First citizen stars in Top Gear trailer
Blackpool's first citizen is the unlikely star promoting the return of a prime-time BBC show.
A trailer for the new series of Top Gear opens with Blackpool Mayor Coun Peter Callow welcoming the programme’s presenters Chris Evans and Matt Le Blanc to the resort.
He tells them ‘welcome to the greatest city on earth’ – although standing on a rain-soaked Promenade, the celebrities appear reluctant to agree.
The BBC came to Blackpool in February to film with Chris Evans and Friends actor Matt Le Blanc driving north in Robin Reliants before reaching the resort.
Coun Callow said: “It was pouring down and I had to stand on the Prom in my soaking wet robes – but you have to turn your hand to all kinds of things when you are Mayor of Blackpool.
“It was a thrill for me and great to have Blackpool in the limelight.
“It’s great publicity but I’m sorry it was raining so much. However we came through it and I think everyone enjoyed it.
“I didn’t expect to be part of the trailer, but I hope it helps the show get a lot of interest.
“Matt Le Blanc came over to me afterwards and said ‘you did very well Peter, you should have been an actor’, but I think I’ll stick to politics!”
During their time in Blackpool, the crew filmed time trials of a Landrover versus an American Jeep, a tug of war on the beach and various stunts involving a rugby team, an American football team and some drag queens.
Coun Callow handed out each task to the drivers while town crier Barry McQueen was called upon to start each of the challenges for the Top Gear duo.
The new trailer also features a road trip with star guests Seasick Steve, Sharleen Spiteri and Tinie Tempah, and Chris Harris going flat out in the raucous Aston Martin Vulcan at the Abu Dhabi GP circuit.
There’s also a stunning Ferrari 250 GT TdF and Ford Mustang.
The new series will be the first since the former Top Gear team including Jeremy Clarkson left the show.
They switched the Illuminations on in 2008, but last year Clarkson branded the Blackpool as full of “drunks, drug addicts and Syrian refugees” in his column for a Sunday newspaper.
Coun Callow hit back saying “He should get in one of his cars and go for a long drive off one of our short piers.”
Chris Evans has also previously switched the Lights on - in 2005.
No date has been confirmed for the return of Top Gear but it is expected to be sometime in May.