BBC says controversial Cenotaph scenes won't appear in new series of 'Top Gear'
Chris Evans has apologised 'unreservedly' for the stunt
Matt LeBlanc, who will host the new-look show alongside Chris Evans when it returns to screens later this year, was seen filming near the central London war memorial over the weekend. Photographs show large tyre marks on the streets surrounding the Cenotaph, which social media users were quick to condemn.
Evans apologised “unreservedly” on his Radio 2 show this morning (March 14) and admitted it had been "unwise" to shoot in that location.
Now The Guardian reports that a BBC spokesperson has said: "The Cenotaph was at no point intended to feature in the programme and therefore will not appear in the final film. The driver of the car was briefed by production prior to filming as to where to drive and to not do any manoeuvres close to the monument, an instruction to which he fully adhered. We would like to make it absolutely clear that the Top Gear team has the utmost respect for the Cenotaph, what it stands for, and those heroic individuals whose memory it serves so fittingly."
The BBC also said that filming took place a “respectful distance” from the Cenotaph and that they had permission to film in the area.
The BBC's Top Gear has been criticised for filming 'donut' stunts in front of the Cenotaph. pic.twitter.com/VSkD6TWDiG— UK News (@UK__News) March 14, 2016
Speaking earlier today, Evans said: "It doesn’t matter what actually happened, it doesn’t matter what the circumstances were that could explain this away, what is important about this is what these images look like and they look entirely disrespectful which is not and would never be the intention of the Top Gear team or Matt (LeBlanc)."
“On behalf of the Top Gear team and Matt, I would like to apologise unreservedly for what these images seem to portray.
“There have been some very incendiary comments written alongside these pictures and I completely understand this furore but the Top Gear team would never ever do that. Retrospectively it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph with this motor car.”
Evans said LeBlanc and racing driver Ken Block could continue filming today and tomorrow.
The new version of Top Gear returns to TV in May. Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan join Evans and LeBlanc with seven hosts confirmed for the BBC motoring series.
Previous stars Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond parted ways with the show last year following a bust-up between Clarkson and one of the show's producers. The trio will present a new car show for Amazon Prime.