When Jeremy Clarkson hit 207 mph in a Lamborghini Murcielago in the April 2008 episode of Top Gear it wasn't actually Clarkson hitting the number, unnamed sources tell The Daily Mail, but rather Formula 3 driver Aaron Scott. But we thought Top Gear was a documentary!?!
The Daily Mail is claiming that the world's most watched car program is in a "fakery row" because they sometimes use stunt drivers other than The Stig to shoot episodes. A row that appears to be created entirely by the newspaper itself.
As Top Gear readily admits, it uses professional drivers to get more video footage while the presenters work on other parts of the show and write. This is done to save time and get more, and sometimes better, footage.
The unnamed source goes a bit further:
‘Certainly most of the time professional drivers are doing the clever stuff on the track. These takes are cut in to the presenters' in-car pieces when the programme goes out to make it look like Clarkson has been driving all the way through. Pros make it all look more exciting. That's what I did and that's what others currently do.'
Here, Top Gear is a victim of its own desire to have the best production value possible. Does Jeremy Clarkson look better than a pro doing the exact same turn? Probably not. Does it mean Jeremy Clarkson didn't drive the exact same turn? Of course not.
And the BBC says exactly that: "When Jeremy, James and Richard are seen driving on the show, it is them driving, but on occasion, the crew may need to go back and get pick-up shots."
There's also a weird sort of production logic in play with the 207 mph run. Video shows Clarkson exclaiming that he's driving 207 mph, but what of the speedometer shot? Why have Clarkson run it again when you can put someone else in while the presenter goes off to do a voice-over or stand-in?
If only Top Gear could blame their occasionally troublesome mouths on stuntmen.