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.
More top news
Staying mild overnight with a sunny start forecast for most of the UK.
Scientists claim bubbling magma is behind the 'man in the moon' image rather than an asteroid strike
Our Political Editor Tom Bradby has been tackling readers' questions about David Cameron's conference speech.