Jeremy Clarkson has described the moment the Top Gear crew was attacked by an angry Argentinian crowd armed with rocks and pickaxe handles as "the most terrifying thing I've ever been involved in".

The crew were filming in Argentina for a special show near the town of Ushuaia when they were pelted by stones with locals, seemingly enraged by the H982 FKL on Clarkson's Porsche. Some have interpreted the code as being a reference to the 1982 Falklands War between the UK and Argentina.

Clarkson told The Sun: "I've been to Iraq and Afghanistan, but this was the most terrifying thing I've ever been involved in.

"There were hundreds of them. They were hurling rocks and bricks at our cars. This is not just some kind of jolly Top Gear jape – this was deadly serious."

The BBC claims that the number plate was not chosen on purpose, and any allusion to the conflict was accidental.

The team returned to the UK this morning, after being besieged at their hotel by Argentinian war veterans.

Clarkson insisted, "For once, we did nothing wrong."

In a series of tweets, he said: "All TG crew now safely out of Argentina. I just got back to UK.

"The number plate WAS a coincidence. When it was pointed out to us, we changed it.

"And these war veterans we upset. Mostly they were in their 20s. Do the maths.

"They threw us out for the political capital. Thousands chased crew to border. Someone could have been killed.

"This was not a jolly jape that went awry. For once, we did nothing wrong."

Andy Wilman, the programme's executive producer, said that the number plate was not chosen deliberately.

"Top Gear production purchased three cars for a forthcoming programme," he told the Guardian. "To suggest that this car was either chosen for its number plate, or that an alternative number plate was substituted for the original is completely untrue."