Update – 10 p.m., BST: Clarkson has now posted a statment online in which he asks for forgiveness. He says:
"The full rushes [raw TV footage] show that I did three takes. In two I mumbled where the offensive word would normally occur. In the third I replaced the word altogether with teacher.
"When I viewed the footage several weeks later I realised that in one of the mumbled versions if you listen very carefully you can actually hear the word I was trying to obscure.
"I was mortified by this, horrified. It is a word I loathe and I did everything in my power to make sure that that version did not appear in the programme that was transmitted ...
"And as I'm sitting here begging your forgiveness that obviously my efforts weren't quite good enough."