TThe BBC Top Gear motoring programme is no stranger to controversy, and is again making the news headlines. This week, the programmes presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, James May, and Richard Hammond had to hide under their hotel beds, as angry Argentinian residents attempted to storm their hotel .Clarkson sparked a furious reaction after driving a Porsche with the number plate H982 FKL Which it is claimed referred to the 1982 Falklands War.

Jeremy Clarkson insisted that it was not intended to refer to the 1982 conflict. The three presenters looked shaken when they arrived back in Britain after fleeing Argentina, last night.

BBC bosses have held talks with the Foreign Office, who confirmed that it had been involved with the saga, and had offered consular assistance to the film crew and its presenters.

Clarkson, May, and Hammond, cut their trip short by 24hrs,and had to have a police escort to enable them to leave Argentina, after furious locals threatened to "barbecue" them. They departed in such a hurry that they had to abandon their cars and a laptop computer. The Top Gear crew ditched Clarkson's Porsche. Along with a Ford Mustang belonging to James May, and a Lotus Esprit that was being driven by Richard Hammond, after being stoned as they drove through the southern Argentine village of Tolhuin. They were passing through on their way to Chile, after fleeing their hotel in nearby Ushuaia.

Juan Manuel Romano, Secretary of Social Development for southern Terra del Fuego province confirmed that the Television crew had been escorted to the airport, "They have taken the decision to leave "he said.

Safely back in Britain Clarkson said "The mob, 100%wanted to kill us. Thousands chased the crew to the border, someone could have been killed.

This was not a jolly jape that went wrong. For once, we did nothing wrong." Clarkson continued, "We had planned a good ending to the show. But thanks to the Argentinian government's foolishness, it's now even better."

In answer to the claims that he deliberately picked the controversial number plate, he replied "When it was pointed out to us, we changed it".

The Top Gear production team point out that the job of buying cars for the show would be carried out by researchers, not the stars. The BBC's director of television, Danny Cohen has asked "Why no one spotted the potential problems posed by the number plate?" Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman, is quoted as saying "Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme, to suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substitute for the original is completely untrue.

Jeremy Clarkson was at the centre of another controversy in 2011 when the BBC had to apologise to Mexico over remarks made on Top Gear that characterised Mexicans as lazy, and oafish.

This year the programme has had a number of setbacks when one edition was found to be in breach of Ofcom's broadcasting code, for the use of a racially offensive term during a two part special filmed in Burma. Clarkson apologised after un-broadcast footage emerged, in which he appeared to use the "N" word while reciting a nursery ryham. Although he denied he actually uttered the word.