The BBC has responded to the criticism aimed at it for Top Gear’s Cenotaph stunt by pulling the footage entirely. The corporation has confirmed that the scene, which was apparently not even supposed to feature the Cenotaph in the first place, will not air in the new series.
“The Cenotaph was at no point intended to feature in the programme and therefore will not appear in the final film,” read a statement. “We would like to make it absolutely clear 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.”
It’s being reported that the stunt, which involved Matt LeBlanc burning rubber near the war memorial, cost a staggering £100,000 to stage, as several roads in Westminster had to be shut for filming. Westminster City Council says it gave the BBC permission to drive down Whitehall, but didn’t expect LeBlanc and co to do a great deal else.
"In this case, permission was given for the Top Gear car to drive down Whitehall before moving to another location," it said. "However, what the Top Gear team did on the day was not what had been agreed during the planning process.
"At no time had the BBC producers made Westminster City Council aware that the car was going to be doing anything but drive down Whitehall. There was no discussion between BBC producers and Westminster City Council about wheel spins and a 'donut' and permission would not have been given to do so."
It's yet another blow to the revamped show, but at least this episode proves that the new crew -- or Matt LeBlanc, at least -- is ballsy enough to go head-to-head with Clarkson and co. [Huffington Post]