Here is the full statement made by Jeremy Clarkson in a video posted tonight:
Ordinarily I don't respond to newspaper allegations, but on this occasion I feel I must make an exception.
A couple of years ago I recorded an item for Top Gear, in which I quoted the rhyme Eeny, Meeny, Miny Moe.
Now, of course, I was well aware that in the best known version of this rhyme, there is a racist expression that I was extremely keen to avoid.
The full rushes show that I did three takes. In two I mumbled where the offensive word would normally occur and in the third, I replaced it all together with the word 'teacher'.
Now when I viewed this footage, several weeks later, I realised that in one of the mumbled versions, if you listen very carefully with the sound turned right up, it did appear that I'd actually used the word I was trying to obscure.
I was mortified by this, horrified, it is a word I loath. And I did everything in my power to make sure that that version did not appear in the programme that was transmitted.
In fact, I have here the note I sent at the time to the production office.
And it says, 'I didn't use the n-word here but I've just listened through my headphones and it sounds like I did. Is there another take that we could use?'
Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word.
And as I'm sitting here begging your forgiveness for that fact that obviously my efforts weren't quite good enough.
Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has said he is "horrified" that it sounded as though he used racist language while filming an episode and was "begging your forgiveness" for the fact it appeared he did.
In a video posted on his Twitter account tonight, he said: "When I viewed this footage, I realised that if you listen very carefully with the sound turned right up, it did appear I actually used the word I was trying to obscure."
He added: "Please be assured I did everything in my power to not use that word."
The BBC has released a statement saying it has left Jeremy Clarkson "in no doubt about how seriously" it is treating allegations that the presenter used a racist expression during filming of Top Gear.
Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode.
We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off.
We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this.
Officials at Downing Street have indicated that David Cameron - a friend of Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson's - believed that the BBC needed to investigate what happened.
"Any usage of that word would be quite wrong," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.
"If there are these reports and allegations, I am sure that is something the BBC would look at."
Clarkson has denied claims he used racist language while filming an episode of the hit motoring show.
Jeremy Clarkson has denied claims he used the N-word while filming an episode of BBC's Top Gear.
I did not use the n word. Never use it. The Mirror has gone way too far this time.
The Daily Mirror posted a video on its website of the presenter saying a nursery rhyme which it said had been studied by "audio forensic experts."
They claim Clarkson "can be heard chanting: "Eeny, meeny, miny, moe." He then mumbles: "Catch a n***** by his toe'."
A BBC spokeswoman said: "We've seen the story, the Mirror didn't approach us, clearly we'll establish the facts before commenting."
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