Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc waving to a bride and groom at St Paul's Cathedral in London.
Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc waving to a bride and groom at St Paul's Cathedral in London.

Top Gear host apologises over Cenotaph stunt

CHRIS Evans has apologised "unreservedly" for the new Top Gear series shooting next to the Cenotaph in central London.

This follows an outrage stirred by photographs of host Matt Le Blanc driving near the war monument while shooting for the BBC Two show around Westminster, leaving large tyre tracks on the roads surrounding the Cenotaph; leading retired Colonel Richard Kemp to call the stunt, "gravely disrespectful".

Evans, on his BBC Radio 2 show (via The Guardian), stated: "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." The host also elaborated that filming had seen LeBlanc drive a car called the Hoonicorn alongside professional racer Ken Block.

A spokesman for Top Gear stated the images taken by paparazzi had made it look like the shoot took place closer than it did in reality, with scenes shot around 40 metres away from the memorial; "the filming took place a respectful distance away from the cenotaph and it was all agreed with Westminster Council in advance."

Chancellor George Osborne took to Twitter to criticise Evans for causing noise issues and distracting him from writing the Budget, which is due to be delivered on Wednesday.

The Independent