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Top Gear trip to Kazakhstan cancelled as team only get as far as Moscow

Published 30/03/2016

Top Gear presenters, from left, Rory Reid, Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz and Chris Harris
Top Gear presenters, from left, Rory Reid, Chris Evans, Matt LeBlanc, Sabine Schmitz and Chris Harris

A big-budget Top Gear trip had to be cancelled after the team were not permitted to fly to Kazakhstan.

According to reports, presenters Rory Reid, Sabine Schmitz and Eddie Jordan were trying to make their way to the former Soviet state alongside around 40 crew members - but they did not get further than Moscow.

The BBC told the Press Association: "Through no fault of the Top Gear team, the airline carrying them was not permitted to fly from Moscow to Kazakhstan and so they returned to London.

"They intend to visit Kazakhstan in the future to shoot the planned film there. The BBC will be looking to recoup the cost of the flights."

According to The Sun, the failed trip cost around £500,000.

The problem was apparently down to a dispute between Kazakhstan and Russian airline Aeroflot which forced the team to return empty-handed.

The revamped BBC2 motoring show has been hit by a series of problems as the new presenting team, headed by Chris Evans, takes over the controls.

In one incident, presenter Matt LeBlanc and rally driver Ken Block performed "doughnuts" around the Cenotaph in central London.

The stunt sparked outrage after photos showed large tyre circles left on the streets surrounding the war memorial after filming had completed.

The show's host, Chris Evans, apologised on his BBC Radio 2 show, saying he "completely understood the furore" surrounding the photographs and that "it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph".

The show's executive producer Lisa Clark also resigned in December, five months after taking up the role. BBC executive Clare Pizey has now been brought in as head of editorial content.

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