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Matt LeBlanc gets car trouble in Cannock as Top Gear gets back on the road

Published 20/02/2016

Chris Evans (left ) and Matt LeBlanc in Reliant Robins outside BBC Broadcasting House in London for filming the first episode of the new incarnation of Top Gear
Chris Evans (left ) and Matt LeBlanc in Reliant Robins outside BBC Broadcasting House in London for filming the first episode of the new incarnation of Top Gear

Top Gear fans were left in a spin when former Friends star Matt LeBlanc broke down in a retail outlet car park.

Stunned members of the public spotted LeBlanc's Reliant Robin, clad in the stars-and-stripes, after it made an unplanned pit stop part-way through the motor show's London to Blackpool challenge.

The eye-catching three-wheeler convertible was spotted near the KFC fastfood outlet on the Orbital Retail Park in Cannock, Staffordshire, on Friday evening.

LeBlanc and his co-host Chris Evans, driving a Reliant Robin emblazoned with Union Flag paintwork, were mobbed by fans keen to grab a selfie and a photo with the stars of the revamped BBC show.

Among them were sisters 16-year-old Megan and Macy, aged 12, who both got a picture with LeBlanc.

Their mother Claire Raddie said she got an excited call from her eldest daughter who was working in Boots nearby, but did not initially believe the news.

Convinced, she then took her youngest daughter down to the car park where LeBlanc was happy to pose for pictures.

Ms Raddie, aged 39, of Cannock, thanked the star on Twitter, saying: "Sorry for the breakdown but you've made my two daughters very happy in Cannock!"

She added: "Totally unexpected but thank you so much."

The 48-year-old ex-Friends star was revealed among the programme's new line-up of hosts earlier this month.

As for Evans, when the TV and radio star was told by Twitter followers he was now "front page news in Cannock", he seemed delighted, remarking: "Yes!".

The Top Gear duo kicked off filming for the first episode of the new series with a 230-mile road trip to Blackpool, setting off from BBC's Broadcasting House in London yesterday.

Also joining the line-up are Formula 1 commentator Eddie Jordan, German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, motoring journalist Chris Harris and car reviewer Rory Reid.

LeBlanc tweeted ahead of filming, calling the Top Gear crew a "great group of lunatics" and adding: "We start filming in the morning. I'm pumped."

The presenters' impromptu visit is the second dose of fame to touch the former coal-mining town this month, after retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather dropped in for a fans' meet-and-greet event on February 12.

Mayweather is widely reported to have whisked 19-year-old budding singer Ramarni Ball, from Dudley, off on his private jet after meeting at the get-together.

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