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Page last updated at 10:50 GMT, Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Hammond defends Clarkson's joke
Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson
Richard Hammond and Jeremy Clarkson co-host Top Gear

Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond has spoken out about co-star Jeremy Clarkson's joke which prompted more than 500 people to complain to the BBC.

During Sunday's episode of the show, Clarkson made a comment about lorry-drivers killing prostitutes.

Richard Hammond told Newsbeat: "Jeremy was just being Jeremy, just being himself and that's what people watch the show for, so why change it?"

The joke, which was made pre-watershed, sparked 517 complaints from viewers.

In Clarkson's defence, Hammond continued: "He was just being Jeremy. People love that. That's what he was delivering."

'He was just being Jeremy'

When asked if he thought the BBC should be more careful in the wake of the Jonathan Ross/Russell Brand prank call row, Hammond said: "I can't really be drawn on that one.

"We'll see what happens over the next week or so. I think it'll blow over."

Lorry driver Steve Wright was jailed in February for killing five prostitutes.

Clarkson was taking part in a lorry-driving task when he made the comment.

In response, the BBC said in a statement: "The vast majority of Top Gear viewers have clear expectations of Jeremy Clarkson's long-established and frequently provocative on-screen persona.

"This particular reference was used to comically exaggerate and make ridiculous an unfair urban myth about the world of lorry driving, and was not intended to cause offence."

A spokesman for media regulator Ofcom said that complaints were currently being assessed against the Broadcasting Code.



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