Top Gear's top boss says a man who confronted photographers saying Jeremy Clarkson would never return to Australia after a confrontation is a "halfwit" who has "nothing to do with the show".
The unnamed man, supposedly a representative of Clarkson, declared the star would never be returning to Australia, after what was supposed to be a private dinner at Sydney's exclusive Otto restaurant descended into a paparazzi frenzy on the glitzy Woolloomooloo wharf.
Clarkson and Top Gear co-host James May, both in Australia to promote a motoring festival and shoot for Top Gear in Sydney, as well as a posse of glamorous women - including 43-year-old former beautician Phillipa Sage - were left seething after being accosted by photographers soon after arriving for their dinner at 8.30pm, leading Clarkson to declare one photographer "should be thrown into the river".
After an ugly verbal stoush,a representative of Clarkson told a group of nearby paparazzi: "You're the reason we won't come back to Australia", before the party ascended to the upstairs level of Otto as a visibly confused John Laws walked past his usually peaceful haunt.
The news spread quickly to the UK last night, forcing Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman to throw cold water on the situation, describing Clarkson's dinner associate as a halfwit.
"I would like to address the matter of the comment made by a man in Sydney Harbour, stating that Top Gear would never be coming back to Australia," Wilman told News Ltd.
"That comment was made by a halfwit who has absolutely nothing to do with the TV show, and nor is he a spokesman for Jeremy or any of the other presenters.
"He had no right to make any comment in relation to the show, and his remarks most certainly do not reflect our views in any way. I know there was a stressful situation involving paparazzi, there may have been some puffing up of chests – I neither know nor care.
"I am absolutely furious about what he said and I would like the viewers who watch and enjoy Top Gear in Australia to know this."
A party of around 10, including Clarkson and May, turned up for dinner by water taxi, having crossed Sydney Harbour from their hotel.
But their night quickly turned from serenity to chaos when top celebrity paparazzo Jamie Fawcett began taking snaps as they made their way up a boat ramp in front of Otto.
"How did they know? Someone at the restaurant's told them," a shocked and furious Clarkson blared. "You can take them out of England, but you just can't take the convict out of them."
Clarkson then approached Fawcett - nose to nose - and said "... Why are you doing this?"
The BBC star then suggested the dinner guests move on to another location, before an Otto staff member assured them the restaurant hadn't leaked their whereabouts.
"Then how do they know? Somebody has told them," Clarkson said.
The internationally famous face of Top Gear then added: "(Fawcett) is all right, but that bald-headed bloke, I was getting ready to throw him into the river" - apparently referring to another nearby member of the press pack.
Clarkson was being followed by celebrity photographers due to rumors of a romance with Sage after being spotted with the single mother in Rome in November last year, sparking rumors Clarkson's marriage with Francis had come to an end.
Clarkson, who arrived alone earlier this week, was joined in Sydney by co-presenter May yesterday, to film segments for the top rating Top Gear program at Sydney's Eastern Creek racetrack.
The group spent a leisurely Thursday afternoon on Sydney Harbour and were joined by the buxom mother of one Phillipa Sage, who was photographed in a bikini on board the luxury charter vessel Flying Fish.
Also in the party and at Otto last night, was actor Shane Jacobsen, the Australian Top Gear host.
They were joined by a number of other unidentified men and women for the boat trip and boozy dinner.
No expense is being spared on the production of the top rating show, or to cater for the needs of the celebrity hosts.
Jeremy Clarkson is being flown to and from the western Sydney filming location by a chartered helicopter to avoid delays in Sydney's gridlocked traffic.
Earlier, the outspoken star was in his usual sarcastic form, posting a picture on Twitter of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with the quip: "Anyone else think this is a bit over engineered?"
Clarkson has previously caused controversy with remarks about Gordon Brown, Mexicans, Germans, gays, Polish, Scottish, Welsh, Indians, people with facial disfigurement and those who commit suicide.
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