Just when it looked like Top Gear was coasting along nicely, here comes a bump in the road.
Following the announcement of the never-ending cast and a cautiously enjoyable launch trailer, new reports claim the relationship between Chris Evans and Matt LeBlanc is already strained.
The ill-feeling apparently stems from last month's incident when the show was widely criticised for filming a sequence just down the road from the Cenotaph, one of Britain's main war memorials, in which LeBlanc and a stunt driver performed wheelspins and doughnuts, burning rubber, creating noise and smoke.
Despite the BBC having been given permission to shoot from the council and the police, Evans was quick to apologise for the stunt, saying on his Radio 2 Breakfast show:
“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. Retrospectively it was unwise to be anywhere near the Cenotaph with this motor car.”
However, he also added that "This isn't a shoot I'm particularly involved in", seemingly an attempt to put distance between himself and the bad publicity.
Now, a source close to the show told The Sun that the incident has created bad blood, with Evans deeming it a PR disaster.
"Matt was never Chris’s choice - it was a decision forced upon him to attract the US market. He accepted it and was desperate to strike up a bond when they were filming, but the spark just wasn’t there. Since the Cenotaph, their relationship’s deteriorated. Chris thinks Matt severely damaged the brand. Behind the scenes it’s very frosty between them."
However, it's still far from clear that the stunt was as bad as was reported in many quarters. The stretch of road alongside the Cenotaph is used by traffic daily, and was used to film a scene in Skyfall without incident.
Our reader poll found that 78% of you thought that the filming was not disrespectful.
The brand new Top Gear will air in May on BBC2 - have a look at the launch trailer below.