BBC presenter Chris Evans has apologised during his Radio 2 Breakfast Show, after former Friends star Matt LeBlanc was filmed performing a car stunt near the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall. The sequence – being filmed for the new series of motoring show Top Gear – is understood to have resulted in tyre marks around the monument, which is the focus of national mourning on Remembrance Sunday every November.
The footage shows a car performing 'donuts' in Whitehall, with the Cenotaph clearly visible behind. Evans said he regretted what happened, and when asked if he thought it showed a lack of respect, he said: "I think the images look so disrespectful. There are mitigating circumstances, but I unreservedly apologise. I saw the images for the first time this morning and I feel the same as everybody else."
When asked if he thought the footage shouldn't be aired, Evans said: "Absolutely; 100%. It's not my decision, but if it was my decision then I would say that particular scene shouldn't be shown."
The footage is unlikely to be feature in the upcoming series of the motoring show after the stunt came in for severe criticism. Colonel Richard Kemp, a former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, called the filming next to the Cenotaph "gravely disrespectful". The Cenotaph was built as a permanent memorial to the fallen during World War I, and is the centre of Remembrance Sunday.
The new series of the BBC Two show is due to start in May. The line-up includes Matt LeBlanc, Chris Evans, Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris, car reviewer Rory Reid and The Stig.