The new season of Top Gear kicked off a little differently than viewers expected. Matt LeBlanc, the former star of Friends, narrowly avoided a catastrophic accident when he almost ran over a cameraman. It’s no surprise that the host needed to take some time off after the incident.
Of course, it wasn’t intentional. LeBlanc had hopped into the seat of the Porsche they were featuring to test the motor during a filming break. What he didn’t realize was that a cameraman was lying on the ground filming when he got into the car. He started the engine and put the car in gear, only stopping because another cameraman got his attention by waving his arms and shouting after seeing what was about to take place.
An insider from the show reported on the whole thing to Daily Mirror.
“In between filming, Matt got into a Porsche they’d been road-testing, turned on the ignition and was about to take it for a drive. But he was completely unaware one of the cameramen was lying down alongside it at ground level, filming low shots,” the source stated.
He continued the story, stating that it could have been the worst accident ever seen on Top Gear.
“The crew member was completely oblivious Matt was about to speed off too, – but a tracking cameraman, who was sat in the distance, could see what was about to happen and started waving and screaming at Matt to stop.
“Matt was a bit confused but got out of the car. When he realized he could have run the man over, he was noticeably shaken up. He said he needed a bit of time out.”
It’s not clear where Matt went during that time, but he obviously needed some time to clear his head and get back in the game. It’s not every day you almost kill someone on a show already riddled with accidents and close calls.
“He reappeared a few hours later, wanting to know that the cameraman was OK – which he was. He said, ‘Where’s that guy I nearly ran over?’ It was one of those instances where, if the tracking man and Matt had reacted even a few seconds later, it could have been really serious. Both of them appreciated what a lucky escape it was.”
This is just one of many incidents that has citizens pushing for more road safety around the world, as well as increasing parameters around dangerous live-action television shows, like Top Gear.
The incident reportedly occurred during filming last month when the crew was in South Africa. This is another strike against a show that keeps gaining speculation.
Another incident took place when LeBlanc was filming in London. Not only did he inadvertently crash a wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral, but he also left tire marks near the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall. This warranted a formal apology from the show’s presenter, Chris Evans.
There was also the incident of the show’s producer, Lisa Clark, quitting unexpectedly after some alleged clashes with Evans. No clear details have been released regarding the change-up, but it doesn’t look good for the show’s already rocky history.
Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear also hinted at the danger of the show with a tweet, though he seemed fairly confident in the outcome. It stated, “Tomorrow morning, I’m doing the most dangerous stunt I’ve ever attempted. This may well be a goodbye.”
Tomorrow morning, I'm doing the most dangerous stunt I've ever attempted. This may well be a goodbye.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) March 31, 2016
The next day (April Fools’ Day) he posted a photo showing his face smeared with filth and blood with the caption, “I survived the day. Just.”
I survived the day. Just. pic.twitter.com/I9IB9OGwv1
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) April 1, 2016
It was meant to be a teaser for the upcoming new season, which is set to be released on BBC 2 next month, but it might hint at what viewers and critics are beginning to suspect: that the show might be too dangerous to continue.
There are no formal charges against the series just yet, but this Top Gear incident was a very close call, and it may only be a matter of time before one of their accidents turns fatal.
[Photo via Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images]