Top Gear Cenotaph stunt sparks fury as show bosses defend Matt Le Blanc scenes

'Jeremy Clarkson was certainly no saint but I don't believe he would have ever performed a stunt in such bad taste'

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The Independent Online

Top Gear bosses have defended the show after it was criticised for filming scenes near the Cenotaph in central London.

Host Matt Le Blanc 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.

Pictures appearing to show the car near the war memorial in Whitehall were criticised 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 Le Blanc ever will."

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

"Jeremy Clarkson was certainly no saint but I don't believe he would have ever performed a stunt in such bad taste."

A spokesman for Top Gear said images taken by paparazzi made it look like the filming took place closer than it did in reality. He said all scenes were shot around 40 metres away from the memorial.

He said: "The filming took place a respectful distance away from the cenotaph and it was all agreed with Westminster Council in advance."

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.

He tweeted: "Trying to write my Budget, despite noisy episode of BBC-TopGear being filmed outside on Horseguards Parade. Keep it down please achrisevans."

The Budget is due to be delivered on Wednesday.

On Saturday Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc and professional rally driver Ken Block surprised a bride and groom and their wedding guests at St Paul's Cathedral as they motored past, with the former Friends star sticking his arm out of the car window to wave.

A seven-strong line-up for the new series of the motoring show includes LeBlanc, Evans, and Top Gear stalwart The Stig.

Also on board are Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris and car reviewer Rory Reid.

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