One of the programme's presenters, Jeremy Clarkson, has been critical of the BBC regarding the handling of the programme. In the February 2006 issue of Top Gear Magazine, Clarkson revealed that he thought that the BBC did not take Top Gear seriously, making the length of the series far too long, and often replacing the show with live snooker coverage, despite Top Gear having considerably higher viewing figures.
In July 2006, the BBC rejected a variety of complaints regarding the criticism, claiming the producers and presenters choose the way they are covered, and that the BBC do not have any control over it. They argued that the presenters' provocative comments are "an integral part of the programme and are not intended to be taken seriously." Regarding offensive remarks traded between presenters and members of the audience, the BBC said "this is part of the appeal of the show, and we trust most viewers are familiar enough with the style and tone of the show not to take offence." The BBC pointed out that they would act if such statements and actions were carried out with any degree of seriousness or if the programme breached legal and safety requirements.
Top Gear was in negotiations with the BBC to move to Enstone in north Oxfordshire which was closer to Clarkson's home in Chipping Norton. However, the producers were unable to negotiate a deal, after their initial application was blocked due to opposition by local residents, who feared that Top Gear would create pollution and noise issues.
In December 2006, the BBC upheld complaints from four viewers after comments made by Jeremy Clarkson were considered to be homophobic references, had the potential to offend and should not have been broadcast. The complaints regarded comments made by Clarkson in the seventh episode of series six, in which Clarkson described the Daihatsu Copen as "a bit gay". He later described the vehicle as "ginger beer", taken to be rhyming slang for the term "queer". The BBC said there was "no editorial purpose" for the remarks and the "Top Gear team had been reminded of the importance of avoiding such comments about sexual orientation."
In December 2009, it was reported that a gay couple had been denied tickets to see the show being filmed. A BBC spokesperson said, "We do not – absolutely do not – discriminate against same sex couples... the whole implication that Top Gear is in any way homophobic is completely wrong."