant collection for local food banks, and last week, on his popular Hereford Hospital radio show he interviewed Hereford Food Bank administrator Alison Russell.
Therefore the show’s segment, using ram-raiding to compare modern cars with their 80s equivalents, left Rev King “squirming with embarrassment”.
He said: “Why they had to race around a supermarket destroying food just beggars belief.
“This part of the programme was totally unnecessary and spoilt what was a good story.
“Many people in this country rely on food banks at the present time and many of us who are not in that sad position contribute on a regular basis to this form of charity.”
To their credit the BBC issued a full and frank response, although pulled up short of offering an apology, or – as Rev King suggested - a donation to a food bank to match the damage done.
A spokesman told Rev King that the Top Gear team do their best to minimise prop damage – they used cheap foodstuffs like juices that would look good on camera – but that the moral question of destroying food is not one that Clarkson and local boy Richard Hammond have to answer to.
In a statement from the Top Gear production team, a spokesman said: “Since we were making a tribute to 80s Hot Hatches, the supermarket challenge was filmed in the context of ram raiding shops, which was a phenomenon of that period.
“As such, there would inevitably be damage, especially at the speed Jeremy and Richard were driving.
“We’re aware that some viewers will think any wastage of food is unacceptable, but we are making a TV show, and that sort of moral question is not the main point of our remit.”
Rev King said he appreciated the effort the BBC went to in replying – even if he did not agree with their answer.
“I’m not a big fan of the show, but I’m a car fanatic.” He said.
“I know they make some good shows – and to be fair I watched again this Sunday and really enjoyed it.”
You can tune in to Rev King’s radio show on Thursdays from 2-5pm online or via the Hereford Hospital Radio app available now through iTunes.