The BBC is so fed up of defending itself from criticism from The Sun newspaper over the revamped Top Gear it has allegedly released a statement.
In an unusual move for the British Broadcasting Company, Radio 2 controller Bob Shennan and BBC Studios director Mark Linsey defended 50-year-old Chris Evans and the new Top Gear show in a statement, which reads:
“The Sun, for its own reasons, continues on a weekly, sometimes daily basis, to publish negative stories about Top Gear and unfounded nonsense about Chris, which is no longer worth any serious consideration or response.
“Since taking on Top Gear alongside his Radio 2 breakfast show, Chris has displayed even greater commitment and professionalism.
“He remains a team player, a huge asset to the BBC and continues to show outstanding leadership in all he does on radio, television or for Children in Need.”
The report in the Sun that sparked the BBC statement claims the lead presenter on Top Gear made a producer cry during filming, that he is “out of control” and becoming “more volatile” than his predecessor, Jeremy Clarkson, who left the show after punching a producer.
“And the Sun can reveal his radio backroom team are becoming increasingly concerned about his outbursts and diva-style behaviour,” the story also claimed.
The Sun newspaper only published a part of the full statement, a report in the Guardian noted, citing the fact it was “too long to be included in the story and [the BBC] declined to shorten it”.
Various Top Gear exclusives have come from the Sun, including coverage of Matt LeBlanc doing doughnuts near the Cenotaph war memorial and an alleged spat between Evans and LeBlanc.
It also dug up a picture of one of its new presenters, Rory Reid, holding two shotguns while clay pigeon shooting at a work party. Reid was subsequently portrayed as a ‘foul-mouthed Clarkson wannabe’ and a ‘gangster’. Evans, meanwhile, was said to be unable to talk and drive at the same time.
The aforementioned Guardian report highlighted the fact Clarkson – who is presenting a brand new Amazon Prime motoring show that will compete with Top Gear – has a column in the Murdoch-owned Sunday Times and the Sun. It also pointed out Clarkson is a friend of New UK’s chief executive, Rebekah Brooks.
The new Top Gear is expected to arrive at the end of May 2016. The Amazon motoring show, which is still nameless, will arrive later in the year.