The BBC has been plunged into fresh controversy after Jeremy Clarkson joked about murdering prostitutes on Top Gear.
In a rant broadcast last night, the outspoken presenter mocked lorry drivers by claiming they only care about fuel prices and killing prostitutes.
As he completed a 'task' driving a lorry, he said: "This is a hard job and I'm not just saying that to win favour with lorry drivers, it's a hard job.
"Change gear, change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder. That's a lot of effort in a day."
The comments are believed to be a reference to Suffolk Strangler Steven Wright, a former trucker who murdered five prostitutes in Ipswich in 2006.
Clarkson's outburst follows the storm over the BBC's decision to air an obscene phone call by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on Radio 2.
Yesterday truckers' groups and charities demanded an apology and said the BBC's decision to broadcast the comments "beggared belief".
The BBC is an institution that is paid for by the licence fee and they should not be allowing this kind of sick joke
The United Road Transport Union said they had been inundated with complaints from its 17,000 truck driver members.
Spokesman James Bower said: "We received dozens of phone calls from many members to say how disgusted they were about the comments.
"We would absolutely condemn what he said about murdering prostitutes. It beggars belief that those words can be broadcast on TV.
"The BBC is an institution that is paid for by the licence fee and they should not be allowing this kind of sick joke."
A spokeswoman from English Collective of Prostitutes said: "This is a truly heartless comment.
"In the wake of the murders of five young women in Ipswich and the killing of over 60 prostitute women in the last 10 years, how did this remark, making light of the murder of prostitute women, come to be broadcast?
"Mr Clarkson should apologise immediately to prostitute women and our families especially those of us bereaved by murder."
The controversial remarks came during the first episode of the news series of Top Gear - aired on BBC 2 on Sunday evening.
Clarkson's comments are also thought to make reference to former truck driver Peter Sutcliffe who murdered 13 women - many of them prostitutes - between 1975 and 1980.
Shockingly, the comments were broadcast beofore the 9pm watershed.
The scandal comes at a disastrous time for the BBC as the 'Sachsgate' affair is beginning to die down.
A spokesman for broadcast regulator OFCOM said: "We did receive complaints regarding last night's Top Gear programme.
"All the complaints will be assessed against OFCOMs broadcasting code, which sets standards for the content of TV and radio broadcasts."
Was crashing a truck into a wall at 56mph REALLY such a bright idea, Mr Clarkson?
He has a notorious appetite for destruction.
But after emerging in 'screaming agony' from this latest horrifying escapade, perhaps Jeremy Clarkson has had his fill.
These spectacular pictures show how the presenter deliberately crashed a truck into a wall at high speed for his latest daredevil Top Gear stunt.
The cab crumpled as the lorry hit the brick wall at its maximum of 56mph, leaving Clarkson with heavy bruising to his shin and back and an index finger like 'a burst sausage'.
Describing the crash, he said: 'At the moment, teenagers see Bruce Willis driving his car into a helicopter and imagine that you can get out afterwards and still be well enough to punch a baddie in the face.
'This isn't accurate. I emerged from my high speed head-on impact in what can only be described as screaming agony.
'I couldn't walk. I couldn't talk. I couldn't think.
'Everyone should experience this before they are given a licence.'
Clarkson described the smash as his first serious road accident for 31 years. A Top Gear spokesman said the presenter was 'quite badly injured', although he has since made a good recovery.
However, the crash brought back memories of Hammond's high-speed smash in 2006.
The Hamster, as his co-presenters have nicknamed him, was badly hurt when the jet-powered car he was driving crashed during filming