Top Gear: Chris Evans apologises for war memorial filming
Tyre circles on streets around London’s Cenotaph after Matt LeBlanc seen driving on streets
Matt LeBlanc (left) and rally driver Ken Block (right) during filming of BBC Top Gear in Westminster, London. Photograph: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
Chris Evans has apologised “unreservedly” after scenes for the new Top Gear series were filmed near the Cenotaph war memorial in central London.
Host Matt LeBlanc was seen driving around Westminster as shooting took place for the new series of the BBC Two show, which is due to air in May, and photos show large tyre circles left on streets surrounding the war memorial after the stunt.
Speaking on his BBC Radio 2 show, Evans said he “completely understood the furore” around the photographs and admitted it had been “unwise” to film anywhere near the Cenotaph.
He 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 motorcar.”
Evans said LeBlanc had been filming in a car called the Hoonicorn alongside racing driver Ken Block and filming could continue on Monday and Tuesday.
The stunt has been described as “gravely disrespectful” by retired Colonel Richard Kemp.
He told the Telegraph: “This is a sacred tribute to millions of people who have done far more for their country than Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc ever will.”
He added: “Jeremy Clarkson was certainly no saint but I don’t believe he would have ever performed a stunt in such bad taste.”