Top Gear 'awkward silences' claim no laughing matter for BBC
The BBC has hit back at claims that canned laughter was edited into the first episode of Top Gear to cover up "awkward silences" from the audience.
The Sun quoted an anonymous audience member at the recording of the first episode who said there has been "long, awkward silences" during filming and that they "couldn't believe how much laughter they had added in" to the broadcast programme.
This was also noticed by viewers who took to social media to point out the lack of correlation between the reaction of those in the audience and the levels of laughter heard.
Jason Linsel wrote: "The best part of #TopGear is the canned laughter when you can clearly see that nobody's laughing."
But a Top Gear spokesman defended the show against The Sun's story, which was published on Saturday.
He said: "There were no awkward silences during filming as reported by The Sun newspaper which clearly has an agenda against the show.
"It's well known that Top Gear isn't a live programme and that the show is edited after filming, but last week's episode was edited in exactly the same way as previous series."
The BBC said all laughter is taken from the studio audience and no artificial laughter is used.
Chris Evans has taken over as host of the motoring show, with former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc as his sidekick.
The first episode, which aired on May 29, drew 4.4 million viewers, with a peak of 4.7 million, while Jeremy Clarkson's series bowed out with 5.8 million viewers.
Viewers were quick to criticise the motoring show on social media, with many of the comments referring to Evans' "shouty" and "too excitable" hosting style. Fans also felt that he had tried - unsuccessfully - to imitate former frontman Clarkson.
But Evans defended the show on Twitter.
He wrote: "Top Gear audience grew throughout the hour. FACT. Won its slot. FACT. Still number one on i Player. FACT. These are THE FACTS folks."