Belfast Telegraph

Matt LeBlanc: Not our thing to insult countries during Top Gear trips abroad

‘How it was done before was a little different’, the Friends star said.

Matt LeBlanc (BBC)
Matt LeBlanc (BBC)

Top Gear host Matt LeBlanc has suggested the current presenting team takes a different approach to their predecessors when working abroad.

The former Friends star, 50, said it was “not our thing” to put places down when they visit for filming in a veiled hint at past international controversies when Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond worked on the motoring show.

He told the Press Association: “We go with wide eyes and anticipation and excitement and hopefully fulfilment; that’s the way we like to travel the world.”

“How it (Top Gear) was done before was a little different. But, that said, that worked.

“Our style of doing it is slightly different,” he added.

LeBlanc – who will return for his third series on the BBC show later this month – added it was “a lot of work” when filming abroad.

“It’s hard work, there’s a lot of dedication, and a meticulous tone that we adhere to, and there’s a lot of discussion about what it is we’re doing exactly.”

During their tenure as presenters of the show, Clarkson, Hammond and May caused several international controversies.

They were found to have breached broadcasting rules after Clarkson used the word “slope” to describe an Asian man during a Burma special.

On another occasion the show’s crew were forced to flee Argentina after it emerged they were using a Porsche with the registration number H982 FKL, which some suggested could refer to the Falklands conflict of 1982.

The BBC was also forced to apologise to the Mexican ambassador after jokes were made during the show about Mexicans, including them being branded “lazy”, “feckless” and “flatulent”.

Another apology was made after an episode in India featured a car fitted with a toilet in the boot and was described by Clarkson as “perfect for India because everyone who comes here gets the trots”.

Chris Harris, who presents the show alongside LeBlanc and Rory Reid, said he had watched Clarkson, Hammond and May’s new show, The Grand Tour, and enjoyed the competition it offered.

“I think it’s great to have something out there to compete against. No fun playing tennis against the board is it?” he told the Press Association.

Top Gear returns to screens on Sunday February 25.



From Belfast Telegraph