BBC confirms it will not use Top Gear Cenotaph footage

Matt Le Blanc Credit: PA

Report by ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery

Top Gear footage of a car stunt yards away from the Cenotaph will not be broadcast, the BBC has confirmed.

The show came under fire after host Matt Le Blanc was seen performing wheelspins and donuts in Westminster for the new series of the BBC Two show.

The BBC defended the stunt, saying it was a "respectful distance" from the war memorial and that it had gained permission from Westminster City Council, but a spokesperson for the council denied the claim and said it had only given the programme makers permission to drive by the memorial.

Both Top Gear co-host Chris Evans and the BBC later apologised "unreservedly" for the scenes and said that the footage would not be shown.

The Cenotaph was at no point intended to feature in the programme and therefore will not appear in the final film.


Colonel Richard Kemp speaks of "sickening" footage:

Colonel Richard Kemp told GMB the stunt is "sickening and grossly disrespectful" and said that the BBC should not air car stunts that show the Cenotaph as a backdrop.

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 Le Blanc ever will."

The BBC said paparazzi photos made filming appear closer to the Cenotaph than it was in reality, and that all scenes were shot around 40 metres away from the memorial.

In this case, permission was given for the Top Gear car to drive down Whitehall before moving to another location. However, what the Top Gear team did on the day was not what had been agreed during the planning process.

Westminster City Council

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).

Chris Evans

The Royal British Legion said it was "disappointed" by the stunt and that better judgement must be show in the future.

The Legion was greatly disappointed that appropriate respect was seemingly not shown so close to the foot of the Cenotaph, which commemorates all those who have died to preserve the freedoms we all enjoy today.

A spokesperson for The Royal British Legion

Earlier on Sunday Chancellor George Osborne scolded Le Blanc's fellow host Chris Evans for making a racket near Downing Street and distracting him from writing the Budget: