And Finally...Top Gear in gay couple row
Gay couples are furious after being "banned" from studio recordings of Top Gear
They are prevented from joining the TV audience under a bizarre rule that stipulates bookings must be "50 per cent male and 50 per cent female".
But last night the policy was slammed as "discrimination".
Simon Reeves, 26, who was turned down when he and his partner applied for tickets to the BBC2 show, said: "I couldn't believe it.
"Top Gear is the blokiest show on telly but we weren't allowed unless we took a couple of female friends.
"It seems unfair that a married heterosexual couple are the 'ideal' applicants but same sex couples have no chance whatsoever.
Simon, of Haslemere, Surrey, added: "It sounds like something Jeremy Clarkson came up with to ensure he didn't have to put up with any gays."
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All applications to attend the five-hour recording in an aircraft hangar in Dunsfold, Surrey, must be for groups of up to four, made up equally of males and females. The website which handles the allocation says: "Each booking requires equal amounts of men to women, so please ensure that you have a 50/50 split of guys and gals in your party."
Presenter Clarkson was rapped by Ofcom in 2007 for making a homophobic remark on the programme. He described a car as "a bit gay.... very ginger beer".
Last night, Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said of the ticket ruling: "It's very odd, but what do you expect from pigs that grunt? Regrettably, with Jeremy Clarkson involved, it's not surprising. The show itself is full of stereotyping of both men and women - but it's funded by gay and lesbian licence fee cash as well as everyone else's.
"Arguably, this is a breach of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2005."
A BBC spokeswoman said same sex couples were welcome. The 50/50 split was simply "to avoid the entire audience being made up of men".
She added: "There is nothing sinister going on." But she admitted girls were sometimes moved around so they would be in camera shot.
"Viewers don't want to just look at a load of ugly men," she explained.
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