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Friday, February 02, 2007

As I predicted...

Well okay, I did not predict it here on this blog but if you ask people in 'real life' who know me then they will tell you that I predicted this. Okay if you ask my wife and some of my colleagues, okay?

I am talking about complaints about last Sunday's edition of TopGear. They showed Richard Hammond's crash and I said that I bet some people will complain even though he survived and was sitting there commentating on it. That has now turned out to be the case:

The handling of Richard Hammond's return to Top Gear
has been branded "insensitive" and "insulting" by a charity for people
with brain injury.

Headway said it had been inundated with complaints particularly over comments made by presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

At the start of Sunday's show, Mr Clarkson asked Mr Hammond if he was mental, while James May offered him a tissue in case he started dribbling.

The BBC said the show was not intended to cause any offence.

Now I actually do have some sympathy here; I can understand how the comments made by May and Clarkson could easily be construed as insulting to those living with the effects of serious head injuries, though it was clearly humerous banter.

However, my sympathies began to severly wane when I saw this from headway chief executive Peter McCabe:

"I think the whole way the show handled the issue was wrong. They should not have shown the crash.

"It just glamorised fast driving and gives the impression people can make a fully(sic) recovery from head injuries.

"That is not always the case."

"It gives the impression people can make a fully (sic) recovery fromhead injuries". Hmmm. Sorry to burst your bubble Mr McCabe but people can and do make a full recovery. Mr Hammond was living and commentating proof of that as the crash was shown.

Now to be fair you probably meant to say that it gave the impression that people always make a full recovery (as suggested by your next sentence) which is clearly not the case. If that is so then I have to say that I have grave misgivings over whether you watched the show at all, because to my mind it did not give that impression and nor did it glamorise driving fast. It simply was. What is more comments made throughout indicated how lucky Hammond was. My wife and I watched not with glee and excitement but with something approaching shock that Hammond actually survived the incident. Mr McCabe must have been unaware of how much publicity surrounded the incident and Hammond's subsequent recovery since he thinks that viewers will not realise how close to death and serious brain damage Richard Hammond was.

Perhaps if you are worried about glamorising fast driving you would support a ban on all land-speed attempts in purpose built vehicles? how about a ban on all motor-sport which depends upon driving fast and in the case of Formula 1 is pushed as glamourous? perhaps that is too draconian, maybe you would just prefer that they were never shown on TV?

Top Gear is an easy target and has become the bete noir of certain folk who are far too interested in what you and I watch since we are incapable of understanding the context of what we are shown. In this case, we are clearly incapable of understanding the words that were uttered by the people involved.

As I said, I can sympathise with those offended at the humour used by the presenters and can fully understand why some would take offence but the posturing over the actual showing of the crash is quite frankly pathetic. If you did not want to watch it, there was an off-switch on
your TV. Try using it.

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