Clarkson caused outrage by telling hosts of the The One Show that strikers should be taken outside and executed in front of their families.

Both Clarkson and the BBC have apologised after a public outcry, thousands of viewer complaints and a threat of legal action from Unison. Clarkson, however, went on to tell The Sun that he was also sorry for suggesting that sparrows were boring birds.

Last night he said in a statement: “I didn’t for a moment intend these remarks to be taken seriously — as I believe is clear if they’re seen in context. If the BBC and I have caused any offence, I’m happy to apologise alongside them.”

The BBC said: “We feel the item wasn’t perfectly judged.”

Clarkson comments ‘no big deal’ says our blogger

According to the Top Gear presenter, his comments about the strikers were taken out of context and he had, in fact, defended the walkouts earlier in the program.

“I was just making a joke about the BBC’s need to be impartial. If you listen to the whole interview, you’ll see there isn’t a case to answer,” Clarkson told The Sun.

“I started by saying I supported the strikers. Obviously, because it’s the BBC, I have to be impartial. So then I said they should be shot.

“Most people who are complaining haven’t seen the full interview. It’s a knee-jerk reaction.

“I would urge Unison to watch the whole interview and see if they’re still offended afterwards.”

Clarkson also claims that the BBC cleared his comments before he made them. According to The Times, producers thought it would be entertaining if Clarkson offered an extreme view of the strikes. It was thought that the gag wouldn’t be taken seriously.

The misjudgment is reminiscent of Sachsgate scandal, in which BBC bosses gave the go-ahead for Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand to leave offensive messages on the answerphone of Fawlty Towers actor Andrew Sachs.

What do you think? Are people taking Clarkson’s comments too serioulsy?