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Gay couples ‘barred’ from Top Gear audience

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  1. So why don’t they apply it to the presenters they cast also?

    I would much rather see Vicky Butler Henderson than the boorish Clarkson and James May.

  2. weird rules.

  3. John(Derbyshire) 1 Dec 2009, 11:46am

    Clarkson is a notorious homophobe-but how he`s got the BBC to toe his homophobic line is hard to tell. I would make an official complaint.

  4. Clarkson makes his money out of representing a kind of popularised, commonsense man-in-the-pub kind of “philosophy” but underneath it all is a clever appeal to the bigotry and intolerance just beneath the surface in so-called “Middle England”. Is it surprising that the incredibly boring “vroom….vroom….” programme he runs, appealing to White Van Man, has this kind of rule?

  5. Clarkson was on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Here’s part of the interview where they talk about what they would put in their mouths. Wonder whether Ross ever watches “I’m a Celebrity”

  6. Is this really a gay issue?

  7. Mihangel apYrs 1 Dec 2009, 12:05pm

    would they have turned away two lush lesbians?

  8. It seems to me much more likely that this rule is in place to stop gangs of straight lads from taking over the place, with all the potential for rough-and-tumble that that implies. Many straight clubs operate a similar policy. Nothing to see here, move on.

  9. 1 Dec 2009, 1:07pm

    Disregarding Clarkson’s personal bent, this became an issue because somebody in the programme staff didn’t exercise common sense. I find it hard to believe that applications weren’t also received from pairs of women, or single women. Or that the rule can’t be operated in a common-sense way. The programme isn’t necessarily convicting itself of homophobia as such, though that is possible; it’s convicting itself of a lack of ordinary sense.

  10. I’m a big queer and I can totally see where they’re coming from with this rule. It’s not homophobic at all (and it’s highly doubtful that Clarkson had anything to do with it!) and anyone who thinks so is just trying to incite some kind of argument that really doesn’t exist.

    “Two men were barred from getting tickets” should have been the headline. The fact they are gay is irrelevant. I’m damn sure the BBC would have sent out the tickets to two gay men and two lesbians.

  11. Okay, I’ve just read it all again. The headline is so so wrong. Gay couples are not barred from the Top Gear audience. Groups of men are barred. The same way some nightclubs ban groups of men. Some holiday organisations ban groups of men. It’s naff all to do with them being gay. Each one has it’s own reasons, just like the BBC do here, and to insinuate it’s because they’re gay is bloody ridiculous.

  12. Clarkson is, in my opinion, one of the rudest and most dislikable people on British TV! I don’t watch his programme; don’t encourage him!

  13. I would just like to clarify, as I am a big fan of the show and have been to filming myself and this non-story really annoys me: if the couple in question had brought a pair of female friends along with them (you are allowed more than 2 tickets), they could have paraded in hand in hand and snogged in front of clarkson and noone would have batted an eyelid. I have been there with a gang of girls and we have had to bring male friends just the same in order to make up the 50-50, so it works both ways. Admitedly, it isnt the most metrosexual program on the telly, but before you all jump on Jeremy Clarkson and his supposed homophobia, bear in mind that ticket allocation has nothing to do with him personally (and is in fact run by a massively incompetent ticket company, so dont expect any common sense there either)

  14. Why would anyone what to see this retarded show anyway?

  15. Clarkson (whom TopGear has made a multi-millionaire) owns trhe independant company producing the programme and selling it to the BBC.He is an obnoxious Daily Mail type individual and I have no doubt that his company would seek to exclude gay people.

  16. @Gendy – The BBC is the producer of Top Gear. Clarkson does not own the BBC.

  17. @gendy Jeremy Clarkson does not own the company who allocate the tickets for the show. Applause Store is an independent company and does not ask anyone about their sexual orientation when booking shows – they simply request that groups are mixed gender.

  18. and by “groups” they don’t mean “couples”, by the way.

  19. Mihangel apYrs 1 Dec 2009, 3:42pm

    If all that has been said is true, why the ban on TWO men? They weren’t a group. Numbers could have been balanced with any two women applying.

    I’d have a problem with rounding up two female friends to make up a foursome for the programme (if I ever wanted to go!)

  20. Come on, calm down. This is a non story, some nifty sub-editing on the headlines. The reasons for the two men ban are clear and set out above. It’s not Clarkson being homophobic, and, though he may well pose as being, I doubt he is really. The programme does have some massive anti-gay moments, but I actually think the producers and editors are at fault as much as Clarkson. He shouldn’t make remarks as he does sometimes (off-beam “humour” and easy crowd-pleasers) and when he does, they should be clipped and binned. I complained when he described a car as being “a bit ginger beer” (kids taking this sort of remark and then playground peer group pressure to carry it on) and he was reprimanded, or rather the show was, apology from the Beeb etc. But I am a petrolhead, and intend to keep watching.

  21. Ceiling Cat 1 Dec 2009, 3:47pm

    Something smells here. If the production company wants a gender mixed audience, why can they not build such based on the applications received?

    I also want to know what would happen if they’d taken a couple of drag queens :)

  22. Wasn’t there a “Clarkson for Prime Minister” campaign?
    Isn’t the limit of his intellect something like,
    “Listen to that noise………..vroom………”
    Pathetic that we’re even wasting time talking about him.

  23. RE Something smells here. If the production company wants a gender mixed audience, why can they not build such based on the applications received? – ceiling cat

    They do. You request tickets on a form which tells you that you must bring a mixed gender group, they then ring or email to tell you have tickets and tell you that you must have a mixed gender group. Somewhere along the line this guy didn’t read or hear the instructions.

  24. Pumpkin Pie 1 Dec 2009, 4:14pm

    This is the most ridiculous thing…

    IN THE WORLD. ;)

  25. Ceiling Cat 1 Dec 2009, 4:15pm

    mo, are you deliberately missing the point? :) I decided to pop over and check the booking procedure for Loose Women before I posted. While it’s clear they’re doing something similar. based on the questions, there’s no request that you MUST be a mixed gender group. Presumably, the agency managing the tickets will do their best to try and fit you in.

  26. “We also ask that groups of people coming to the recordings have a roughly 50/50 male/female split. This is so we don’t end up with a bunch of ugly male car geeks ruining everyone’s Sunday night”

    from BBC Top Gear Website. I know it says “roughly” but it is a stretch too far to cry homophobia here.

  27. Why they would want to be in the same studio as that permed homophobe is beyond me.

    Haven’t they got two lesbian friends they can take, or perhaps their Mums?

  28. Nick Kirby 1 Dec 2009, 5:22pm

    I agree with those who say this is a non-story. The purpose behind this policy is to ensure that the audience is totally mixed. Top Gear makes it very clear when you apply that the party has to be mixed 50/50. So the men could have taken two female friends and there would have not been a problem.

    Whether Clarkson is a homophobe is one issue, but this is not a homophobic policy. If a group of straight men or straight women had applied, they would have been turned down as well. After all, it doesn’t ask you if you are gay when you apply does it.

    And another thing. Top Gear is an excellent show – just because I am gay doesn’t mean that I have to wear hot pants, sh*t glitter and listen to Kylie. Some of us do have other interests, cars being one of them.

  29. Pumpkin Pie 1 Dec 2009, 6:05pm

    And another thing. Top Gear is an excellent show – just because I am gay doesn’t mean that I have to wear hot pants, sh*t glitter and listen to Kylie. Some of us do have other interests, cars being one of them.

    I occasionally watch it, too. Not because I care about cars (so very disinterested in them) nor because I like the presenters (can be funny, but best taken in small doses), but because of the incredible production values. The studio behind the show has some seriously talented people working for it. The ticket company, however, does not.

  30. Article “Booking rules for the BBC2 show insist that tickets must be purchased in groups of four, with two men and two women.”

    In fact the website says a maximum of four tickets:-

    So it would be a lot more difficult for gay couples to get tickets.

  31. I think some people are missing the point here.

    A heterosexual couple will be able to book/receive tickets for themselves, because they meet the “50% male, 50% female” criteria.

    What happens if a same-sex couple tried to apply for tickets for themselves? They would be refused because they will not meet the 50/50 criteria.

    That, in my opinion, is discrimination. A gay couple should not be forced to add 2 more people of the opposite sex so that the “50% male, 50% female” criteria can be met. Heterosexual couples would not need to go through this. That is wrong.

    N.B. if I read the applausestore website correctly, the maximum tickets people can apply for is 4, which would suggest that people could apply for 2 tickets as there is no minimum number.

  32. “N.B. if I read the applausestore website correctly, the maximum tickets people can apply for is 4, which would suggest that people could apply for 2 tickets as there is no minimum number.”

    That was my reading too. I wonder where the bit about being sold in groups of four comes from? Probably the BBC – they never can be trusted!

  33. Why don’t they just take a lesbian couple with them to balance out the rules? Doesn’t mean they have to sit boy-girl-boy-girl!

  34. It’s just a complex ticket ordering system that’s all. Everywhere you book tickets you will find conditions regarding booking and party arrangements. In this case, it is probably so the BBC can ensure that it get’s an even number of men and women watching it being filmed so it doesn’t come across too blokish.

    Book the tickets individually, and then go and stand with who you originally came with.

  35. “Why don’t they just take a lesbian couple with them to balance out the rules? Doesn’t mean they have to sit boy-girl-boy-girl!”

    That’s not the point, del. The point I’m trying to make here is that a heterosexual couple is able to apply two tickets whereas a same-sex couple cannot.

    Let’s imagine this scenario: you fancy treating your boyfriend to a lovely birthday present or anniversary by going to a Top Gear show, only to be told you cannot do this because both of you are male. In the meanwhile a heterosexual couple is going to the Top Gear show for the same reason (i.e. birthday treat/anniversary) and they are able to get in without any problem.

    Now can you see what is wrong here?

  36. GAPOI, Top gear tickets is not the kind of thing you can book for a birthday treat: there is a year-long waiting list and you only find out a couple of days before if you are going, so it s not like booking a theatre show.
    Also, noone asks you what gender you are when you apply, so there is nothing stopping you from meeting up with some complete strangers of the opposite sex at the entrance and going in as “one party”.
    I do see everyones point, like I said, even in a group of girls we’ve had to bring token blokes with us, but if they relaxed this rule for gay couples, what would stop the gangs of blokey yobs they re trying to keep off our screens to all turn up claiming to be couples?

  37. This really is a storm in a self created teacup! OK, at a stetch, we can find some minor accidental discrimination… collateral damage from the rule they impose.(Now I understand the concern, to avoid the crowd being too “laddish” or “geeky”, it actually seems quite sensible to me). It was not intended to be anti gay, at all. But I agree that appears to be its effect. Where I am not sure is what could be done. Maybe we could certify we are gay, when we apply (irony here… don’t yell at me). I don’t think there is a solution which makes sense. Sometimes there isn’t!

  38. @estelle

    “noone asks you what gender you are when you apply”

    When you register at the website one of the questions is whether you’re Mr, Mrs or Miss. Also names are often a giveaway as to gender.

    Why should some people have to take a chance that they’ll be able to meet up with someone there willing to accompany them?

    The fairest suggestion is that the ticket company should allow people to apply as couples (without discrimination) – especially as ‘marital status’ is one of the optional questions on the registration form.

  39. then, Dave, gay non couples would not get in (would we have to attach copy CP certificates?)unless you mean bf/gf couples with no CP, then it just gets too messy and impossible to administer. Life sucks sometimes, this is one of those times. Aren’t there bigger things to worry about? It’s not really discrimination; it’s an unfortunate by-product of the (sensible?) rule, to which there is no easy solution.

  40. andrew – it is discriminatory and clarkson has admitted to homophobic views

  41. i know! It is discriminatory, but read back and you will appreciate (a) it was not designed as being – just a by-product of a sensible rule; (b) it’s not easy to solve it – all the obvious solutions appear to be flawed.

    I dont agree Clarkson has admitted homophobic views, and actually I don’t personally think he is homophobic. I do think his sense o humour and wish to please the reader/crowd has sometimes allowed him to say inappropriate things, gay-wise and of course that’s wrong. In fact, when you do read back, you will see I had an upheld complaint at the BBC about one of them, so I don;t condone them. I just doubt he really dislikes gay people, on a personal basis, which is what homophobia is (actually it’s a fear, but I am being loose)

  42. @andrew said “Aren’t there bigger things to worry about?”

    Yes I think there are lots more issues to do with the BBC’s (and Ofcom’s) attitude towards diversity and inclusiveness. I went into considerable detail in a submission to Ofcom’s E&D consultation, for example regarding use of the word ‘poof’ on TV.

    I note that your complaint was upheld, but Clarkson went on to ridicule the decision. He told The Sun “No one’s rung me to tell me off. And it wasn’t a gay car — it was actually a bit lesbian.” see my blog entry of 26 Oct 2008

    The BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, although quite well worded at present, are routinely treated with contempt by programme makers. The proposed Draft Guidelines have been weakened, and worded to allow routine demeaning remarks by the likes of Clarkson and Ross. The BBC justifies this on the basis of audience research.

  43. Scott Grundy 2 Dec 2009, 2:56pm

    The policy is in fact discriminatory. If you are a single male or a couple of mates you are out of luck. Not just gays that works against.
    That said I am not sure that Clarkson and Co are homophoblic. Clarkson showed a lot of interest in the Grindr Iphone app when Stephen Fry was on the show.
    I think Clarkson is more against a certain kind of gay. Thus all his comments to the “Hamster”.
    Jeremy Clarkson can be an A grade tosser at times. However it seems to me that unless you are hot headed petrol head (and even then sometimes) you will get the vitriol aimed at you.
    This is money in the bank for Clarkson.

  44. Ughh for god sakes us gays need to stop being so bloody sensitive.
    They refused them tickets because they didn’t meet the 2 guys 2 girls criteria that is in place to ensure a mixed audience.
    You could accuse the 2 guys in question of being sexist because they didn’t offer to take 2 women be they straight lesbian or transgendered but I don’t see people levelling that accusation at them.
    I love Top Gear for what it is, mindless tv designed to make you laugh at and with the presenters and look at people driving beautiful cars.

  45. By having the policy applied to all they are then indirectly discriminating against gay couples or single sex friends by applying that policy. Just because it may make sense does not make it right. If they want a 50/50 split then let the ticket people do the extra work to make sure that is what they get.

  46. Dave thanks fr the blog link. I didn’t know Clarkson had tried to make a joke of the fact that he had been ticked off, but I take some comfort that it was item 3 on the Beeb 6 O’clock news. I can’t believe that, behind the bravado, he wasn’t just a little bit embarassed. Maybe I over estimate him.

    I still find the show very watchable, and I hate to admit it, I like most of his humour. I dont know the viewing figures – they claimed lots of millions, but apply Kinsey 20% (I know, I know, but you get my drift), and there are lot of gay people watching. Thing to do when he oversteps is to complain and keep complaining. Actually, he has been better lately hasn’t he?

    And since when did we lose our sense of humour entirely? Not every reference to gay, homosexual, etc is offensive, or intended to be. On eone side of the line, this boils down to personal preference and taste. I do know there is another side of the line. And, of course, people will differ where the line is.

  47. Why is it that, so often, it’s the LGBT minority which is expected to have a sense of humour, but other minorities don’t need one? For example when Jonathan Ross introduced his temporary house band The Stylistics on 30th October – where was his dig at the group? Not there, because he made another joke about the regular house band. And where are Jeremy Clarkson’s digs at people from the West Indies, for example. It’s more often than not us gays who are expected to have ‘a sense of humour’ or be able to ‘laugh at ourselves’

  48. I am content to, Dave – you may not be. Both valid. Or to be more precise, I am content to up to a point. I complain to the Beeb if/when they upset me – and you are free to do the same. But really, honestly, I do feel sometimes we find insult when none is really there; we can be teased, a gay remark is not necessarily an anti gay jibe and not necessarily homophobia. For example, there was a bit of joking between Clarkson and Hammond last week, about one putting his hand on the other’s knee, in a small car. Not very original, not hilarious, and I know we could say that the script implied it is a bad thing for one man to put his hand on another’s knee…. but come on, offensive? I don’t think so. You may, which is fair enough.

  49. Ian Garry 2 Dec 2009, 9:24pm

    I really like Top Gear and I’ve got to agree with those posters who’ve commented that we mustn’t be over-sensitive. So much of the show’s humour is so tongue-in-cheek that I really can’t get offended by it. Besides, Clarkson, May and Hammond spend so much time making great big prats out of themselves and, let’s not forget, they’ve had several gay ‘Stars In A Reasonably-Priced Car'(though not all at once, obviously :-D )that it’s obvious not everything is meant to be taken on face value.

  50. andrew – he’s admitted to being Ok with the fact that same-sex couples can’t marry and some of his views read as homophobic

  51. Will: “Why would anyone what to see this retarded show anyway?”

    Typical Will reponse. Actually, its one of the top 5 shows on TV right across the world. Maybe ask them. Personally, I think it’s interesting, funny, beautifully filmed and totally and utterly irreverant. I have often been considered a Clarkson dual, as I not only look like him, am the same age, weight and height, but I’m also equally shoot-from-the-hip and say what the f_ck I like. Only difference he doesn’t do willies. We have met on a couple of occasions and got on like a house on fire.

    Then we set a house on fire.

  52. RobN, you’re a Jeremy Clarkson lookalike?????

  53. The policy is clearly illegal, since it will have a more adverse effect on same-sex couples than opposite-sex couples and is in the field of goods and services. Why are people here making excuses for it?

  54. “the policy is clearly illegal”

    Just not so. Why would the assumption that people wanting tickets are always couples, be assumed? It’s way different to wanting to share a bedroom in a hotel, etc, to which the law in question wa addressed.

    Time to move on, I think. If you don’t lke the prog, don’t watch it. I do, I will. If you feel Clarkson has gone too far with his jokes, report him to the Beeb. But really, enough……

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