Jeremy Clarkson has said the "stupid contestants" on the last series of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? did not "warrant any niceness" from him.
The presenter, 58, who hosted the ITV game show for the first time last year, has previously been scathing about some contestants.
Speaking ahead of the new series, which screens in New Zealand on TVNZ 1, a defiant Clarkson, revealed he had been told to be nicer to those on the show.
He added: "But last year there were some very stupid contestants who didn't warrant any niceness."
The former Top Gear presenter, who took over hosting Who Wants to be a Millionaire? from Chris Tarrant, was criticised for mocking a contestant in his first episode as presenter.
He is more positive about entrants on the new series, saying: "This time they've been, by and large with one or two exceptions, sparky and on-it and bright and deserving of a place in the chair."