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.