The executive producer of Top Gear has expressed regret for a remark made by Jeremy Clarkson during the show's Burma special in March. The presenter used the word "slope" as an Asian man crossed a newly built bridge over the River Kwai in Thailand.

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Producer Andy Wilman said it had been a "joke referencing both the build quality of the bridge and the local Asian man who was crossing it," adding, "We regret any offence caused."

The remarks had led to complaints and the threat of legal action from Equal Justice, a law firm specialising in discrimination cases. Acting on behalf of actress Somi Guha, the firm accused Clarkson of "clear gross misconduct" and described the comments as "institutionally racist."

"We were not aware at the time, and it has subsequently been brought to our attention, that the word 'slope' is considered by some to be offensive," Wilman said in a statement.

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"Although it might not be widely recognised in the UK, we appreciate that it can be considered offensive to some here and overseas, for example in Australia and the USA.

"If we had known that at the time we would not have broadcast the word in this context."

It's not the first time the BBC's motoring show has garnered criticism. In 2011, the corporation apologised for remarks on the programme that characterised Mexicans as lazy and feckless.

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