New head of editorial content to take control of BBC's revamped Top Gear


The BBC has appointed a new head of editorial content for popular motoring show Top Gear.

The corporation's head of factual entertainment, Clare Pizey, will take editorial control of the show.

Pizey has headed up factual entertainment for seven years, and has been at the helm of flagship BBC events such as Children In Need and Sport Relief.

In a statement, the BBC said she "will be responsible for the editorial content of Top Gear", but will also continue to lead the factual entertainment department including overseeing Children In Need 2016.

She will be joined by series editor Alex Renton and studio editor Martin Dance, whose credits include Bruce's Hall Of Fame, Derren Brown: Pushed To The Edge, Derren Brown: The Great Art Robbery, Comic Relief and Sport Relief.

The relaunched BBC Two show came under fire after the recent Cenotaph incident, which involved presenter Matt LeBlanc and rally driver Ken Block doing "doughnuts" around the war memorial in London's Whitehall.

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 "respectively it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph".

Evans said: "It doesn't matter what actually happened, it doesn't matter what the circumstances were that could explain this away. What is important about this is what these images look like, and they look entirely disrespectful which is not and would never be the intention of the Top Gear team or Matt (LeBlanc).

"On behalf of the Top Gear team and Matt, I would like to apologise unreservedly for what these images seem to portray.

"There have been some very incendiary comments written alongside these pictures and I completely understand this furore, but the Top Gear team would never ever do that."

Westminster City Council said the show was given permission to film, but not to perform stunts on Whitehall. 

"No discussion" had taken place with BBC producers about drivers performing wheel spins and the council was not aware the car would do anything "but drive down Whitehall", it said in a statement.

Following the incident, the BBC confirmed the footage filmed near the war memorial "will not appear" in the final film.

A statement released by the corporation said: "The Cenotaph was at no point intended to feature in the programme and therefore will not appear in the final film."

It added the driver of the car was "briefed by production prior to filming" to not do any manoeuvres close to the monument, "an instruction to which he fully adhered".

"We would like to make it absolutely clear that the Top Gear team has the utmost respect for the Cenotaph, what it stands for, and those heroic individuals whose memory it serves so fittingly," the statement concluded.