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TomTom Top Gear satnav banned by BBC

Jim Martin
14 Oct 2011
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Jeremy Clarkson-voiced satnav cancelled, but you can still buy one if you're quick

TomTom's new limited-edition Top Gear satnav with Jeremy Clarkson's voice has been banned by the BBC since it represents a conflict of interest. Embarrassingly for the corporation, the error came to light too late into the process to prevent the devices being sold.

The product was rushed onto the shelves in time for the Christmas market - over 50,000 units had been manufactured and many delivered to Halfords stores, which has exclusive rights to the product. ExpertReviews has also received a Top Gear Edition satnav, so we'll bring you a full review shortly.

The cock-up means you should be able to buy one of the £189 satnavs if you're quick, making an ideal present for a Top Gear fan. The bad news for existing TomTom owners is that Clarkson's voice won't be available to download as a novelty voice.

BBC Worldwide - the commercial arm which struck the original deal to get Jeremy Clarkson's voice on TomTom's Go Live 820 - has been told by the BBC's policy advisers that the presenter isn't allowed to endorse any car-related products.

The satnav features startup and shutdown screens featuring The Stig, plus sarcastic guidance from Clarkson, including lines such as "Right, we're off. You're relying on me for directions, and I'm relying on you to listen. Do not disappoint me". The device also has a Stig mode, which remains silent.

The BBC's solution to the blunder is to ensure that profit made from the deal will go to BBC Children in Need instead of Worldwide. TomTom will also give a charitable donation.

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